1st OB Rag History

47 comments

OCEAN BEACH — THE HAIGHT-ASHBURY OF SAN DIEGO

Ocean Beach, by the early 1970s, had become the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego, home to many hippies and counter-culture fans, but also to many surfers, college students, bikers, Navy servicemen, as well as middle-aged families and retired people. It was overwhelmingly an Anglo renters’ community, yet it suffered from a disdain held by the power structure and more establishment types.Hundreds if not thousands of young people congregated on OB’s beaches and streets, often shunned by Newport Avenue businesses, while been soaked by landlords asking exorbitant rents for cottages and, at times, nothing more than beach shacks, and suffering from an inordinate amount of police harassment. Very few businesses catered to the young. The Black – a head shop, had opened on Newport, and there was the Inbetween – a drop-in center on Newport – but there were no coffee houses, no organic veggie stores or restaurants, no juice bars, no music or dance clubs, and many of the bars that existed catered to an older crowd. Unlike the current downtown OB scene any evening of the week, there was virtually no night-life on Newport Avenue. It wasn’t easy being a hippie in those early times. (For more, see below.)

Vol. 1 No. 7 page 1, Click to Enlarge

The OB People’s Rag, Vol. 1, No. 7
Click on image to see entire issue

When the Rag appeared, it was a time of social and political upheaval nation-wide as well as locally. Thousands of college and university campuses had just been in turmoil that Spring due to President Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam war. African-American communities smoldered following decades of official neglect and police repression. Chicano and Mexican-American neighborhoods were undergoing an awakening and shaking off cultural shackles. On the gender front, militant feminists and middle-class housewives were building a movement that pressed for equality for women at all levels in society. Social unrest was in the air, at least for the young.

[For a further accounting of these trends and history, see “The Early Politics” on the Page side bar to the right.]

The Persecution of the Hippies

It is perhaps difficult to understand what it was like to be a hippie, forty years after their initial appearance on the American cultural and political landscape. The hippies, the peaceful warriors of the counter-culture were seen as a threat to the mainstream culture and its values. The system – the establishment – reacted very negatively when young men and women in massive numbers discovered and asserted themselves in the new hip ways, with dress, hairstyles, and language. A whole array of institutional forces slammed down on the hipsters, from police harassment, to landlord abuse, institutional and bureaucratic blocks, and business prejudice. It was cultural suppression. A cultural war.

This war of the cultures was played out in places like Ocean Beach, where hippies lived. After the 1968 wide-spread flowering of the hip generation, housing inspectors swept through the beach community, citing landlords for poor housing conditions. But the effect was to have condemnation proceedings used to rid OB of its worst slums – knocking out housing that hippies and young people could afford.

Many straight businesses showed their prejudice against the hippies unabashedly. Long-hair on men was abhorrent, they had to be dirty. Hippie women were loose and promiscuous. Officialdom in Ocean Beach shunned the hippies. Newport merchants eyed them with a deep, animal-like suspicion whenever a young person perceived as a hippie entered their store. It was likely the merchants who pressured city officials and the police to do something about these hippies.

Police vs. Hippies

Police harassment of hippies – whether in OB or across the country – has been well documented. It was even a sociological issue, and Gormlie had studied this cultural war and prejudice against hippies, having written a major college paper on the subject. The Rag would later expound on the issue of police harassment, with numerous accounts of OB locals, as it was a prevalent issue among the young; the town council and a human rights organization even later would begin campaigning against the police. But in mid-1971 activists opened up a legal office to give counseling about police abuse and organizers handed out police complaint forms. At the time, it was a standard practice of police officers to stop whomever they wished and run a “Field Interrogation” on them. This was used constantly on young hippies. During the Summer of 1969, it was literally difficult for a young, hippie male to drive or walk across the community at night without being stopped by a cop.

The prevalence of the hippie – youth tension with cops was clearly evident in the results of the Spring 1971 OB Study of a White Youth Ghetto (see “New Blood”). The survey, home interviews of 741 residents of north-west OB, found a generally negative view of San Diego Police. 40% of those contacted considered police harassment to be one of the most disagreeable factors in living in OB. 71% of those between the ages of 15 – 18 expressed this view. More than one out of every three people interviewed had experienced some form of adverse contact with the police in OB. Nearly 40% of the 15 to 18 year group reported being field interrogated themselves. Finally, approximately 56% interviewed favored community control of the police.

This tension between the community’s youth and the local gendarmes, clearly obvious in outbursts such as the Easter Riots (1968), the Jetty battle (1970), and the Collier Park Riot (1971), would fester unti action was taken by the local town council in conjunction with activists who collaborated on efforts to curtail outrageous police conduct. The San Diego Police Department, under then Chief Ray Hoobler, enacted a confrontationist policy when dealing with rowdy youth. It was arrest them first, ask questions never. No negotiations with hippies. Only strong-arm tactics work.

It wouldn’t be until the mid-seventies that community pressure forced the police to reform some of their procedures. (However, issues about the police never seemed to go away. In 2003, the Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization – OBGO – led 500 people in a rally and march against police brutality, after officers had unjustifiably shot and killed a homeless man in front of dozens of residents.)

Persecuted by the institutions, the police, landlords, hippies were under siege but bursting out all over everywhere– all at the same time. They couldn’t be stopped. And hippies congregated with other hippies, especially in Ocean Beach.

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

As Frank Gormlie’s college career came to a close in the Spring of 1970, he and his spouse, Susan, planned to move back to Ocean Beach from UCSD. Gormlie felt very strongly that he had to continue to be involved the anti-war movement — as he had been at UCSD – but also be involved in something greater, some higher social impulse and mandate. He believed some kind of revolution would eventually engulf and change America for the better. He wanted to be part of it — to be part of what he perceived to be his generation’s historic role: the transformation of America into more of a truly free and democratic society. The best way to do that, he believed, was to start from the ground up, on the community level, to build a beachhead of progressive politics and revolutionary life styles. He didn’t have it all worked out in his head, but the time was ripe, he felt, to do community organizing, and to do community organizing with some sort of journalistic vehicle.

Limitations of the College Campus Yield to Community Organizing

Having directly experienced the limitations of the college campus, he had come to believe that if change was going to occur in American society, it had to happen on the community level. He understood generally the traditional left emphasis on workplace organizing, but he also had experienced first hand the cutting-edge political role that young people, especially young people within the counter-culture could and were playing. The campuses, of course, were very important, but they had their problems: the in-grown transiency, their “un-real” nature — the Ivory Tower thing– the disconnect between the campus and the on-going real life of society’s citizens, their ultimate un-democratic nature where a governor could simply step in and with the whip of a pen, shut them down, throwing thousands of students out onto the streets overnight.

Yet, apart and connected to many college campuses, were the communities that often surrounded the campuses, communities full of students, their friends and families, other young people, the people who served them — these were the small college towns, like Isla Vista – next to UC Santa Barbara, like Madison, Wisconsin, like Ann Arbor, Michigan, like Lawrence, Kansas, like Amherst, like Berkeley. These neighborhoods, more permanent than the shifting tides on campus, had become the testing grounds of the new politics, the new left politics that were meshing with the counter-culture, the hippie movement. Politics was personal, and the personal was political. These college-centered communities then became the incubators for not only a new politics, but a new way of life.

Pages: 1 2 3

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Evonne Schulze November 2, 2007 at 11:14 pm

Imagine my surprise when i ran into Genie Phllips and she told me the Ob Rag was back and Frank was still in there plugging!!!!!

I wish you great success and I am going to spread the word to some of the “oldies” that are still around. This is great. Maybe we can even get a few stories about what once was and that nothing has truly changed, etc.

I will stay in touch….cheers, evonne

Reply

Avatar Nancy 22 November 25, 2007 at 3:02 am

Thanks for the site.This oldie wants to say.I do recall the “old days”.The beaches were actually clean.2000 the last time I visited with the grandchildren I told them there used to be abalone in the tide pools under the pier before their dad was born.
Another war and a generation later the Ocean Beach Rag is sill alive and so is Hope.
The Rag and the folks that worked on the paper ment Hope and struggle to show that there is something else an alternitave to repression.
Would some one else share what the Rag ment to them?
Thanks
Keep on Keeping On
Little

Reply

Avatar Clark DeLeon December 10, 2007 at 12:07 pm

Congratulations on the OB CyberRag. I worked on an underground/alternative weekly in Philadelphia called The Drummer in the early 1970’s and also the daily student newspaper at Temple University. This prepared me for the day when I would become a columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer, which I was for more than 20 years. I currently write a column for the Philadelphia Metro.

I give this as background just to show you that I’ve been there, done that. Which is why I appreciated the story of the origin of the OB People Rag. My sister and brother-in-law, Denise and Stuart Seymour, have lived in OB for almost two decades. My family gets to visit for a week almost every summer, and I love the OB vibe. We’ve got a section of Philadelphia called South Street, which is like Newport Avenue with the Delaware River at the end instead of the Pacific Ocean. South street was the result of the same kind of political and community awakening that took place in OB during the late 60’s and early 70’s. I can report that your east coast hippie cousins are still rocking the establishment, establishing justice, working with rather than against the environment, living large and taking responsibility for their communities.

The activists of old have become the parents and grandparents of today. And they haven’t sold out (not all of them, anyway). It was a great time to come of age and I still see its spirit alive and well in the biker bars and coffee houses, in the Chop Shop art gallery and on the sideways of Ocean Beach.

Clark DeLeon

Reply

Avatar zariel December 28, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Only in OB could a mix like this have happened. Does anyone remember the original OB peoples food store located in the small [bike?] shop before it moved up the street into a rebuilt pool hall? The OB free school? Hallelujah michael? Eru, Skyhorse Largo or any number of rare and unforgettable characters that lent this funky beach town its quite original vibe that gave this Philly boy a mental makeover thats lasted a lifetime. Good to see you still groovin

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie December 28, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Zariel – check out our series on OB People’s Food Co-op – which includes a photo of the old store front.

Reply

Avatar Eliel September 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Yes Zariel; I do remember the OB peoples food store. It was a small little place and I was greeted by a (then) young lady who welcomed me. My first impression was “gee, I don’t think this is going to last long.”

Reply

Avatar Marjorie Ann Drake March 19, 2008 at 3:52 pm

Wowie, I guess we’re getting old, hmmmm? Anyone remember the Red House and the DC Blues Band?
Oh yea, and Spaceman…what a trip. Thanks you guys, outasight.

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie May 6, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Marjorie – sure we remember the Red House. It will be referenced, I understand, in up-coming additions to the OB Rag history, as yet unwritten. The Red House was an activist home during most of the seventies, painted red, and was a center for the radical antiwar movement in OB . The structure still stands today, but the lot has been divided.
I also remember the DC Blues Band. And Spaceman. I met him when I was a teenager and still have my Space Number, which will save me when the aliens land. Hey, when are they landing? We need something in this country.

Reply

Avatar Winston July 16, 2008 at 5:30 pm

I lived in OB in the early to mid 60’s. In 1965 I was 5 years old. Spaceman would come by our house from time to time. We lived on Coronado Ave. until the house we rented was sold and the land used to build apartments. One time Spaceman tried to get me to take money from my mothers purse to give to him. I remember people talking about his drinking. At that time he was pretty old. I think he made the news from time to time. I now reside in Tennessee.

Reply

Avatar Peter May 25, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Yes I too remember the spaceman, he had membership cards which i bought when I was 12 years old! Wish I still had it, got lost in the shuffle. I was there with my father Dan Simmons at the riots, it was quite something!! My father was very involved with the Ocean Beach Ecology Action Commettie along with Hap and Glenda Ferris.

Cheers! Peter

Reply

Avatar Ray Gavin December 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm

We moved into OB in 1954. we lived on seaside st and went to sacred heart academy. We were a big family 9 boys and 2 girls and of course we were catholic. early on i remember knowing the location of every fruit tree in the neighborhood. we played in the canyon at the north end of seaside. the trek to beach was a daily summer routine. Down the street lived the Lockwoods and Ray Baumbaugh. Ob was a very quiet place to grow up in. The old house is still there at 2319. Phil meeker, dennis brooks, ronnie green, the lucido family and the bettencourts. Hangin out at the Rec center. I sold papers on Newport st in 57 and 58. The frichtels and Shermans. Always did a little shoplifting at Cornets. I loved the fries at the jack in the box on the coner of froud and sunset cliffs. Paul, one of my brothers…the Wolf….on his velsey-jacobs board. I remeber going to see Endless summer in 58 at the loma theater…wow ..what a time..

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie December 7, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Ray, wow, what a treasure trove of memories! I also lived on Seaside but much later. I went to high school with some of the Lockwoods and Marty Bettencourt. The only thing I differ with you about is when the original Endless Summer was shown. It was more like 1963 to 1964. I saw it at the PB elementary school auditorium and the producer – I forget his name – gave a live narrative.

Reply

Avatar Kathy Brunow nee Griffin March 23, 2015 at 3:01 pm

You mean the Jack in the box was on Sunset Cliffs and Froud before Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs. I remember the one on Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs being built in 1965.

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie March 23, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Kathy, I believe Ray misspoke. Sunset Cliffs and Froude is down on the Cliffs and there’s never been a JinB there.

Reply

Avatar Kathy Brunow nee Griffin March 24, 2015 at 3:27 am

I’m thinking this is true.

Reply

Avatar Lorne Hillier December 28, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Greetings OB! Ray, I am sure you remember one or the other Hillier at Sacred Heart, since there 12 of us! Your sister was in my class…yep I did the tour from Kindergarten to 8th grade there, then on to Uni after that! Lots of religion in those days! Theresa was in my class with the Caseys,Beckmans, Lucidos and many more ( well NOT that many…I think we had 12 boys and about 18-20 girls in our class) We lived on the 4400 block of Santa Monica…straight up from the ‘Tower’..we checked the surf every day from the middle of the street…counting the sets. The one thing I miss the most is the chicken from Ma and Pa Zekes…I wonder if that recipe ever was passed along? It sure beat KFC all to hell!

Reply

Avatar steve ottinger January 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Wow Frank! you lived on seaside too? and you remember the lockwoods? our house was strait across the street from the lockwoods! it was the big ugly pink house with the pillers. hell, Jimmy lockwood dam neer lived at our house. you also remember the Motts? these were some of our good friends! Do you or any one els here remember the Ottinger family? we were well known as well. I sure do miss the OB days, we left OB in 1974 and moved to coos bay oregon. It was one of the biggist mistakes my folks ever made. in fact to be totaly honest with you. In my life! I dont remember ever being as happy as I was as a young kid in ocean beach. When we left! I left my heart in ocean beach, and took OB with me insted, to a place where Cali’s were not welcomed. It seemed the bikers here were the only ones who ever really did exsept me for who and what I was. But at the time a lot of them were from Cali as well, and no one here wanted to fuck around with these boys. Now 44yrs old with unproudly! two murder trials under my belt. I fined my self once again facing yet another tial! one that ive ran from for 9yrs! wich is coming to an end this spring when I turn my self in, and if it goes well! then Im done with the law! once and for all!! Its time for some peace, love , and happyness to come my way again. wish me luck my brother! and thanks again…….. truly The OB- Kid!

Reply

Avatar Wayne Roche May 24, 2010 at 3:21 pm

What a blast from the past! I moved to California when I was 23 and went straight from the east coast, to Ocean Beach. I lived at a few places in O.B between March 78, and November, 79, but I started out in a very “modest” apartment above the shoe store on the corner of Newport and Bacon. Being from the NY suburbs, (New Rochelle, just north of NYC), O.B. was sort of a culture shock…one I embraced with open arms, and an open mind!
Like most kids my age at that time, I had this preconceived notion that I was going to be hangin out with alot of blonde, blue eyed Californians, listening to the Beach Boys while cruisin around in a T-Bird or a 49 Ford Woody with my long board bungeed to the top…Kawabunga!!!….wrong.
Instead, it was a melting pot of souls from all over the country…the world! In fact I do actually remember meeting one girl from San Diego…only one. And NOBODY listened to the Beach Boys!
Ok. Some of my fondest memories are: Sunshine Co. Saloon, Clint Carey(The Spaceman), The Arizona at 6 in the morning!, The Black (my favorite head shop), Square Pan Pizza, Over the Top, Foggy’s Notion, learning to surf, and the parties…oh lord, the parties! But mostly, the people. Although my time in O.B. was only for two years, I met some of the finest people in my 54 years on this planet. I love and miss all of them…Patti-Jo, Phil, Gypsy, Richard, Terra, and the list is just too long to type!
I guess this is just me sharing some nostalgia with you. Sort of a walk down memory lane for me.
You know, it’s funny…I’ve been asked over the years, if I ever get homesick, and the always say yes…for Ocean Beach. I felt instantly connected from the very first moments that I stood on Newport Ave., in front of the shoe store, looking west toward the beach…and the bikinis…and my home.
So I’ll close this by saying that with all that life hands us, good and bad, we all have at least one memory that makes us smile every time. For me, that’s the time that I experienced O.B.
As your Governor once said…”I’ll be back.”

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie May 24, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Wayne, thanks so much for visiting us, and please come back soon and often. Know most of the references that you mentioned. Some like Spaceman and Square pan Pizza are gone, some have been altered like the Arizona, and some are just still there, like the Black and the Sunshine Co.

Reply

Avatar Chuck Marlow May 26, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I grew up in OB. My folks owned the Newport Pastry Shoppe across the street from the Strand. Previously, they had the bakery at the corner of Newport and Bacon. I remember the beach before the pier was built. Destroyed a great left ride. Do miss the beach as now I live in Sioux Falls, SD.

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie May 26, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Chuck, welcome back, in a way. I definitely remember that great left before the pier was built. But I don’t remember your folks’ bakery across from the Strand. I do remember one up a block east. At any rate, come back for a visit soon and often. Check out our scanned old original OB Rags and some of the history that surrounded its publication.
peace.

Reply

Avatar Chuck Marlow May 26, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Frank:

If I remember right, the folks closed down the bakery in 1965. Stiff competition from the bakery/coffee shop up the street and Safeway. Remember Ma and Pa Zeke’s? The folks sold the older bakery to them. Must have been in the early 50s. Its good to read about OB. Hey, I even still have an OB sticker on my pickup driving around Sioux Falls…Saw an OB sticker on a vehicle in the Black Hills last summer…Still keep in touch with Doug Tillinghast.

Chuck

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie May 26, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Sure, Chuck, Zeke’s is definitely in my teenage memory bank. A weird place but they sold great chicken out that side window on Bacon. The two young kids working for them turned out to be full-fledged KKK members complete with sheet, and they pranced around Newport a couple of times in full regalia.

I don’t remember your folks’ bakery but I can see why they had heavy competition from up the street, as that is the bakery I remember – wonderful fruit pastry squares! (No, I’m not hungry, just on a dessert fast for 8 weeks.)

The OB sticker does get around. A friend by the name of Michael Steinberg once lived in OB, had moved back east to the Carolinas, and was traveling back to Cali by Grayhound, and as the bus was pulling into the Bay Area in the early morning hours, the first car he sees on the bridge was a VW with an OB sticker.

Reply

Avatar TEK August 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Chuck,

Didn’t you take drama at Mesa from Art and Woody?

Art Noll passed away last year, and a bunch of people turned up,
John Peters, Scott Beverly, Milt Woodruff, of course, lots of
the old cast.

Tom Kopache is one of the few actors to be a Star Trek
regular…bought an old Plymouth from him for $25,
such a deal. Last I heard, Barry Messer was a leader in
the Masons.

I spent every spare evening in 1968-70 at the InBetween.
Got to know Ann Dosher and some of the OB “leading lights.” It was
always fun when someone would stagger in and collapse, and
we’d load them into the ’55 Chevy and cart them to the ER
to get jumper cabled. The Black moved to the InBetween’s
original site. I still can’t imagine being an undergrad without
a place like that…how can people grow souls? (Or barnacles,
anyway?)

The administration of the grants which kept the InBetween running
would fill a book in itself…all the qualified “social scientists” were absent,
doing research in some other country, and they hired some character
with no qualifications at all. Then there was a coup d’etat where some
outside characters tried to take over the board. Dennis Ewald got a
copy of the bylaws and stopped them cold. (I’d have like to see DE
under Roberts’ Rules(!)

I remember The Lost Coin where the Campus Crusade for Christ
set up across the street and toward the ocean from the InBetween.
Bunch of satanists showed up (IN CAPES!) and a weird time was
had by all.

There was always access to coffee in OB. Truly, a civilized place.
And Zeke’s Chicken Liver and Mayo sandwiches.

Sigh.

Reply

Avatar Chuck Marlow January 11, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Holy cow. I just read your reply. I remember Art and Woody. Do you remember Sheelagh Royle? She became a good friend for many years. She sold marijuana brownies at one of the drama dept bake sales, and spiked Woodys coffee with acid..She passed away 5 or six years ago. There were so many great folks in the drama dept then.

Reply

Avatar TEK January 17, 2016 at 9:29 am

Hi, Chuck! Sure I remember Sheelagh. Frank Cipriani said “That girl’s a walking bust!” Evidently she stood up in the caf, brandished a doob, and said “C’mon, Frank, let’s DO one!” She was free and amazing, I’m sorry she’s gone. I didn’t know she turned Woody on. Wow. Judy Mullinex died less than a decade after our theatre seasons…car accident involving a VW Mini-Royal. Fiberglass went into her blood. Doug Smalheer, a Mesa history teacher, came down to the Apolliad and got involved in acting when the campus-wide war protests started, and continued to be involved in theatre all his life. He passed last year, remembered fondly by generations of history students.
I ran into Tom Aycock at the Airport back in the late ’80’s when I worked for PSA. He was some kind of tour guide.
You’re right, were were lucky knowing such a group of people. I really miss them.

Reply

Avatar Margaret Smith September 15, 2011 at 9:51 am

Oh Boy, do I remember Ma and Pa Zekes Chicken. Our mom would send us up there for chicken and Oh how I remember the aroma. It was hard to stay out of it on the way home. Definitely in the 50’s. I have tried many times to duplicate that flavor and have never been successful. What a breath of fresh air this site is. Wonderful to have a connection to the place I was born and raised. Thanks so much for this. It is now on my favorites.
Margaret

Reply

Avatar Robin "Bobby" Smith September 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I remember the NPS well as I was a frequent customer of two cookies on the way home of OB elementary; circa – early 50’s. I can still smell and visualize the bakery and remember the (paper mache?) baker on the wall behind the front counter. I remember the woman (your mom?) that often tended the front counter as being very kind to a young consumer just learning how to use money.

Cheers, Robin

Reply

Avatar Boweenie Blossom August 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Only those of us who were lucky enough to be born and raised in OB know the true spirit of our community. I’m the oldest daughter of Terry “Boweenie” Bowman. The Lockwoods are family to us and on my maternal side I’m proud to be the cousin of David Velasquez (red house) anyone remember him? I miss the smell of Zeke’s, he lived across the street from me on Coronado, (his house smelled just like his resturant) and there was not a single thing you needed that Cornets did not have. I love my town and have seen it go through so many changes, we must not give up on our town and what the hell is that line at hodads all about, and what is more hypocritical than all those new cars in OB peoples food store parking lot. Get with the OB spirit and put those homeless bums to work there for their food..REMEMBER the real OBPeoples if you wanted to buy you had to contribute. Another thing I find so absurd it’s hilairous is the “OB Community Service” facade where the Inbetween used to be.

Reply

Avatar domaserisk August 29, 2010 at 11:34 pm

who was shaking his head back and forth knowingly Grissom shifted his eyes over at Brass,

Reply

Avatar Kathryn Rogers October 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I lived in Pt. Loma/OB from 1958 til 1970 something. It sure is fun hearing of all the stories peeps have of the old home place.
Like to clear up a few things and add a bit of history to the archives.
My parents owned Homer’s Variety store prior to Cornets. It was a true 5 & dime and it’s sign reflected that. Cornets about put us out of business and was one of the first “chain” stores in Ob.
The Methodist church had a really great lay youth teacher who came up with the idea of The Inbetween. If you were looking towards the beach, it was on the right hand side of Newport and was called The Inbetween because it was in between 2 bars. I helped open the place and was in on the painting of the map right inside the door.
Across the street was The Paisley Pelican, the 1st head shop prior to The Black. I remember collecting banana peels, ala Mellow Yellow, there and used to sew clothing for sale in the shop.
I still have pictures of the OB drum company and of Mike Stewart of the OB School House. I used to live in the school house with Mad Madeline, Mike’s mother and Mike who had the attic all to himself.
We had a huge candy section in Homer’s and we would fill up a sack and check out movies at The Strand. We were a rowdy bunch and would take cap guns to the Western’s being shown and follow right along with the movie. I remember being at the Strand one night and there was a war protest with peeps setting trash cans on fire in the middle of the street and then marching down one isle and up the other with war posters and chanting “No more war!”.
There was an OB 9 (or 11, can’t remember all that much!” that went to jail for printing a “How to Make a Moltov Cocktail” in a local rag… was that you? and getting a lot of publicity and trouble from it.
I used to hang with the local bikers, The Family, and went by Gypsy aka Kay. It would be fun to see if anyone remembers me.
Lot’s of fun in OB and I was right there in the heyday. Wouldn’t have traded those times for the world!

Reply

Avatar Chuck Mattsen November 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Loved hearing the mention of Homer’s. I lived in Ocean Beach in the early through mid ’60s and spent a lot of time in Homer’s. My mom and dad owned a restaurant just a few doors up on Newport, Audrey’s. As for the Strand, I remember getting in on weekends for 6 RC Cola Bottle Caps. I remember seeing many old sci-fi and horror flicks there (and the “Honeycomb” song that never stopped playing before the movies would start.

Miss OB a great deal (especially now that I’m living in NW MN, not far from Fargo, ND and the Canadian border).

Reply

Avatar Kathryn Rogers October 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm

To add to my very long post above…
I really have had a good laugh at some of the things that are being complained about “now” and fer sher were complained about back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The Wall at the bottom of Newport was torn down because of complaints that the hippies used to congregate there. They tore it down then and now there are complaints because of the very same issues now? Ahem…. some people never learn.
Also, there were a lot of complaints in the 60’s about panhandlers (and I of course had been guilty of that myself). 2010 redux! LMAO
Same as it ever was.

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie October 19, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Kathryn – welcome back! You’ve added some great history. Go check out our recent posts on the Strand Theater. And you’re absolutely right, some things don’t change, just people’s perceptions. Come back again and often!.

Reply

Avatar Chris Anderson January 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

Frank,
You may not remember me, but I remember you (Boy Scouts and camping). I was a few years younger that you. Berdines Stationary in OB and that tiny stamp & coin shop.
Those were good times in O.B. in the 60’s

Reply

Avatar Sam May 16, 2012 at 5:57 am

As a sailor fresh out of boot camp in 1970, my head was more into the community than the Navy. It was tough trying to gain acceptance on the beach so my friends and I bought wigs and spent as much time at OB and PB as the Navy allowed. After our service schools were finished we got orders to our ships and set sail to explore the world. It was a glorious year and part of who I am today is because of my experiences in the San Diego area, primarily OB and PB. Thanks to my brothers and sisters of the beach community for accepting sailors who were not part of the military machine of that time when nobody understood the difference between the troops and government politics.

Reply

Avatar steve zerbe January 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Grew up in OB, Cape May, Narraganset,and Cable street. Remember Zeke’s, and then the antique store and the square-pan pizza place.. found a postcard of the old Zeke’s place here – http://www.usgwarchives.net/ca/sandiego/postcards/zekes.jpg

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie January 13, 2013 at 10:00 am

Wow! Thanks Steve – great photo! Sure I remember Zekes, and their side take-out window. One of the kids that used to work there loved to don his white sheet once in a while and parade around like he was a real Klanner.

Reply

Avatar rick lambert July 6, 2014 at 4:49 pm

i definately remember ZEKE GREEN. i never saw his place in ocean beach , but he told me all about it…….in 1981-83 , i and some friends had a sort of deli in the sports arena area, next to a health food store and the [still there] baskin robbins ice cream shop. it was called ,mexicater, rich and famous foods. Zeke would frequent our place and he showed me how to, CUT UP A CHICKEN, and he shared his fricassee chicken recipe with me. he was a great guy and i always enjoyed his visits. guess he is gone by now. does anyone remember his last name?

Reply

Avatar Alan de Chezet February 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

I have been living in Canada (Beautiful British Columbia for the last 20 years), since my dad moved us all from Point Loma in ’74. We lived at the top of Hill St., with me at Sunset View Elementary, but my older sister at Sacred Heart, where my mom, Dimitry, was a part-time secretary. We used to shop on Newport, and I remember Cornet (styrofoam “surfboards,” etc.) and Homer’s, as well as the hardware store, perhaps adjacent Homer’s, where I think there was a old 10-cent coke machine. We had friends that ran a “health food store” (do people even say that anymore?), the Girardis. My grandmother used to take me to The Little Chef for Milkshakes, and I recall Hodad’s on the beach. My mom and dad reliably packed us into the “square back” VW, a ’72, sometimes with a few other kids from Moana Drive (no seat belts for us and the Lacey and Pugh kids; we sat on the rubber mat floor), and we would spend the day at Ocean Beach, learning to bodysurf or thrashing around in a dingy in the waves. My sister’s pal was Maria Kaufmann (spelling?), who lived adjacent Sacred Heart. Her brother was Carlos, a nice kid. I think another of her pals was Ellen Christiana. My sister used to come home with stories of a kid named Brian Piggot, and Father Gomez, Father Sprou, and all the Sisters. She and my mother loved that school. I recall seeing “It’s a Mad, Mad, … World” at The Strand, and as a younger kid walking with my mother among the tide pools. I could not have asked for a better childhood.

Reply

Avatar Theoni (TEK) April 29, 2018 at 9:03 am

I remember that health food store with their smoothies and fruitsalads. Vic Gerardi was a student at Mr. Jong Lee’s Tang Soo Do school. I think he took his black belt test the same year I did, 1973, don’t think he stuck with it. I do know he got a religious calling and joined the Marshal’s force to work in the San Diego Jail.

Reply

Avatar Barbara Jeanne Urso May 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm

In 1963 thru 1967 myself & friends frequented a Bar to dance on Bacon St. in Ocean Beach. It just had a large dance floor & Juke Box, no live music. I can’t remember the name of the place but it is now known as Winston’s Beach Club. I’ve asked many people in Ocean Beach, but no one seems to know the name. I think the Arizona was next door to it.

Reply

Avatar Theoni (TEK) April 29, 2018 at 9:01 am

Was that bar the Calypso? I only heard of it once, when I was at Hoover. Thought it was close to the water….

Reply

Avatar Robin Burrell December 24, 2017 at 5:22 pm

I lived in OB from 60 to 69. Worked for Zeke and Gladys for 2 years. Wow, I remember al lot of the names of the people you are talking about.i do remember the excitement of the pier opening and the new Denny’s that is now gone. And the infamous OB riots in 67?. I was there for all the fun. I live in New England now but one in a while I do venture back

Reply

Avatar Theoni (TEK) April 29, 2018 at 9:10 am

OB Denny’s was a launching pad into the world of military intelligence:). Well, for a few of us, anyway. Perry was a couple years older, came to Mesa from a tour in Turkey snooping on radios, Brian Bennett joined up when his dad busted him for LSD, and like Perry, got out for acting oddly. I joined 1975 after college when I was laid off at Wavetek, went to Korea. We all went to Defence Language Institute in Monterey. I was the only one who completed my tour…I rather enjoyed it, actually. None of the others did, I guess. Even Dave Glass, who ended up in the USMC left early. But thinking about hanging around the InBetween (the later InBetween, gratias, on the left side) was a way to ignore the cold when it was cold.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }