To be sure, no one ever got hurt too bad

I don’t think I should name any suspects, guilty or otherwise, in this little flashback, although some readers will doubtless know the characters I speak of. To be sure, no one ever got hurt too bad, and the only arrest I can think of did not have a direct connection to the place where my three sons grew up. We moved into the home in 1993. Before that life-altering migration, I entertained hopes of my boys becoming baseball, football, soccer, or basketball stars. But alas, a week into our settling in, they discovered Sunny Cove and the Pacific swells that rolled off the craggy point into perfect rights, whether on a boogie board, surfboard, or just plain body-surfing. The boys, especially my oldest, dropped all pretense of a traditional athletic career and embraced the surf culture of Mid-Town, basically contained between the surf breaks of Rivermouth and Privates.
By the year 2000, I found myself the father of three teenagers (a five-year age span). But in reality, I played the role of old-school male role model for about three dozen other young hellions. There were times we seemed to be overrun, most likely because we were close to the beach, had a hot outdoor shower, a pool table in the garage, a BB hoop, and a rack for quivers of boards and random wetsuits, not to mention the nachos my wife Jennie prepared to placate the insatiable hunger that resulted from constant play in the ocean.
Thank God they all enrolled in Junior Lifeguards so I could rest a little easier when the waves got big and massive waters moved in rips and currents just off the beach. During a big south swell, my place was a hive of activity, and not without its conflicts and differences of opinion on what constituted proper decorum when using someone else’s household for base operations.
Don’t get me wrong, these were all good kids, but when I counted 52 teenagers (male and female) traipsing through my house and yard on a balmy summer day, I knew something should be done. Then there were some incidents. A punch was thrown over an argument regarding who would sit in the old $25 barber chair I had bought at a garage sale. (The chair lasted only a couple of weeks.) After returning home from work one day, I encountered two boys, whom I didn’t know from Adam, watching TV on my couch and eating peanut butter and crackers—the evidence left on the kitchen counter in a gooey mess. A water balloon assault on a couple of sunbathers at the Cove ended up with several boys huddled in my closet while a Hell’s Angels-type dude gunned his motorcycle up and down the street looking for the punks that got his girlfriend wet. A radish-throwing occurrence from a moving car made the local crime report, a guilty verdict evident, validated by the leftover produce on my garage workbench.
But the icing on the cake was when I discovered my son’s best friend taking hot showers before he put on his wetsuit and also when he took it off! My water bill was enormous. And then I got accused of “chopping” a bike that was left on my lawn for two months. I was merely changing a flat tire and painting over the rusted handlebars, a good deed in my book, not the criminal activity of a theft ring.

SURF HOUSE 2000: Rules are Rules are Rules

After some deep thought, I decided to post a list of “Rules.”

At the top of the list was the first rule: FRIENDS ARE WELCOME, FRIENDS OF FRIENDS MAY NOT BE.


Altogether I listed over a dozen commandments, from regulating the use of water balloons to packing one’s own trash. I even had to add a corollary: DO NOT DEFACE THIS SIGN OR ANYTHING ELSE when my first list got graffitied with some un-smiley faces.
Well, the pool table is long gone, along with the barber chair, board racks, and teasing, joking, and bantering that constantly ensued amongst the surf tribe. My grown boys come by often, as do their old friends. I’ve threatened to remove the “Rules” several times, but I’m always met with fierce resistance. I think they liked that time in their lives and want to keep some reminders of what fun they had when responsibilities were few and constant waves rolling in from across the sea kept them happy.
They are all grown up now, these boys of summer, with families and careers of their own. I count a cadre of first responders, a geologist, a photographer, an architect, a contractor, a doctor, a teacher, an engineer, an artist, a writer, a harbormaster, and a pro surfer among the many that graced my home in the year 2000. And they still follow those dog-eared rules!
Just the other day my grandson, who is in third grade and mastering the art of reading, asked me about the rules, still pasted on the inside door of the garage. “Those were for your Da-Da and his friends when he was a teenager, but I’m going to leave them up for you when you get big. What do you think about that?”
“That’s pretty cool,” he replied as he grabbed his skimboard and headed down to the Cove with the neighbor kid. But not before taking a quick hot shower.

Photos by Buzz Anderson. Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.

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  1. Barb Bacon

    You and Jennie provided the best possible haven for all our kids! Words are not enough to thank you both for your love and generosity in sharing your special corner of the world! ❤️

  2. Jim furlong

    Excellent, a life and time with many lives well lived by all
    Thanks for sharing

  3. Glenda

    Love your blogs Buzzy !

  4. Bob Curwen

    Great memories!! (& so-well written!👍) I can also remember our girls feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the activity at the house. I’m not sure if it was because of their different experience growing up in the High Desert or just from all the ‘boy energy.’ 🤣

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