August 29th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1909, Gladys Gervais had a lovely vacation day with her family and friends in Anaheim Landing.

Bay City at Anaheim Landing

This day survives because Gladys would later write a letter to her Aunt Laurie, and that letter would be published in the August 21, 1910 edition of the Los Angeles Herald as a summer vacation essay contest submission. This letter offers a rare and vivid look into what a typical stay in Anaheim Landing was like in 1909:

Dear Aunt Laurie:

The day of which I am going to write is the twenty-ninth of last August.

We were staying in a tent-house at Anaheim Landing at the time. There is usually a cool, refreshing sea breeze blowing and the weather was as usual in the morning.

We took a bath and then came in ate dinner. It tasted very good, as everything usually does at the beach. After dinner Violet, two friends and I sat on our porch playing flinch.

Suddenly, about 2 o’clock, the sea breeze stopped and in its place came a hot breeze from the interior.

We dropped our flinch cards and ran quickly to get our bathing suits.

By the time we were ready almost every one on the beach had a bathing suit.

Martha couldn’t swim well enough to go out in deep water, so she stayed near the shore with some other persons, while Violet, Grace and I swam down the bay with some other bathers.

The second time we swam down Violet rested one of her hands on my uncle’s shoulder, and by accident she got her mouth filled with water.

She commenced to choke, and her head went under water, but she held on to my uncle and pulled him under too.

They came up sputtering and choking, and when they saw us laughing at them they laughed, too.

We came to shore soon after and some of them went out again, but we three girls, with Martha, stayed near the shore and had fun there.

While I wasn’t watching, Grace came up behind me and ducked me. Then we had a water fight, Violet and Grace “surrendered.” Then we went out and dressed.

About 5 o’clock the sea breeze came up again, and then we went walking.

On returning we ate supper and then went boat riding, which is certainly a pleasant pastime, especially at night.

We afterwards learned that it had been 114 degrees at Anaheim, the hottest day it had been for more than ten years.

GLADYS GERVAIS Anaheim Grammar school. Age 14. Grade 8

Gladys lived what seems to have been a long and happy life. Sometime in the decade after she wrote this letter, she married Gustave Jorres, a bank examiner and World War I veteran, and lived with him until his death in 1980. She was a mother to two daughters, Evelyn and Alberta, became a grandmother, and remained a California girl her entire life.

Gladys Mae Jorres lived to be 104 years old (!) and died in 2000. She is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

– Michael Dobkins


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