Fifty years ago the bridge opened, changing Coronado forever. In its wake came the demise of the Coronado car-carrying ferryboats and the Coronado train. It also spelled the end to what was once a quiet little town.
“Paradise Found,” is how Joe Ditler describes his home this past half century. He came to Coronado from a little dust bowl called Muscoy, at the edge of the desert and foot of the San Bernardino Mountains.
Little did he know that 50 years later he would write a book about that tumultuous era of the Summer of Love, and all the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll that came with it.
His book documents this fascinating era. It’s called, “CORONADO CONFIDENTIAL: “It Can’t Happen Here …””
Coronado would never be the same, as Ditler points out in no uncertain terms in his book. As award-winning journalist John Freeman writes in the book’s foreword:
“From obscure little Muscoy in Southern California’s Inland Empire to the seemingly sleepy island of Coronado, an unlikely milieu of retired admirals and aging hippies, fringed with palm trees angled and shaped by the wind, Joe Ditler stirs the cobwebs of those who shared his fondness and folly for the highs and lows of the Sixties.
“Told by a master storyteller, his phantasmagorical tales tell of an unforgettable era that thrived in an even unlikelier place.
“One can’t help but be awestruck, dumbstruck even, by the self-induced twists and turns of his curious and often uproarious life as a teen-ager and beyond. That was Joe. Still is. Except he’s not so young anymore.
“The Sixties Revolution erupted all over the world, but nowhere near to the degree it did on the West Coast of California, from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury hippie mecca all the way to Coronado, San Diego’s deceptively quaint, conservative military enclave across the bay. Hard to believe, even now.
“Sixties miscreant minstrel Frank Zappa put it this way: “It can’t happen here.” But it did.
“Deftly and soulfully, Joe Ditler reawakens the memories, music, and madness of a half-century-ago generation that left an undeniably lasting imprint on today’s culture and lifestyle. He was there, and now he’s here, to tell his story. . .
“I didn’t know Joe back then, but as a long-time friend and fellow writer – a storytelling peer in the truest definition, I’m certain he didn’t make any of this crazy s— up, even the craziest. Nobody could.
“If Joe says it happened, I believe him. I just can’t believe he’s still here to write so deliciously about the mischief and lunacy of that time long ago.
“This is a read you will long savor and not soon forget.”
“CORONADO CONFIDENTIAL: “It Can’t Happen Here …”” is available at Amazon in hard cover ($19.95), soft cover ($14.95) and eBook.
The author will host a book signing Monday, July 1, 2019 at the Coronado Public Library’s Winn Room. The event starts at 6:30 p.m.
For more information contact the author at (619) 435-0767 or [email protected].
Additional books written by Joe Ditler:
Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to update book signing dates and locations.