Press parties were a blast in the early days of the racetrack

DEL MAR — Opening day of thoroughbred racing has always been a great attraction. Hollywood personalities were a dime a dozen when a dime was worth a dime. However, for the media that covered the races it was the lavish media gatherings a week or so before opening. Unlimited plate-size steaks and beverages of choice […]

Giant pogo stick came before the helicopter

DEL MAR — A couple dozen helicopters flying information en route to Miramar Air Station recently caused hundreds of folks to look up to the sky and observe the exciting spectacle. It was explained by the brass that they were on a training mission. In 1959, Skeets Coleman, a Surfside City creative design engineer who […]

Raquel Welch wowed Marines at fair

DEL MAR — Recent L.A. Times piece by Susan King featured Raquel (Tejada) Welch observing her 70th birthday and noted that she could be mistaken for a young 40. Very true. That would be difficult because her son is 50. When she played Ramona at the Hemet pageant she was learning to sing and act […]

When village folks were encouraged to rent their homes to vacationers

DEL MAR — There’s concern by some folks over a proposed tax on vacation rentals. A lot of homeowners don’t think it’s such a hot idea. Rentals have been a summer tradition in the village like grunion hunts and beach parties long before it became a city. Decades ago rentals served a dual purpose. They gave […]

Varied racing events held on Del Mar racetrack

DEL MAR — The racetrack at the Del Mar Fairgrounds has been the scene of several prominent racing events with little relation to Thoroughbred racing, the Sport of Kings. In the 1950s and 1960s, retired doc Dick Wheelock, a very active San Dieguito Jaycee and member of the cancer society, came up with the idea […]

Budget woes plagued Surfside City in its infancy

DEL MAR — In 1959, two years after Del Mar was incorporated, some residents and mostly the business community decided the city wasn’t cutting it under the Lakewood Plan and its meager 65 grand operating budget. Volunteers who had promised to carry the load found other pastimes and a paid staff became inevitable. Solution? Annex […]

Pier fishing used to be low-budget fun for kids

DEL MAR — After making a modest investment for hooks, lines and sinkers, Depression-era kids could spend hours fishing off the pier for perch and the more combative Corvina. The pier stretched out 1,000 feet into the blue Pacific between l5th and 17th streets. Normally the fish line would be wrapped around a small board. […]

‘Obese’ children a recent issue

DEL MAR — Obesity is the big buzz these days. That brings up the question — how come kids were not obese years ago? They were either fat or skinny because the word obese was not yet coined. Since there were no video games on the tube and more correctly no TV, the alternative was […]

Youngsters earned money the old-fashioned way

DEL MAR — During the Depression era, the average kids had to do without a weekly allowance. Instead they made their spending money the old-fashioned way. They worked for it. Well, it wasn’t really hard in some areas. Salesmanship was the key. There were several sales opportunities. Like delivering the morning San Diego Union or […]

Young drivers also were their own mechanics

DEL MAR — In the 1930s and 1940s, during the height of the Depression, kids who drove pollution-spewing cars were also junior mechanics. Of necessity. There weren’t that many garages around. Paul Hillman had one on Carmel Valley Road but the kids couldn’t afford his services anyway. Flat tires were common primarily because these were […]