Submitted by Charles Batsch
I remember the first time I came to this town. It was 1960 and I was only five years old. When you’re small everything always seems so big and then when you haven’t been somewhere in so long and you go back everything was a lot smaller than you imagined when you were a child. We flew here to San Diego on a Jet Plane and wow to fly on a Jet Plane when you were five years old was an experience in itself. I’d already been on a plane a couple times in my young life but flying into San Diego was an unbelievable experience. Fortunately I got to sit near the window on the left side of the airplane and when I first saw the green of the ocean I was amazed and the long finger of land that they call the Silver Strand. And as the plane kept moving and got lower and lower there was an island hooked up to that long finger of land and my dad pointed out the window and said looky there that’s Coronado. Coronado Island. Then you can see the city of San Diego. And the plane kept getting lower and lower and lower and I thought are we going to land on top of the city. It seemed as though we were flying between buildings to get to the airstrip and finally we landed. Lindbergh Field. That was the San Diego International Airport. When we got off the plane you could smell the Sea Air and you could see San Diego Bay and across the bay there was another city. I did not know that City yet but that was Coronado. After we rented the car we drove for about 15-20 minutes and we waited in a line of cars probably about a hundred cars. And the line got shorter and shorter and shorter until finally we drove onto a boat. I had never driven onto a boat in a car before; that boat was called the San Diego to Coronado Ferry. Wow this trip was beginning to be one thrill after another. And it always seemed so quiet. As the ferry reached the other Shore we drove off onto the island of Coronado. We had to drive about a mile to get to the other side of the island and that was where we found my grandmother’s house. We stopped in and saw my grandmother for a little while and she was so happy to see my dad and our family. I remember as we were driving to Grandma’s house all of the empty lots that were in this town all over the place. After a short greeting we got back in the car and drove to the hotel. A magnificent Hotel which my dad told me had been there since the 1800s. This was the Hotel del Coronado. We got to our rooms, stocked our bags and put on attire appropriate for the beach. Then we left our room and made our way down the hallways, down the rickety old elevator and on to the beach. What a magnificent Beach it was, and the oceans so beautiful and green, and so clean. After a couple of hours of Sun, sand and ocean we went back to our rooms and cleaned up and went and picked up Grandma for lunch. Such a sunny quiet and beautiful day. After about two weeks of vacation we left. And now a dream was instilled inside me; one day I wanted to live in Coronado. That dream came true in 1973 when I came here a year behind in school and 18 years old to finish my senior year at Coronado High School. I was a rare commodity, I was 18 years old and had my own apartment. Who could ask for anything more. I was lucky to have survived and graduated living on my own at that age. Over the next 47 years I lived in many different apartments and houses in Coronado as I grew older. I watched this little quaint town that I first saw when I was 5 years old grow and grow and grow. And as the little town grew and became a big town along with it came the technological advancement of civilization. And more and more and more Construction and slowly every one of those little lots that I saw as a child disappeared with the advent of new family houses, condominiums or apartment complexes. And also there was your commercial endeavor which also sprang up all over the place. And with everything in a nutshell came more noise and more noise and more noise. Now I don’t need an alarm clock anymore. Almost right at the break of dawn there is the sound of a skill saw, weed whip, mower or blower. And an occasional chainsaw. This little quaint town has almost reached its peak and no one ever pulled back on the reins to slow her down. A destination for the money that buys more than it needs. As I sit back in contemplation and approach a time in the future where I will leave this beautiful quaint town to find a quieter place to live the last 20 years of my life I sit back and remember the first time I arrived. Change is good, if we didn’t have change in life we would probably be bored to death. But there’s a sadness in my heart for the way that change has taken place here. All those empty lots are gone now and I know that because I saw one of the last go just lately. This town has become as full of people as an overfilled glass of grape juice on a white counter top spilling over uncontrollably with whoever is driving the main container of juice oblivious to the consequences. I don’t know what the future holds for me right now but I’m still excited because it’s change. Change is the foundation for the growth of our minds and spirits. And I look forward to wherever my destination takes me with my family. And a quiet, quiet, quiet place to spend the final years of my life. Where you go outside at night and you can hear a pin drop and look up and see the Milky Way as if you could reach up and touch it.