Inadvertently or not, baby boomers like myself are constantly reminded that we’re old.
Personally, I have no problems with it; the wife says I was born old, and it’s true. As a history lover, I have always been able to relate to those older than me. More than once, especially when commenting on current cultural or political situations, I have been called a curmudgeon — usually for good reasons. It may be a pejorative, but I’ve come to embrace it.
We “boomers” are often accused of living in the “good old days.” I plead guilty because as I get older, of one thing I am certain — I did live in the good old days. We may be biased, but who of you who grew up in San Pedro doesn’t look back fondly on the ‘50s and ‘60s? The huge following of the San Pedro Born and Raised Facebook group says it all. Whippersnappers call this fascination with reliving the past “nostalgia porn,” but I think they’re just jealous we have such great memories.
It isn’t just social media that keeps bringing up the past, either; I still get a newspaper, which dates me right away. (Talk about anachronisms: I still wear an analog wristwatch.) I don’t get the newspaper so much for news anymore, because what’s in the morning paper is usually “old news” by the time you read it. I get the Daily Breeze primarily for the comics, the occasional local high school sports results, and of course, the obituaries.
Nothing makes you aware of your age like the obits. Reading about the passing of someone you knew or knew about, especially if it’s someone you grew up with, is like a slap in the face. It’s a grim reminder that we baby boomers are much closer to the end than the beginning and a helpful reminder to make every day count because we’re not promised tomorrow.
Other passages of time also remind us we’re getting older, and fortunately, most are cause for celebration — birthdays, anniversaries, class reunions. See below for a significant San Pedro anniversary that passed without mention last year.
San Pedro Today editor Joshua Stecker reminded me recently that it was 40 years ago this month that I wrote a column for the late, lamented News-Pilot in which, tongue firmly planted in cheek, I tried to explain to my Midwestern aunt and uncle what made someone a “real San Pedran.”
That and a follow-up column took on a life of their own, particularly after then News-Pilot editor Bob Beck gave Bob Bowles of Anchor Press permission to print framed copies (and no, I never received a penny from it). They soon began appearing in homes and businesses around town and wherever expats who missed their hometown lived.
If remembering the Real San Pedran column makes you feel as old as it does me, well, welcome to the club, and always keep in mind one of my mother’s favorite quotes: “Do not complain about growing old. It is a privilege denied to many.”
A TEAM FOR THE AGED
Sixty years ago last August, the San Pedro Southern All-Stars, a team of 11- and 12-year-olds, won the Western Boys Baseball Association championship in Northridge, San Pedro’s first Little League title. The previous year’s all-stars had finished second in Provo, Utah.
This was before there was a Little League World Series; the association, which included Canada, was split into Western and Eastern regions. San Pedro beat Blackfoot, Idaho, 7-3, in the semifinals and then defeated Woodland Hills, playing virtually a home game, 10-7, for the title. Woodland Hills advanced after beating Vancouver, B.C. The championship game was televised locally.
Most of the all-stars went on to play and star at either San Pedro High or Fermin Lasuen, and some even continued their careers at the college level. The team was composed of Tim Ursich (catcher); Jay Zuanich (first base); Jerry Garcia (second); Mark Vidovich (shortstop); Ed Brummel, Dennis Andries, and Sean Blakeman (third); and outfielders Steve Skomessa, Frank Karmelich, Danny Seaman, John Sullivan, and Joe Rios; Billy Suarez and Chip Williams were injured. The pitchers were Andries, Brummel, Terry Martin, and Rios. The coach was Andy Vidovich, and the manager was Bob Schroeder.
Ursich, founder of Marina Sports Medicine in Rancho Palos Verdes, has written a book about that season that should be available later this year. The coaches and Martin and Suarez have passed away, and Ursich hasn’t been able to contact Williams or Rios. Most of the rest of that team, men now in their early 70s, remain in the area, I believe, still cherishing childhood memories of when they put San Pedro in the national sports spotlight. spt