July 4th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1938, a thirteen year old boy had a very bad day in Seal Beach. Mr. and Mrs. Carl J. Nelson of Los Angeles celebrated July 4th by visiting their friends,  Mr. and Mrs. M. L. Anderson 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 teen-aged 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 on rowboat out on Anaheim bay, but played it safe by restricting him from rowing or fishing.

Young Dick Nelson fell overboard.

– Michael Dobkins

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