Sunday, November 1, 2009

"County Recurrent" Presents: "Timeless"

There are so many stories remaining to be told and here is another gem !

Photo below, circa 1918 - 1920, on the beach in Santa Monica, adjacent to the California Incline and the Jonathan Club.

Just look at these young ladies above, aka, teenage Santa Monica High school girls, probably in their late teens at the time. This photo is courtesy of Pam Hilgers Kendall, of Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Folks: This is an absolute gem. Just look how happy, healthy and athletic these young ladies are. The young lady at far right is Pam Hilgers Kendall's mom, Marjorie Evans Hilgers (Hilgers being Marjorie's later married name). Marjorie and her sister, Dorothea Evans McKee (at far left), grew up on 6th and Arizona Ave., in Santa Monica. Like we said, this photo was taken, circa 1918 - 1920, as Marjorie was born in 1903.

*** The Timeless Enthusiasm of Youth At Home On The Beach ***

Left to Right (in the photo above):
Dorothea Evans McKee (McKee being Dorothea's later married name)
Dagmar Dole (yeah, "That" Dole Family of Dole Pineapple)
Jasmin Woods (Marjorie's best friend)
Marjorie Evans Hilgers (and later mother of Pamela Hilgers Kendall)

Like I said folks, this story is special and it gets even better.

Two Generations Later... Mark Kendall, son of Bill Kendall and Pam Hilgers Kendall
, Class of 1973, Palisades High School, and member of the Varsity Swim Team, with teammates such as later LACo Recurrents: Eric Moore, Eric Shargo, Mike Newman, and yours truly, Mark got his swimming skills from both of his parents. Mark's dad, of course, is former L.A. City Beach Lifeguard, Bill Kendall (see photo below), 1948 - 1953.

(Photo above shows Bill Kendall, circa 1950, in Venice, Calif. Photo above by L.A. City Beach Lifeguard, Nick Archer (R.I.P.). Photo courtesy of Bill Kendall.)

Bill worked Venice and later, Will Rogers, and it was at the latter beach that he met his future wife, Pam, who herself grew up below Will Rogers State Park in Upper Rustic Canyon, just north of Sunset Blvd. It was her father (and Marjorie's husband) and other members of his family that purchased their land from the Will Rogers Estate !

It was around 1952 when Bill Kendall was in school at UCLA that he spotted Pam on the beach just south of the Bel Air Bay Club and recognized her from his English class at UCLA..... which led him to say hi and use a "Classic Lifeguard Opening Line" (albeit, true, "ironically"), "Hey, you're in my English class at UCLA !". Pam, on the other hand, looked up and said, "I don't know you".... or something like that !.......

The opening line, nevertheless, apparently worked. Bill and Pam were soon married. Mark Kendall came along on Oct. 24, 1954 and was born in Honolulu where Bill was then stationed with the U.S. Navy. Mark was a natural born swimmer and was one of the most talented freestyler's and backstroker's on our Pali High Varsity Swim. Most improved our sophomore year of 1971 under then Coach Pete Nelson, and later Coach Dave Anderson (himself a L.A. City and later LACo recurrent), Mark swam sprint freestyle and was on each of the Varsity relay teams because of his speed.

(Photo above of Mark Kendall on his birthday, Oct. 24, 2009; Photo by Will Maguire.)

(Photo shows Pam Kendall, handing her first born son, Mark, his birthday pie, 10.24.09.)

As we mentioned previously, Pam grew up in Pacific Palisades, in a home on land in Upper Rustic Canyon just north of Sunset Blvd. (aka, Upper Santa Monica Canyon), just below Will Rogers State Park. And get this ! As a teenager in the 40's and 50's, Pam used to ride her horse up Sunset Blvd. to Via de la Paz (aka, Via) in the Palisades and then ride down to the beach ! Can you imagine ! At that time and before a large slide occurred in 1958, Via ran all the way down to the beach (see photo below) ! Once she reached the beach, Pam would ride her horse on the sand up to the beach where Bill Kendall was stationed just south of the Bel Air Bay Club, which we all know has been since at least the 60's known as Will Rogers Tower #5. Will Rogers Tower #5 was coincidentally where this author, the undersigned, and his friends on the west side of the Palisades, the beach of choice in the 60's before the construction of Temescal Canyon Blvd. Mark Kendall offered the following further brief comments about his family's purchase of the property in Upper Rustic Canyon when his mother was a teenager:

"The Upper Rustic Canyon property was purchased from the Will Rogers Estate
in the late 1940's by my Grandfather, Ira Hilgers, and my grandmother's three brothers Bernie, Jack and Morgan "Bill" Evans. They all built their houses there at that time, with the stipulation that no house could be built on any lot size less than 1 acre. As an aside Jack and Bill Evans were the landscape architects for Walt Disney when he envisioned Disneyland in the early 1950's."

(Re: Photo below shows the S shaped hillside portion of Via de la Paz before the massive landslide in 1958.)

(Photo Source: Identifier PPHS 355 Title View of Via de Las Olas from Inspiration Point, where the killer landslide of 1958 occurred. Date1958 Format1 photographic print : b&w. Description Santa Monica Public Library Image Archives Digital object 1081 img0055 Pacific Palisades Historical Society Clearwater Collection)

The End of Via de la Paz, today:

Current day photos below of end of Via de la Paz, Oct. 25, 2009. Photos by Will Maguire.

Photo below: Current day, the bluffs where Via de la Paz wound down in an "S" pattern to the beach. Photo by Will Maguire.)

Below: Bel Air Bay Club, circa 1959

(note: photo above shows the beach area just south of the Bel Air Bay Club, aka, location of Will Rogers Tower #5, and where Pam Hilgers used to ride her horse to the beach to see her then boyfriend (and later husband) and L.A. City beach lifeguard, Bill Kendall.)

(Photo Source: Identifier PPHS887 Title Aerial view of coastline and the Bel Air Bay Club site, Pacific Palisades, Calif., February 15, 1959 Date1959 Format 1 photographic print: b&w. Description Santa Monica Public Library Image Archives
PPHS887 Digital object 2067 img0087 Pacific Palisades Historical Society Clearwater Collection Source Donated by the Pacific Palisades Historical Society.)

Many thanks to Bill, Pam and Mark Kendall for sharing their spectacular family photos and for sharing some great local lifeguard, family and beach history with us.

Until next time.....

Will Maguire, Editor
"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"..... whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

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1 comment:

spyder said...

It is stories and sagas like this that make this blog great... thanks will