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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.

Bikes on Long Beach_Fair

Patrick Fair, his siblings and a family friend on Long Beach. (Photo courtesy Patrick Fair.)

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.

LongBeach_Postcard_Fair

Postcard of Long Beach from the 1950s. Note the rows of pilings, which were pounded in place to prevent “alien invasion” from the air and water during WWII. (Postcard courtesy Patrick Fair.)

Thank you, Patrick, for sharing your memories. If anyone else has photographs and memories to share, please get in touch.

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