One of the reasons I started this blog, was to have a place to hear (and hopefully post) the memories of other people who had experiences at Long Beach. So I was delighted to receive an email from Patrick Fair who shared his memories of his years living at Long Beach. Patrick and his family lived near Schooner Cove area.
[Long Beach Wild] fills out the history of a story that I was given the profound gift of being a small part of, for 2 1/2 years in the mid-fifties. The descriptions of the flora and fauna, as well, puts into words that which I have known organically, in my deepest soul, since I was a child.
My family lived in what is now the village of Esowista, in a 3-room tar-paper cabin, from the beginning of 1956 to the middle of 1958, while my father worked as a civilian employee at the Tofino Airbase, basically through its final close-down years. It was a small community, constantly changing, consisting mostly of airbase employees and their families (if they had families) – four or five families at most, usually fewer. For the first year (1956) myself and my two siblings were the only children living permanently on Long Beach – and there were never more than 6 to 7 at any one time.
Long Beach was truly wild at that time. The Lovekins were seldom there (we called their estate “the millionaire’s mansion”). Peggy Whittington was a friend of my parents, and was like a lovely aunt to us then – and she was surrounded by legends. The legend I knew about the death of her husband was pretty close to the history as you tell it – all the elements were there, if a little mixed up (to me as a child it felt very long ago, although, as you tell in your history, it was only 10 years earlier). And there were ghost stories at Singing Sands – of shipwrecked Spanish sailors pacing over their treasure by night. But mostly, it felt like the beach was all mine. I learned to ride my bike there. I had my first childhood romance. I watched in awe as little airplanes landed on the beach, and tall white sailing yachts came over the horizon to anchor in the bay on summer days. I spent 2 1/2 years, probably the most formative years of my childhood, inhaling the spirit of the place every day – and every day I was truly blessed. I was the oldest, and was given surprising freedom, often spending entire days exploring on my own. It created a core spirituality in me that has lasted my whole life.
Thank you, Patrick, for sharing your memories. If anyone else has photographs and memories to share, please get in touch.