Built in 1909 to dispose of the city’s sewage, Santa Monica Pier has experienced growth and change over the decades, with the addition of Pacific Park in 1996 making it the family entertainment destination it is today.
If I lived in a gingerbread house every day would be sugar-coated, the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger would waft through the house filling my soul and satisfying my taste buds and my neighbors would all have impeccable taste creating a healthy competition in seasonal landscaping. Each night when I would sleep the skies would fill with gum drops and each morning when I would wake fresh snow would fall. I would believe that everything is possible, that dreams come true and all mankind is inherently good because I live in a gingerbread house, after all.
We have celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas in the city many times over the years. Each time there are things that are the same; the floats, balloons, crowds, ice skating, the cold, Santa. And each time there is one thing that is constantly different; the kids. From Lucas’ first to Penny’s first to Oliver’s first each time brings new belief, understanding, complaining and appreciation. No matter how tired we are from lack of sleep, carrying the kids, standing in crowds and navigating amongst the tourists we know that once we are home we’ll only recall the best parts.
He was 36 when he told his wife, mother to his three young girls, that he wanted something bigger. The American dream was playing in everyone’s mind, including his. The Korean War had ended just twenty years before and Korea was not yet a first world nation. Despite his astute mind his family could not afford him a college education and without a college education opportunities were small and the social climb was impossible. America gave him hope and the promise of fulfilling a different destiny. My mom sold her wedding band to buy the plane tickets and with all their belongings packed into bags they left all they knew for possibility. We quickly moved from low-income housing to an apartment to our very own home, my parents both working blue-collar jobs until the day they retired. If you were to ask my 36 year dad if his American dream was to work as a welder for thirty years I’m sure his arrogance and ambition would shrug that thought away as an impossibility. But if you ask my 84 year old father if his American dream came true I’d imagine he’d say look at what my four children have borne, my dreams were replaced by theirs and each of their successes is mine and each of my eleven grandchildren’s successes are mine. If that isn’t a dream come true I don’t know what is.