Rainbows in July
May 01, 2010 09:06PM, Published by Don Kindred, Categories: Community
Thirty years ago I was the advertising director at Sebastian’s/West. It was during the Casino’s 1980 incarnation as a dinner playhouse. The domed structure was already a historic building by then … with its requisite share of ghost stories. In the daytime, black walls surrounded a dark, empty space that seemed lifeless and old. It was at night - when the dinner was gone and the buffet tables stored, when the MC had uttered his bright and brief remarks - that the magic happened. The house lights would dim to the shuffle of unseen shadows before the stage lights came up and the audience found itself instantly transported …whether into Neil Simon’s New York apartment in Chapter Two, or the misty glens of Brigadoon. Once, an unfortunate series of illnesses among the management forced me to stand-in as MC for the night.
I was 23, and welcoming 300 theatre patrons to California’s first dinner theatre was an honor that still makes me sweat.
On July 15th, I found myself back in the same building, with the microphone again. This time welcoming 150 friends to the historic treasure that had been too long under wraps. The occasion was the San Clemente Journal’s 15th Anniversary Party, a proud moment for Shelly and I and all of our staff. Personally, it also meant I’d hit the 30-year mark as a San Clementean, and what a place to enjoy it. At the event, Mayor Jim Dahl, in his trademark Hawaiian shirt, presented us with an engraved plaque from the City, and I managed to mumble my way thru a few “thank yous” before forgetting some others. They all need to be repeated here. I think I can do better, alone, here in the comfort of page two.
Shelly and I want to thank our editor, Anne Batty, whose name appears in 64 of our 65 issues. Her small frame belies her big heart, rare talent and an uncommon strength when it comes to defending our purpose, which is to “Celebrate Life in San Clemente”
We want thank our advertisers. We have 13 of those who have been in every issue. (I think we only had 14 in the first one) and 75 % of our current advertisers have been with us for more than five years, half for over 10. We appreciate our readers continued support of those who provide the lifeblood of our efforts.
Of course, there can be no journal without an author. We knew in the beginning if our Journal was to work, that our relevance would depend upon finding a broad spectrum of writers, with a wide range of interests. It would have to be a product of local talent who took more pride in their finished work than they did in their paychecks. To name one would be to name them all and space forbids it, almost 200 writers have made their entries in this 15-year endeavor.
The names we have to mention, Andy Fulton, Tina Visnic Wolfe, Greg Niemann, Jean Brady, Wendy Gatsios, Jim Kempton, Ron Pulley and those who, with us, went through the labor of our birth, and to whom I owe a great debt. Back in our second year, when I thought we had told every tale there was to tell in San Clemente, when I wondered if the faucet might run dry of worthy subjects to write about, I learned a very important lesson; there is a story behind every door, and a good writer will find it.
I’d also forgotten to thank my own son, Tyler, who had come down from college to schlep tables, set-up and was no doubt hiding behind a camera when I was speaking. He has shared his talents like the more than 100 photographers and artists who have illustrated our publication.
By the end of our celebration, one of July’s first sunny days had turned into a light sprinkle, almost like dew that was gone as soon as it touched your face … a strange occurrence in July. Out on Casino’s Patio of the Stars, a rainbow arose above the Boca de Playa, and then another. I’ll have to take it as a sure sign of good things to come. Not just for the Journal, but for the Casino’s owners, the Sedeghis, and the rebirth of North Beach.
With our 65th printing, we’re proud to have become a part of our city now, even if just a small patch in the community fabric. The response of our readers makes us want to do better, and that will be our mission for the next 15 years....
Don Kindred, Publisher