On this date in 1932, the Decatur Herald published this essay by John Richard Phillip, age 8.
Seal Beach Play-Spot For Ocean Wanderers
Last winter I was in California. I went to Seal Beach. There is a bay there. The seals come into the bay. They rest on the sand. They are rather tame. I could go near them. But I could not touch them. Once I almost caught a baby seal.
Down the beach is a fishing pier. If the seals go there they shoot at them. They scare away the fish. But at Seal Beach no one can shoot at them. They lie in the sun and rest. The baby seals play. They bark, “Wak, Wak, Wak!” They flip into the water and out again. They cannot walk for they have no legs. They have flippers. And boy! How they can swim. They go to Alaska in the summer to care for their new baby seals until they are old enough to swim. I wish I could have a pet seal.
– Michael Dobkins