July 5th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1916, the Santa Ana Register reported the sad fate of  W. J. Doyle.

After several hours working as a waiter at a Seal Beach cafe on July 4th, Doyle quit due to illness. As his boss was paying him his final wages, poor Doyle, well, died. His body was given to the Waiters Union of Los Angeles for burial.

What is interesting about this newspaper story is the choice of phrases and what the reporter leaves out of the story. The name of the cafe and the name of the gentleman known simply as “the employer” are not mentioned. The reporter writes very carefully about Doyle, “he went to his employer and told him he was sick and wanted to quit.”

This is pure speculation ninety-nine years later, but it seems more likely that Doyle felt sick and asked to go home, but “the employer” insisted he continue working. Doyle either quit at that point or the employer fired Doyle when Doyle insisted he was too ill to work.

There’s an old saw about how any publicity is good publicity, but I’m sure “the employer” was glad that his name and his restaurant’s name were excluded from the story. The Santa Ana Register editor probably didn’t want to alienate a Seal Beach advertiser, but this story was just too juicy to resist running with some careful editing.

And for those of you with overbearing bosses who give you grief every time you call in sick, be sure to remind them of poor, overworked W. J. Doyle.

– Marilyn Van Dyke and Michael Dobkins

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July 4th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1938, a thirteen year old boy had a very bad day in Seal Beach. celebrated July 4th by visiting their friends,  of 1507 Seal Way in Seal Beach. Dick, their teenage son came along, no doubt anticipating a full fun and active day at the beach, in the ocean, and in the sun. What could possibly go wrong? 

In a string of bad luck worthy of a bad folk song ballad, young Dick Nelson suffered one injury after another, requiring medical attention three times and two applications of basic first aid.

First, young Dick Nelson handled a sculpin caught by a fisherman on the old pier, and needed to visit the doctor to cauterize the lacerations on his hands.

Then young Dick Nelson managed to find the only piece of broken glass reported in the water that day and sliced open his foot enough to require his second doctor visit of the day.

Parental guidance insisted that young Dick Nelson cross swimming and fishing off his list of activities for  the rest of the day, so what was left for a young teenaged boy to do? Light a Roman Candle firework, of course.

The Roman Candle lit young Dick Nelson’s hair on fire, burning his scalp, requiring first aid. Some of you may be starting to detect the faint shape of a pattern here.

The Nelson family then visited a neighbor of the Andersons. A neighbor with a dog. Who bit young Dick Nelson on the nose for a third visit to the doctor.

Feeling sorry for young Dick Nelson, his dad and Mr. Anderson took him out on rowboat out on Anaheim bay, but played it safe by restricting him from rowing or fishing.

Young Dick Nelson fell overboard.

– Marilyn Van Dyke and Michael Dobkins

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July 3rd in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1917, the Topeka Daily Capital in Kansas ran the following photo.

July_3_1917_Baby_Seal_Lions_as_pets-3

The full story reads as follows:

Making pets of baby sea lions is the great fad at Seal Beach, Cal., this year. Miss Vera Teel is here shown giving “Toots” his daily ration of milk from the bottle. “Toots is about 30 days old. “Sea lion cubs are just like little puppies,” says Miss Teel. “When they are young they have all the instincts of the dog and are just as fond of humans as they are of their own sleek mothers. If the cubs are well fed and kept near people they become quite domestic when grown. They grow fat and lazy and seldom go into the water, even to fish.” ‘Toots” enjoys immensely taking his dinner from the bottle, just as any other baby might. He is now covered with many brown spots, but as he grows older these will leave, just as the fawn’s spots disappear.

We respect Miss Teel for correctly identifying “Toots” as a seal lion (a feat of amateur marine biology that Seal Beach’s founders never mastered since they constantly mislabeled seal lions in photos as seals in early Seal Beach publicity). However, we don’t have to contact our professional marine biologist friend to know that domesticating a baby seal, er, sea lion is not a good idea. Kids, friends, neighbors, Topekans, do not use Miss Vera Teel as a role model for good pet ownership choices.

A little digging at Ancestry.com unearthed some interesting tidbits about Vera Teel. Although this can’t be verified 100%, it seems likely that she was born Vera Louisa Teague in Illinois in 1896 and moved with her mother and father to Long Beach by the 1910 census. By 1916, she had married James Elford Teel, also of Long Beach and remained married to him until at least 1924, so Vera was not a “Miss” when this photo was taken. (I know! A newspaper misreporting facts. I’m as surprised as you.)

By 1925, Vera had to change all her monogrammed towels because she was now married to Frank Luke Rogers, a man eight years younger than her (Hubba-hubba, Vera!). This marriage seems to stick because she remained Vera Rogers for the rest of her life.  In the 1940 census, Vera is listed impressively as being an attorney with her own practice, so one hopes her amateur seal lion expert days were over by then.

Vera passed away on January 3rd, 1983, and Frank followed her a few months later on April 7, 1983.

– Marilyn Van Dyke and Michael Dobkins

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July 2nd in Seal Beach History

July_2_1935_Glide_Er_Inn_Ad

On this date in 1935, the Santa Ana Register ran this ad for the Glide’er Inn restaurant. We ran an 1975 for the Glide’er Inn here, but this ad is for the  original location at Coast Highway and Bay Boulevard (now Pacific Coast Highway and Seal Beach Boulevard). In 1944, the Navy took over Anaheim Landing, and the Glide’er Inn relocated to 14th Street and Pacific Coast Highway, the current location of Mahé, You can see a 1943 aerial photo of the Glide’er Inn at its original location across from the Seal Beach Airport here.

– Marilyn Van Dyke and Michael Dobkins

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July 1st in Seal Beach History

Kathy Harter in Action

Kathy Harter in Action

On this date in 1967, Kathy Harter of Seal Beach beat Australian Jan O’ Neill in the fourth rounds of the Wimbledon Championships women’s singles. Harter was active as a professional world-class tennis player from 1964 to 1978.  

Harter went on to win her quarterfinal singles match against Lesley Turner and then lost her semi-final match against another Southern California woman, Billie-Jean Moffitt from Long Beach. Billie-Jean Moffitt is better known today as Billie-Jean King.

– Marilyn Van Dyke and Michael Dobkins

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June 25th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1977, The Anglers Tackle Box on Electric Avenue hosted an all-day fishing clinic, featuring Leonard “Straggler” Lussier, noted Baja and Southern California saltwater fishing authority, a movie, prizes, discounts, experts and much more!

June_25_1977_Fishing_Clinic

– Marilyn Van Dyke and Michael Dobkins

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June 24th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1914, a “big auto excursion’ left Santa Ana at 10:30 a.m. sharp to visit Seal Beach to enjoy “the surf, fishing, dancing, and bowling” and, representatives of the Guy M. Rush Company dearly hoped, put money down on a newly built home or beach lot.

June_24_1914_Auto_Excursion_to_SB

– Marilyn Van Dyke and Michael Dobkins

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