Thursday, July 11, 2013

"El Porto Back In The Day", by OL Ed Craig

L2R:  Bob Moore and Ed Craig

We caught up with Veteran LACo OL, Ed Craig, last nite at the "Super Six" retirement party at the Hermosa Beach History Museum and I asked Ed if he had a story to share with us on the blog... and he mentioned a story he wrote a few years ago about a day he guarded at El Porto some decades back...

So here goes...

"El Porto Back In The Day", by OL Ed Craig

Back in the day, El Porto was an unincorporated part of L.A. County.  45th Street was the last northern tower on the beach.  From there to the El Segundo jetty had very little sand and was even more of a low tide beach than today.  There was a tower on the El Segundo jetty but it was only open during the summer and was a recurrent tower.  In those days many people ran their dogs through the surf.  There was little if any law enforcement.

It was my turn at 45th on a wild surf day, with rips everywhere.   As I opened the 45th St. tower,  I noticed a group of teens going in by the Power Plant stacks, right in the middle of a rip.  The El Segundo tower was not open. I started running down the beach past one man who was throwing a stick out in the water for his Lab to retrieve.  I made a quick rescue, got the boys back on the sand, warned them to swim near a lifeguard and started jogging back to my tower.  The man throwing  a stick for his dog was looking out to sea.  His dog was caught in a rip and could not get back in.  All I could see was a nose just above the foam.   The man pleaded with me to help his dog.  I swam out thinking, how am I going to get a dog back to the beach.  Waves were crashing over the dog.  The animal was struggling just to keep it's nose above water.  I pushed my can into the dog's chest and to my amazement, the dog stuck his paws over the can and into the hand holds!!  The dogs head was now above water.  Relieved, I swam the dog back to shore. 

The next day, the dogs owner shows up at my tower with a case of beer.


(Story by & Copyright Ed Craig. Used here with permission).

Editor's note:  Hey Ed!  What happened to the case of beer?!...   :-)  Many Thanks to Ed for sharing this great story with all of us.  We did a little sleuthing on the web to locate the recent article in the past year or so about Ed that appeared on L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's blog and we found it, as well as another blog/article that quoted Ed in an unrelated story about El Porto back in the day.  Here are the links and an excerpt from the latter article referenced:

•  Beach’s elder statesman looks back
    (Published 02/16/11)

•  The storm in the Porto, part 1
    by Jerry Roberts
    Published October 3, 2002         


 “El Porto was a wild town,” remembers Ed Craig, who started as a lifeguard on El Porto beach in 1960, the year Dwight Eisenhower turned over the Presidency to John F. Kennedy. “Because this was an unincorporated portion of Los Angeles County,” Craig writes on the web site, “there were bars starting from 45th Street running the beach highway to Rosecrans. The wildest bar was on the corner of Rosecrans and the bikeway – right above the lifeguard station. The only law enforcement had to come from the Lennox substation on Hawthorne and Lennox boulevards. The lifeguard service not only watched the beach, but made paramedic type calls in the community.”



Until next time.....

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