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Tag Archives: Pacific Coast Highway

a summer past…

pastel sketch by DAK, 1951Outside, the June morning is cloudy, breezy, gray, but through the little window of my mother’s sketch it is always Summer. In her mix of pastel strokes and very fine ink lines, Dorothy captured the light, the season, the ease of Santa Barbara, of her months away from home, away from responsibility, from mothering, from me.

I was three. Every few weeks, my father and I would visit her, making the two-hour drive up Pacific Coast Highway. My father taught me the names of the places we passed — Malibu, Point Mugu, Port Hueneme, Oxnard, Santa Claus Lane, Ventura, Carpinteria — and we would recite them in a sort of game-song-poem, over and over. He told me stories. Once we stopped along the way and he held me in his lap as we slid down a long, steep dune on a flattened cardboard carton. Once we made the trip in a great rumbling airplane — my first plane ride.

Eventually we’d arrive at the place with the blue roofs and we would sit by the pool, or take the wooden footbridge across the train tracks to the beach, or spend a few minutes in the cool dark of my mother’s bungalow, or have hamburgers in the café.

And then it would be time to drive home, the ocean on our right instead of our left, the litany of names unwinding in reverse, the house waiting, quiet and still, for our return.
pastel drawing by DAK

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