Beach December 2016


December 8, 2016

Volume 47, Issue 18



Christmas cocktails | Birdwell shorts | Family games | Beach Gift Guide

December 8, 2016

Volume 47, Issue 18


310.539.6685 310.884.1870


Robert Woodie selfie in the

High Sierras, next to a tribute

to his father.










310.530.4888 310.534.0220


18 Searching for Pops by Robert Woodie

Sons and their friends look for their outdoorsman dad who went missing

in the Sierra Nevada High Country.

32 A game family by Richard Foss

Two generations of the Keifer family collaborate on timeless board games.

40 Holiday cocktails by Richard Foss

Rock N’ Fish bartender Leo Villalobos, Zane’s Elisa Koss and Kathy Doel

and Hey 19’s owner Demi Stevens share their secrets for warming up a

holiday party.

44 Protecting a legacy by Eddie Solt

Manhattan Beach buyers of the legendary Birdwell boardshorts promise

to honor the company’s motto -- “Quality is our gimmick.”



New Smiles Dentistry

Stephen P. Tassone, DDS


48 Beach Volleyball honors by Randy Angel

Olympian Dain Blanton and Coach “Feather” are among the beach

volleyball 2016 Hall of Fame inductees.




50 Flag of defiance by Ryan McDonald

A son finds a home for his father’s provocative World War II momento, a

Nazi flag signed by the soldiers who capture it.


310.326.8530 310.530.3268





310.325.2960 310.891.2237





Northwest Corner of

Crenshaw Blvd. & Pacific Coast Hwy. in Torrance

~ For Information, Call 310.534.0411


8 Calendar

12 MB Small Business Saturday


PUBLISHER Kevin Cody, ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Richard Budman, EDITORS Mark McDermott, Randy Angel, David Mendez,


Ray Vidal and Brad Jacobson, CALENDAR Judy Rae, DISPLAY SALES Adrienne Slaughter, Tamar Gillotti, Amy Berg, and Shelley



EASY READER (ISSN 0194-6412) is published weekly by EASY READER, 2200 Pacific Cst. Hwy., #101, P.O. Box 427, Hermosa

Beach, CA 90254-0427. Yearly domestic mail subscription $50.00; foreign, $75.00 payable in advance. POSTMASTER: Send

address changes to EASY READER, P.O. Box 427, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. The entire contents of the EASY READER newspaper

is Copyright 2016 by EASY READER, Inc. The Easy Reader/Redondo Beach Hometown News

is a legally adjudicated newspaper and the official newspaper for the city of Hermosa Beach. Easy Reader / Redondo Beach

Hometown News is also distributed to homes and on newsstands in Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Torrance, and Palos Verdes.


16 Beach Thanksgiving dinners

30 Hermosa Woman’s pancake breakfast

36 Beach Gift Guide

n Mailing Address P.O. Box 427, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 Phone (310) 372-4611 Fax (424) 212-6780

n Website Email

n Classified Advertising see the Classified Ad Section. Phone 310.372.4611 x102. Email

n Fictitious Name Statements (DBA's) can be filed at the office during regular business hours. Phone 310.372.4611 x101.

6 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016



Until they sell out

Fresh holiday trees

The Hermosa Beach Kiwanis Club

mans the lot at the corner of Pier and

Pacific Coast Hwy., Premium trees,

garlands, wreaths and mistletoe. Benefits

the many local charities the club

sponsors. Monday through Friday, 10

a.m. to 9 p.m. Weekends 9 a.m. to 9

p.m. but only until they sell out.

Through December 15

Santa tours

Manhattan Beach

Santa tours through Manhattan

Beach, stopping on each block for photos

and to listen to children’s wishes.

Mondays through Fridays. Santa will

visit a different neighborhood each

evening, beginning at 4:45 p.m. Visits

with Santa are free, thanks to support

from Manhattan Kiwanis, Kinecta Federal,

the Manhattan Beach Police Department

and Volunteer Police

Auxiliary. To see Santa’s route, visit

Or follow Santa in real time by visiting santatracker/

Weekdays, through

December 16

Santa tours

Redondo Beach

Redondo Beach police and fire will

escort Santa through Redondo Beach

each weekday evening, through Monday

December 16, stopping on each

block to listen to children’s holiday


For Santa’s route and date information

see below, or visit

Through December 24

Santa’s Surf Hut,

Manhattan Village

Santa listens to children’s wishes

and poses for family photos at Santa’s

Surf Hut, inside the center, from 11

a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays

(break times 1 to 2 and 5 to 6

p.m.) and on Sundays from 11a.m. to

6 p.m (break times 2 to 3 p.m.). Storytime

with Santa is Saturday, December

3 from 9 to 10 a.m. Santa Pet Night is

Thursday, December 6 from 3 to 8

p.m. The Hanukkah Festival is

Wednesday, December 28 from 4 to 6


Santa at Del Amo

Fashion Center

Santa will listen to children’s wishes

and pose for family photos through December

24. Mondays through Fridays

10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to

8 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Hawthorne Boulevard at Del Amo Avenue.

Santa at SB Galleria

Santa listens to children’s wishes

and poses for family photos through

December 24. 1815 Hawthorne Blvd,

Redondo Beach. Free. For more information

call (310) 371-7546 or visit

Through January 8

LA Kings Holiday Ice Rink

The LA Kings Holiday Ice Rink in

King Harbor will be open from 5 to

10:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays

and from 4 to 10:30 p.m. Saturdays

and Sundays through December 18.

Beginning December 19 and continuing

through January 8 the hours will be

Monday through Sunday 4 p.m. to

10:30 p.m. For more information visit

Thursday, December 8

Christmas Walkabout

Bring the family for an evening of

holiday festivities, including balloon

art, face painting, popcorn, cotton

candy, live music and raffle prizes.

Santa will be flying in from the North

Pole and landing at the “Miracle on

34th Street” to visit with kids from 6 -

8 p.m. Businesses will remain open

late along Highland Avenue between

32nd Street and 42nd Street. For more

information visit

Gal skater

The Hermosa Beach Historical Society

Happy Hour presents Skateboarding

Hall of Famer Cindy Whitehead.

The Hermosa Beach native conquered

the male-dominated profession of pro

vert skateboarding in the ‘70s, and

quickly became one of the top ranked

professional female vert skateboarders

in the U.S. Free for HBHS Members,

non-members $10. RSVP to,

or leave a message at: (310) 318-9421.

More details at

Friday, Saturday

December 9,10

Choirs of angels

The St. Lawrence Martyrs Choir is

joined by the Holy Trinity Choir in performing

“Before the Marvel of this

Night.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at St

Lawrence, 1909 Prospect Ave., Redondo

Beach and at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10

at Holy Trinity, 1292 W. Santa Cruz St.,

San Pedro. $10, $5 for children 13 and

under. For more information contact

Awards for the most unusual, most traditional, funniest, best dressed and

crowd favorite will be presented at Hermosa Beach’s Annual Sand Snowman

contest on Saturday, December 10, north of the pier. Registration is at

8:45 a.m.and judging at 11:15 a.m. For more information visit (310) 318-


Saturday, December 10

Sand Snowman contest

Awards for the most unusual, most

traditional, best dressed, funniest and

crowd favorite. Registration at 8:45.

Judging at 11:15. North side of the Hermosa

Beach pier. For more information

visit (310) 318-0280.

Redondo Pier Santa visit

and holiday concert

Visit with Santa on the Redondo Pier

while enjoying the annual Holiday Concert.

2 to 4 p.m., presented by the Redondo

Pier Association. Bring an

unwrapped present for the toy drive to

win prizes. Free holiday parking at the

pier. For more info visit For more information


King Harbor Boat and

Paddle Parade

King Harbor Yacht Club hosts its annual

Holiday Parade, with over 30 boats

and nearly 100 outrigger canoes, kayaks

and stand-up paddleboards. This year’s

theme is “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Paddlers begin at 4:30, followed by

boats at 5:30 p.m. Parade may be

viewed from free bleachers at King

Harbor Marina/Moonstone Park (first

come/first served), the Sportfishing

Pier, Portofino Hotel and Lobby and

surrounding seawalls and the Seaside

Lagoon seawall. For more information


Saturday, Sunday

December 10, 11

Alpine Faire

Celebrate the holidays! Alpine Village’s

Christmas Faire is an indoor-outdoor

market with festive events for the

whole family with a distinct German

feel. Enjoy housemade Gluhwein at the

Restaurant, hard-to-find European

treats and gift items. Entry to Faire is

free and includes live music, faux nowfall

and meet the snow queens. Santa

photos, face painting and train ride

(Sunday only), $2 each. 4-8 p.m. 833 W

Torrance Blvd. Torrance. 310-327-4384.

Sunday, December 11

Manhattan Beach Holiday


The Travel Channel called this the

best holiday fireworks show in the nation.

The fireworks begin at 7 p.m., rain

or shine, at the Manhattan Beach pier.

Festivities begin at 4 p.m. with the

opening of the the Skechers Snow Park

and music by the Hyperion Outfall Serenaders

“Dixieland Christmas,” followed

by Mira Costa Jazz Ensemble and

Joe’s Band’s popular holiday sing-along.

For more information visit MB-

Los Cancioneros Master


Traditional holiday songs, including

sing-alongs, and Kevin Memley’s new

“Gloria” and “Magnificat,” with piano,

brass and percussion. $25. For tickets

call (310) 779-3072 or (310) 781-7171.

Armstrong Theatre, 3330 Civic Center

Dr., Torrance. For more information

call LC

Gene Krupa

“A Big Band Christmas,” featuring the

14-piece, Gene Krupa Tribute Orchestra

performs such classics as “Have Yourself

a Merry Little Christmas,” “Sleigh

Ride,” and “Let it Snow.” 2 to 4 p.m.

Norris Theatre, 27570 Norris Center

Drive, Rolling Hills Estates. For ticket

information call (310) 544-0403 or visit

palosverdesperformingarts. com.

Calendar cont. on page 42

8 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016





Over 60 Years of the

Largest Finest Seafood

Selection on the West Coast

Live Crab, Lobster, Shellfish, Urchin - Fresh Fish - Poké- Lobster Bisque

Smoked Fish - Clam Chowder - Oyster Bar with over 20 Varieties - Craft Beer on Tap

Steamed - Grilled - Fried

Fresh Lobster for your Holiday Dinners!






100-130 International Boardwalk Redondo Beach (310) 374-2382

10 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

each business


Showcases small businesses


mall Business Saturday in Downtown Manhattan

Beach over Thanksgiving weekend was intended to

showcase to residents the holiday shopping opportunities

offered by local retailers. It also presented an opportunity

to impress on council members the importance

of protecting those retailers from economic forces beyond

their control. Small Business Saturday was particularly

significant to Old Venice owner Julie Hantzarides, who

opened the restaurant with her husband Jimmy in 1984.

Saturday was the 10th anniversary of the 2006 fire that

destroyed Old Venice and neighboring businesses on the

1000 block of Manhattan Avenue. In 2008, while work

to rebuild the restaurant was underway Jimmy died in a

bike accident. Despite the tragedy, Julie reopened the

restaurant the following year, “exactly as Jimmy planned

it,” Julie told the council members during Saturday’s tour.



1. Downtown Business

Association executive director

Kelly Stroman,

Manhattan Economic Vitality

Manager Andrew

Sywak, Look Optometry’s

Lester Silverman, Sunlife

Organics Andy Sywak,

and council members

Mark Burton and Wayne


2. LuLu Novelle’s Mirian

Kawagoe and Sally

Poppe with councilmembers

Mark Burton

and Wayne Powell.

3. Gum Tree’s Lori Ford

startles council members

Wayne Powell and

Mark Burton with photos

of the lines of kids waiting

to see Santa at her

Hermosa Beach store.

4. Spyder Surf’s Ashley

Sitzman and Charlie Mc-


5. Paix Schreiner, 3,

with grandparents Chuck

and Ro and Bo Bridges

Gallery’s Jessica


6. Barney Saltzberg, author

of “Would you

rather be a princess or a

dragon” with Pages

Bookstore’s Margo Ferris

and Patty Gibson.

7. Signs of the holidays

at Tabula Rasa.

8. Tabula Rasa owner

Maureen McBride and

manager Emily O’Brien

with Economic Vitality

Manager Andrew

Sywak and councilman

Wayne Powell.

9. Newly opened York

Town manager Julie

Amos with Marc

Gravetz, the store’s first


10. Old Venice’s owner

Julie Hantzarides with

daughter Natalie.

11. Andrew Sywak expresses

approval of Anchor

Brewing’s Christmas


12. Birdwell Britches

manager Bree Valbuena.

13. Nikau Kai owner

Jason Shanks and

manager Rob Dubois.

3 4 5







12 13

12 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 13

each service


free Thanksgiving dinners


ver 40 cooked turkeys and even more pies were delivered

to the Hermosa Beach Kiwanis and Rotary

halls Thanksgiving morning. The donated fixings

was just enough to serve the more than 400 guests who attended

the 34th Annual Mama Liz Thanksgiving Dinner.

This year’s dinner was dedicated to Ted Nguyen, who

volunteered in the kitchen for many years, until his passing

last year.

An even greater number of people enjoyed a free Thanksgiving

Dinner at the Hermosa Beach pier. That dinner was

founded 47 years ago by Nikie Tedesco, who turns 91 in

December. The dinner is now run by Dan Hubbard and

Breakwater Foursquare Church in Redondo Beach.

Since Mama Liz’s passing, Cheer for Children’s Donna

Dawick has organized the volunteers and rounded up

cooked turkeys from her fellow Berkshire Hathaway Realtors.

Sandpipers donates the pies. Ocean Diner’s Rick Hankus

donates his one day off a year to run the kitchen. Real

Estate West Realtor Jonathan Coleman, of the band Abracadabra,

organizes the local musicians who perform

throughout the day. Dennis “Balloonman” Forel entertains

the kids and Sandy and Michael Maydor decorate the Kiwanis

Hall with brightly colored, helium balloons. Manhattan

Bread and Bagel donates rolls and bagels. Hermosa

Kiwanis make their hall available for the diners and the

neighboring Hermosa Rotary Club donates its kitchen for

turkey prep.




3 4

1. Longtime Mama Liz Thanksgiving Dinner volunteer

Paul Shortridge and dinner director Donna Dawick.

1. The carving crew Doug Nielsen, Mark Hamilton

and Jess Aispuro.

3. Donna Dawick welcomes volunteers.

4. Musicians Bob White and Joe Cipolla with his wife,


5. Local musicians performed throughout the day.

6. Over 400 dinners were served at the Kiwanis Hall.



7. Jessica and Jenny Pusateri.

8. Stan Dubyn and Rick Hankus.

9. Tom and Henry Bakaly.

10. Brian, Mary, Margaret and Sydney West.

11. Gavin Bauman, Hermosa Beach Pack 860.

12. Nikie Tedesco, 91, founded the Hermosa Pier

Thanksgiving dinner 47 years ago.

13. Dan Hubbard and the Breakwater Foursquare

Church in Redondo Beach assist Nikie in serving

Thanksgiving dinner at the Hermosa Pier.





11 12


16 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

Rescue searchers at Thunderbolt Pass. Barrett Lakes to the left, Dusy Basin to the right.

Bob Woodie went missing in the Sierra Nevada high country in October.

by Robert Woodie

When Manhattan Beach resident Bob Woodie did not return from a hiking

and fishing trip October 16, 2016, the National Park Service launched a massive

search and rescue operation. Bob’s two sons, Robert and Tim, were among the

initial responders who participated in the search. The weather was perfect for

six days as 120 rescue searchers, 5 helicopters, and 6 scent-dog teams combed

the Eastern Sierra backcountry. By the end of the day Sunday, October 23, the

search was suspended due to bad weather. No evidence of Bob was found. Here,

Bob’s oldest son gives his account of those six days.

Day 1: Monday night/Tuesday

Istarted calling my 74-year young father “Pops” about 15 years ago because

it fit the athletic father of three and grandfather of five. He is a

kind man, a great dad, an engaged grandfather, a doting husband and a

lover of the High Sierra backcountry. He loved taking his family on backpacking

trips, but if no one was able to go with him he wouldn’t hesitate to

go alone as he did last week.

Pops was supposed to have made contact late Sunday night after three

full days in the wilderness near Bishop, California. His wife Joanne expected

him in the wee hours of the night, knowing he would fish that Sunday

morning then make the eight hour hike out, arriving at the trailhead

well after dark. However, my brother Tim and I are under the impression

he isn’t coming out until Monday so I am not too alarmed by his absence

at noon today, Monday. When I glance at the map of Pops’ Spot GPS beacon

from Saturday night, Big Pine Campground looks like the closest road to

his camp at Barrett Lakes. We call the ranger but they report his car is not

to be found. I am growing concerned when Tim calls and reports that the

Bishop Ranger Station further north recorded that Pops paid for a backcountry

permit leaving the South Lake trailhead early Friday and returning

late Sunday.

This news floors me because I realize we just checked the wrong trailhead

for his car. I immediately call Joanne’s contact at the Bishop Sheriff Search

and Rescue department and request they check the South Lake trailhead

for his car. It’s now late Monday afternoon and if his car is there it means

he is still in the backcountry and in trouble. That would make him more

than 24 hours late regardless of any miscommunication within the family.

It is early evening now and the Sheriff’s Department promises to do so.

Their resources are tight and it’s not until 10 p.m. Monday we get the sobering

news that his car is still parked at the trailhead.

Pops is still in the backcountry and is clearly in distress.

My brothers and I grew up backpacking with my Pops, starting at age 10.

We would often be out for more than a week, hiking all day sometimes but

always fishing at least an hour a day. As a kid I remember that hiking with

a 30-pound pack was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. Often, at

the end of a trip, I vowed to never go on another. But strangely, the supreme

effort, the stark landscapes, and the time spent with family would germinate

within us and come the following summer my brothers and I would

be excited about the next trip.

I let the Sheriff’s Department liaison know that Pops is missing and that

I’ll be heading up there shortly and arrive first thing in the morning. My

brother and I will have about an hour preparation and about two hours

sleep each before making separate six hour drives to Bishop, he from Orange

County and me from Los Angeles. We arrive by 8:30 a.m. and meet

with the folks of the Inyo County Sheriffs’ Search And Rescue (SAR) division.

It is a small but impressive outfit and Investigator Derr has been very

responsive throughout the afternoon of the previous day until our arrival.

He tells us that we cannot be a formal part of the effort but that there is

nothing they can do to prevent us from going up and searching as well. He

does let us borrow SAR radios that will enable us to stay in contact with

the searchers that will begin to descend upon Pops’ possible backcountry

routes over the next few days. We pour over the topographical map and

quickly determine that after crossing Bishop Pass there are only two likely

routes Pops may have taken. Knowing Pops’ backcountry habits the best, I

debate with the team over his most likely route but it’s a difficult call. Both

routes will likely need to be checked thoroughly.

A three-person volunteer team arrives decked out in bright orange jackets

and is ready to go up with us. The search and rescue arm of the Sheriff’s

office is nice enough to buy us sandwiches that we’ll take up with us. However,

we will later rue the plastic packaging as bulky and difficult to carry

18 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

His sons, who’d grown up backpacking with their father, once again followed him into the mountains.

around for the three nights out we have prepared for.

We arrive at the parking lot around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning and our

hearts sink to see Pops’ car still parked there. The seriousness of the situation

sinks in further. Tim finds dad’s keys in his usual hiding place, the recess

of the back bumper, and we rummage through his car. We find items

that are consistent with his plan to sleep at the trailhead Thursday night,

then hike into the backcountry before dawn Friday morning. Fortunately,

I brought my foul-weather bag of clothing and let Tim borrow some long

underwear, gloves, socks, and a watch. The trips Tim and I grew up making

in the backcountry were always during the height of summer. It’s now late

October and it is clear Tim’s gear hasn’t kept up with the demands of

“shoulder” season camping at high elevations.

There are certain factors that minimize your chances of being found if

you run into trouble in the backcountry. My dad picked a route that travels

at a very high elevation, over 10,000 feet. At this elevation temperatures

are more extreme and the brain, starved for oxygen, doesn’t function as

well. In addition, it’s mid-October and, while a great time for fishing, this

puts Pops in a shoulder season when temperatures and weather can be summer-like

one day and winter-like the next. And perhaps the most difficult

element for the upcoming search is that Pops’ route takes him about 6 miles

from the nearest trail. For a search and rescue effort, this will effectively

create a needle-in-a-haystack challenge. And Pops compounded all these

factors by going alone. If he has injured himself there is no one on the spot

to help or to get help.

Tim and I start up the trail and immediately begin to feel the high elevation.

South Lake is well above 10,000 feet and both of us have just come

from sea level eight hours ago and are working on just two hours of sleep.

We both obsess about hydration but the 6 miles from the trailhead up to

Bishop Pass is some of the most difficult hiking I’ve done. I stay in good

shape but this change in elevation negates it. With heads pounding, what

should be an easy hike becomes three hours of misery.

About an hour before reaching Bishop Pass, Tim spots a tent exactly like

Pops’ about 50 yards off the trail. We notice the bear canister set well away

from the tent just the way Pops would have done. We both rush off the trail.

This set up with his tent in plain view right off trail so close to the trailhead

doesn’t make sense but we’re sure we are about to find Pops. Looking inside

the tent, the first thing I see is a blue backpack the same color as dad’s and

my heart jumps. However, on closer inspection, I realize the pack is much

too fancy to be Pops’. There are also flip-flops in the tent and a bottle of

whiskey that Pops would never be drinking whether in the backcountry or


My Pops led a simple life and growing up neither he nor my mom drank

or smoked. In the ‘70s this was very unusual and I remember returning

from friends’ houses and feeling lucky that I could breathe smoke-free air

at home. In fact, I have never heard my father use profanity or drink more

than a glass of wine. Pops and I ruminate often about how his greatest vice

is sweets, one I have inherited from him and we indulge together often.

At the pass we meet the three SAR volunteers who set out just ahead of

us from the trailhead. They haven’t found any clues or information of any

use. Our conversation is a short one but one still full of hope. It’s still less

than 48 hours since Pops has gone missing. The weather up here is beautiful

and the sun is shining but now at an elevation of 11,900, we’re all dressed

in insulating clothing.

We find a campsite about a mile down the trail into Dusy Basin. Tim and

I are both exhausted with headaches that haven’t abated so the opportunity

to make camp before dark is a welcome one. Our first night we eat a freezedried

dinner and bed down so exhausted we are certain sleep will be easy.

Day 2: Wednesday

The night’s rest for Tim and I was a fitful one. Despite the exhaustion

from the lack of sleep Monday night and the torturous 7-mile hike, the pressure

change on our bodies from ascending so fast makes deep sleep impossible.

On top of this, the temperature during the night is bitter cold. I

brought my sleeping bag rated for 25 degrees and I still need to wear every

piece of clothing I brought to stay warm. Tim and I try not to focus on what

Pops cont. on page 20

December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 19

Pops hiking the Grand Canyon, April 2015.

Pops cont. from page 19

Pops might be going through if he’s

in a situation of bearing that kind

of cold without proper shelter and

insulation. In his later years, Pops

has a history of forgetting key

items like sleeping pads and long

underwear. I pray this is not one of

those times.

We heard from the volunteer

team yesterday that a helicopter on

the west side of Knapsack Pass

spotted tracks, a route Pops might

have taken. Tim and I decide we

will spend the day hiking to the

pass and back, and on the way also

check footprints reported near a

lake not far from us.

It’s good to be in the backcountry

with my brother again. In the

last ten years the demands of work

and parenting have made backpacking

opportunities fewer and

farther between. Like Pops, if Tim

is in pain he won’t show it much

on the trail. He also has a pace that

syncs nicely with mine. As I think

back on those trips together growing

up, I am somewhat surprised

to remember that we used to hike

off-trail as much as on. We were always

searching for lakes that

promised great fishing and theoretically

the harder it is to get to the

lake, the bigger and more plentiful

the fish are.

In the past decade I have done

most of the trip planning for the

backpacking trips Pops and I have

taken, and that hiking has been al-

most exclusively on trail. As I hike

with Tim today, I will remember

the satisfaction of being able to see

a point in the distance and create

my own “trail” towards it by scanning

the easiest route immediately

in front of me. This necessitates

constantly lifting your head to

check your progress. The going is

much slower than being on a trail.

However, a benefit of always lifting

your head is that you are constantly

reminded how beautiful

your surroundings are. On trail, it

is easy to be focused on the trail

and making good time and not

bother to look up and appreciate

the reason you are there.

The going is hard work but surprisingly

takes us less time than

one would guess when first looking

up at the pass. About 40 minutes

from Knapsack, Tim and I

need to store our hiking poles in

our packs because the going is so

difficult. There are many times we

have to use both hands to hoist

ourselves up or down and poles

just get in the way. I doubt that dad

would come this way with a full

pack because it would be too bothersome

to have to stop, take off

your 35-pound pack, store your

poles, and then climb on in such a


At the pass, we are able to make

radio contact with a team who was

dropped by helicopter earlier that

morning in the opposing basin

near the GPS coordinates of Pops’

campsite on Barrett Lakes. They

20 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

inform us that none of Pops’ gear is

to be found at his campsite. This is

important and comforting information.

My biggest fear up to this

point has been that he might’ve

fallen while fishing. If so, Pops

would have been separated from

his gear and it would be very unlikely

he could survive one night in

these freezing temperatures. My

own readings combined with what

I hear from searchers suggest temperatures

at night are reaching 15


We can now safely assume that

Pops was done fishing, had packed

up his camp, and was on his way

back to his car when he disappeared.

It will mean that the search

can focus on the most likely route

back to the South Lake trailhead. As

the search drags on it will also bring

comfort to know that Pops had been

able to catch his share of big fish

and drink in his fill of this grand

landscape before disappearing.

Pops is an interesting study of obsession

in the backcountry when it

comes to fishing. He takes pride in

waking before dawn so he can

make his coffee and be fishing by

first light. Instead of relaxing or

even napping in camp after a hard

hike he will choose to fish and he

will often fish until dark. Interestingly,

our fish counts always seem

to be about the same despite all the

extra time he puts in. But for him

it’s never about the numbers; he

draws spirituality from the endeavor.

Tim and I make it back to camp

that night utterly exhausted. The

combination of two nights of poor

sleep, the elevation, the cold, and

another day of fruitless searching

has left us both with little energy.

Tim goes off with the radio and

when he comes back he tells me he

has had a good cry. I have purposely

not allowed myself to focus

on my swelling emotions while

there is still a chance we can find

Pops alive. I am determined to save

all my energy for the physical challenges


Just after dinner, two searchers

walk up to our camp. There are

now three separate two-person

search teams in the Dusy Basin

where we are camped and we talk

for a while. This is our first face-toface

encounter with employed (vs.

volunteer) searchers and we chat

about Pops and make sure that we

thank them for their help.

Day 3: Thursday

We wake up from a real sleep at

last and it feels like we may finally

have worked through the altitude

sickness. But it’s still bitter cold.

Tim and I decide to make our way

back to Bishop Pass so we can set

up a base camp and search the alternate

route Pops might have taken

via Thunderbolt Pass. After the previous

day’s trek to Knapsack Pass

where we had to do a lot of boulder

hugging, I’m positive now Pops

would not have taken that route if

he could help it. This is his fourth

year in a row hiking into Barrett

Lakes and by now he would have

figured out the fastest, easiest, and

prettiest route. On our way, we

check in with the local searchers on

our radios and learn that coincidently

a helicopter is on its way to

Bishop Pass and they want to take

us down to Bishop. We ask why

and they say they need our help in

identifying more of Pops’ clothing

and backcountry habits. It sounds

plausible but I’m a little bit suspicious.

Perhaps they want us out of

the way of the professional

searchers even though they’ve told

us we are within our rights to be up


The helicopter lands and I grill

the pilot but she convinces me that

Pops cont. on page 22

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Pops cont. from page 21

Fishing and hiking with bison in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone, June 2016.

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they truly do need more information

on what Pops might be wearing.

They also need access to his

car for scent articles so they can

deploy dog teams shortly. We are

given suits to wear and high-tech

helmets so we can communicate

during the ride. Our backpacks are

put in a cage attached to the outside

of the helicopter and we begin

what is only the second helicopter

ride of my life.

The pilot is a very nice woman

whose friendly voice I recognize

from the radio over the last couple

days. The ride from Bishop Pass

back into the town of Bishop via

helicopter takes no more than 10

minutes but it’s one of prettiest experiences

of my life. We fly down

the South Lake Valley and a dozen

lakes you can’t see from the trail

parade by in rapid succession. I

think of how Pops would love to be

in the seat between Tim and I sharing

this experience. He has spent

so much time exploring this valley

and the backcountry it accesses

that he would be fascinated by the

view of it from the air.

We finally angle out of South

Lake Valley by hugging a rocky

ridgeline and 30 seconds later the

grand landscape of the Owens

River Valley comes into view. Sitting

right in the middle is a little

postage stamp of development that

rapidly grows bigger and turns into

the town of Bishop, California.

We land and are met by Jessica,

a nice representative from Sequoia

National Park who is coordinating

the search efforts with the Inyo

County side. She seems very relaxed

and suggests we have a bite

to eat at the airport restaurant because

it’ll take a little while before

they can arrange a conference call

with the search leaders of the Park

Service. We are ordering some food

when our buddies Steve and

Danny show up. They are Tim’s

and my lifelong friends and they

grew up knowing our Pops well.

After hearing the news they took

the initiative to make the drive up

and help search for Pops. They

were getting their backcountry permits

when they met Jessica, who

invited them to join us.

We are drinking sodas, chatting

with them, and waiting for food

when I am overwhelmed by the

absurdity of relaxing and enjoying

a hot lunch while Pops could still

be alive. I make it known to Jessica

and we leave an order of Pad Thai

22 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016





at the restaurant while we hurry

over to the search and rescue office

where it takes the longest fifteen

minutes of my life to organize the

conference call.

For 30 minutes they ask us questions

about Pops’ attire and his

habits in the backcountry. Everything

from what his camping gear

looks like to questions about

whether he would be climbing

peaks for the fun of it. In the middle

of a conversation I get the powersthat-be

on the other end of the line

to promise that at the end of the call

they will helicopter me and one

other person back to Bishop Pass.

They promise, but I will regret trusting

their word and not getting

names to hold accountable.

We decide that Tim will stay behind

and help with the search from

the ground and that our buddy

Danny will go up the mountain with

me to continue the search in the

high country. We are tending to miscellaneous

preparations when Jessica

informs me that her bosses

decided not to helicopter us back up

to the pass. She will be happy to escort

us back to the trailhead where

we’re welcome to hike back up. I’m

not in a mindset to argue which I

will regret later when I can’t sleep.

Jessica, Tim, Dan, Steve and I head

up in two different cars to the trailhead

for a second time at South

Lake. The entire drive up Jessica

tries to talk me out of hiking back


The drive from Bishop up to the

South Lake campground takes about

20 minutes and has a magical quality

to it. I remember making this

drive many times as a kid. Typically

after breakfast in Bishop, we would

pile back into the car for the quick

trip that set the stage for the hard

hiking and otherworldly experience

that is the Eastern Sierra high country.

The drive gains elevation almost

the entire way. You are whisked

from the wide expanses of the

Owens River Valley into the

foothills and finally to the base of

the tallest mountain range in the

continental United States. This time

of the year, aspens along the South

Lake River are vibrant yellow. A

quaint camp, a small grocery store,

and a small fishing outfitter are the

only developments to be found

here. The road terminates at South

Lake, actually a reservoir, and one

of the largest in the Sierras. Here

you are already above 10,000 feet

and the trees are stunted, a sign that

you are close to the timber line.

There are quick preparations, and

Dan and I are back on the same trail

that I was on two days prior heading

to the 11,900-foot Bishop Pass. From

the get-go it’s apparent that Dan is

more affected by the elevation than

Tim and I were. What took us three

hours will take well over four hours

this time. The last half of the journey

we will do in the dark with

headlamps thanks to the broken

promise of the search and rescue

leaders. We lost two people searching

for a half day each because of

the escapade. But the information

we passed on will help add more

searchers on the mountain and better

concentrate them along Pops’

likely route.

The final mile of the trail is entirely

switchbacks in the snow.

Danny’s head is splitting because of

the elevation. And though I’ve convinced

myself I have beaten altitude

sickness, the quick trip down the

mountain in the helicopter and now

back up seems to have resurrected

my suffering. Dan is also exhausted

and wants to stop with each turn of

each switchback. It is only with empathy

and encouragement that I

convince him the best course of action

is reaching the pass where we

can get water and a level campsite.

He soldiers on and we make the

pass at about 8:45 p.m. It is very

cold as we are hiking well after sundown

now making even the simplest

of efforts more difficult. We

make camp at a small lake on the

other side of the pass near the spot

the helicopter picked up Tim and I

just ten hours ago. Dan immediately

wants to go to sleep once we get the

tent pitched, but I convince him to

stay up, eat a hot salty meal, and hydrate.

These efforts should make for

a warmer and more comfortable


Day 4: Friday

The night’s sleep rivals the first

night with Tim for sleeplessness.

Despite all our efforts, we are restless

the whole night. At around 10

p.m. Dan complains of a migraine

and takes his pill. Hours later, he

gets up to relieve himself and starts

shouting. After I call to him and he

doesn’t answer, I get out and ask

him what’s wrong. He says there’s

someone standing over near the

shadows against the rock. I shine

my headlamp in that direction but

there is no one there. He is clearly

Pops cont. on page 24

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Pops’ last known campsite at middle Barrett Lake.



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Pops cont. from page 23

still wrestling with the altitude and

I convince him it is best we return

to the tent before getting too chilled.

Despite feeling horrible in the

morning, I resolve that today I will

make the trek between Bishop Pass

and Thunderbolt Pass, which I feel

is the more likely route Pops would

have taken to Barrett Lakes. Much

to my surprise Danny rebounds

from the night’s lack of sleep and

resolves to come with me, proving

to be a worthy companion for the


It’s slow and difficult going.

There is no trail here and we are

forced to find our own way across

rock falls for what turns out to be

two miles but looks more like

twelve. The slope is extreme and

any misstep could mean a long and

perilous tumble. We split up to

cover more ground but ultimately

we both take fairly high traverse

lines tucked under massive peaks.

We don’t see any searchers on the

way but when we arrive at Thunderbolt

Pass we meet five different

teams. All but two have come up

from Barrett Lakes where they

were dropped off by helicopters.

My previous day’s phone conversation

in Bishop seems to have doubled

the search efforts with more

focus now on the Barrett Lakes

basin, properly known as Palisade

Basin. There’s no new news. This

area has likely never seen so many

people at once.

Pops by his own admission is a

shy person but one who overcame

that shyness out of the necessities

of his work. As a butcher, he was

happy to work at his craft back in

the refrigerated confines of the supermarket’s

meat department (he

worked at Food Giant, which eventually

would become Albertson’s,

first at the Sepulveda store near Marine

and later at locations throughout

the Beach Cities). However, his

work ethic quickly won him promotions

and in these roles he

needed to be more engaging with

customers. I remember showing up

at the meat department and ringing

the bell, then enjoying watching the

smile come over his face as he

walked up and recognized me. In

high school his influence landed me

a job as a box boy, and I would

sneak up and surprise him as he

chatted with customers while stocking

the meat cases. By this time you

wouldn’t know he was shy at heart.

His customers loved him and he

ended up marrying one. However,

one of the great appeals of the backcountry

for Pops remained its solitude.

Perhaps this appealed to the

shyness still in him. Whatever the

reason, solitude recharged him.

Dan and I have a relaxed lunch at

the pass under cobalt-blue skies and

make the acquaintance of search

teams from different organizations.

The effort has enlisted the help of

several agencies now from Inyo

Kern County, where Pops entered

the backcountry, to Sequoia National

Park, where Pops went missing,

to neighboring Yosemite

National Park as well as other agencies

further south. The next two

days will see the effort reach its

peak with over 120 searchers in the

field and five helicopters trying to

find evidence of Pops before a

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After enjoying lunch with the

teams at the pass, Danny and I have

a nice hike back under perfect

skies. As we approach our camp the

reality hits me hard that Pops’ loss

is now permanent. Upon reflection,

I tell Danny that I just realized that

if Pops had a mean bone in his body

I never saw it in 53 years as his son.

Danny stops, turns, and gives me a

hug and I have my first real cry of

the whole trip. It will be the first of

many to come but having a friend

share my pain at 12,000 feet makes

me feel like a lucky man.

As we approach base camp I let

Danny know I have decided to

break camp tomorrow. I will make

the trek to my Pops’ campsite at

Barrett Lakes where I will camp exactly

one week after he did. Given

his struggles with the altitude, I suggest

that Danny consider heading

back out tonight. He says he doesn’t

want to bear the responsibility of

leaving me alone, but I convince

him that I need some time these

next two days to memorialize my

father. I will be safe since I will be

in radio contact with the army of

search teams that surround us now.

After more resistance Danny relents

and I help him pack up his

gear. I hike with him back to the

trail to ensure he finds it and is well

under way before heading back.

He’ll have an hour of daylight to get

through the trickiest part of the trail

and then an hour in the dark. But

with his powerful headlamp and

the well-established trail he won’t

have any problem. He will enjoy a

warm bed and a hot meal tonight

and be able to get back to his girlfriend

and baby by Saturday night.

When I arrive back at my camp

another round of sobbing hits me.

For the first time on this trip I am

alone. I need this time for reflection

and my backed-up grief finds easy

expression. I use some of my

phone’s battery to listen to “Humble

and Kind” by Tim McGraw. The

song has been stuck in my head

since Pops went missing. It brings

comfort as I reflect on how lucky I

am that the most humble and kind

person I know is my father.

I had the good fortune to go into

real estate sales 13 years ago right

at the same time my Pops “retired”

from meat cutting and started his

own handyman business. From the

beginning just about all my clients

used Pops. Being able to recommend

my own father to clients

turned out to be the best marketing

I could do. People only rarely need

an agent but they always need a

handyman. Clients constantly tell

me what a nice man Bob is and that

he does great work and doesn’t

charge enough. Pops often tells me

that the best part of his work is

being able to visit with nice people

on a daily basis. His customers give

him free access to their cabins in

Mammoth, sports tickets they can’t

use, you name it. Pops loves his

clients and they love him back.

Day 5: Saturday

Mercifully I am able to sleep 12

hours in the night. Unlike the previous

morning, this morning I don’t

Pops cont. on page 26


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Pops cont. from page 24

need to use a rock to break through

the ice on the lake to fill my canteen.

There is a little ribbon of

water that was stubborn enough

not to freeze last night and while I

am thankful it makes getting water

a little less fun.

The accumulated physical conditioning

these last four days coupled

with the therapy of spending time

with my brother and a good buddy

has given me the strength I will

need for today. Indeed, these next

two days I will feel light, agile, and

as capable in the backcountry as I

ever have. I dedicate this time to remembering

Pops and gaining a firsthand

appreciation of why he chose

to come back to his camp four years

in a row.

At 11,900 feet in late October the

mornings in the Sierras are bitter

cold until the sun hits. I will start

hiking well before this, and even

with good gloves the effort of packing

up my camp numbs my hands

to the bone.

The previous day’s traverse with

Danny helps me pick the most direct

route between Bishop Pass and

Thunderbolt Pass. It’s more difficult

today because I’m wearing a 35-

pound pack versus an 8-pound daypack

but my rejuvenated body responds

and the traverse goes well. I

register now that there are three recent

rock falls within the half-mile

approach to the west side of Thunderbolt

Pass. Most of the stones are

loose underfoot and there are small

stones and sand-like debris, likely

the by-product of large boulders

crashing into each other.

I arrive at the pass again but this

time don’t linger. I started much

earlier today and for this reason I

haven’t seen any searchers yet. One

of the teams yesterday pointed out

that the easiest route between the

pass I am now on and Barrett Lakes

is out of the way. After surveying it

a second time, I decide that Pops

wouldn’t bother. I pick the most direct

route and am pleased to discover

it’s relatively easy going with

my full pack and hiking poles and I

make quick time. I recall that Jessica

from the Sequoia team had

mentioned she had been along this

route and that the going was relatively

relaxed. For some reason it’s

comforting to know this piece of information

is consistent with my

own experience.

The Barrett Lakes sit in the Palisade

Basin and with each step I am

26 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

in awe of this place’s splendor. I

have backpacked so many times in

the Eastern Sierras I now realize

that I have come to take its beauty

for granted. In recent years, I have

dragged Pops to Yosemite, Glacier,

the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone.

But in that time I never made

it with Pops to Barrett Lakes. I see

now that his regular spot has a

beauty to rival its big-name competition.

With each step I regret never

sharing this area and its fishing

with him.

As I come up to the first and

largest lake, I can feel Pops’ presence.

I can also sense his excitement

as he approached his

destination after such a long and

difficult hike. It brings me back to

our trips as kids when we would

hike off-trail in search of fish. Approaching

he would have been

giddy at the prospect of six beautiful

lakes full of large trout set

amongst a panorama of 14,000 foot

peaks, an impossibly-blue sky, and

clouds straight from an artist’s


My Pops didn’t keep the fish he

caught to eat. We used to eat them

when we were younger on our trips

but in the last 15 to 20 years fishing

for Pops was more about the excitement

and reset that came with time

spent in the backcountry. I get to

the edge of the first lake and out of

habit look down for fish. In my

mind, I am suddenly standing in

this fishing spot, Pops is about 50

yards away, and both of us are casting

our bobber and fly. I know now

those days will only be a memory

and I am racked by a round of grief.

When it passes I take the time to

visibly drink in this spot on the

lake. There are granite shelves that

cascade down the basin and set the

blue lakes in a gray and tan frame,

which are then accented by dark

peaks. Add wispy clouds against the

deep-blue sky and this place looks

like it could have been created on a

computer for the next action and

adventure blockbuster. Overlay outstanding

trout fishing and I am surprised

Pops came here only once a


As I reach the second lake, I encounter

at least five different search

teams who are fanned out over the

area. The amount of manpower the

park service is now putting into this

search is immense. One can fully

appreciate the logistics of marshaling

large-scale resources on very

short notice. However, as much as

I appreciate it, it strikes me as a

shame that massive resources can

only be commanded when the cumulative

chance of survival is the

least. There have now been five

nights with temperatures near 15

degrees that Pops would have had

to survive for these searchers to

have a chance of finding him alive.

I run across the first scent-dog

search team. While encouraging to

see the four-legged helper and her

handler cover ground quickly, they

are quickly lost from view in the

vast landscape and I am unable to

introduce myself. I do run into a

group of eight searchers together

and take their picture. I thank each

and every one individually. I tell

them a little bit about Pops and how

he loved this area.

My objective for that night is to

reach Pops’ last known campsite

and I find it at about 3 p.m. It is located

on an amazing granite

“bench,” flat as a board, jutting out

and circled on three sides by a ribbon-like

Barrett Lake that is the

prettiest one I’ve seen. The water

on the west side is a vivid green and

reflects the snowfall and majestic

Knapsack Pass in the background.

I set my pack down, look around

for a while and envision Pops here.

Just one week ago he camped here

and that he could feel so near and

yet be so far away fills me with sadness.

My objective now is to honor

my father and a plan has hatched in

my mind. I’m going to build a simple

yet sturdy rock memorial away

from the campsites but easily seen

from them. The ledge that Pops

camped on could house up to a

dozen tents at one time but given

the difficulty in reaching the lake I

doubt more than one group ever

camps here at a time.

I also want to take a picture of

myself with a sign that says “Pops.”

After much trial and error I discover

that packing snow into the

shapes of letters is much easier and

more legible than using rocks. I take

a few pictures with my phone in

self-timer mode while it is precariously

wedged onto a nearby boulder.

I have a ton of people to reach

out to when I get home and I’ve already

worked out during my hike

what I want this picture to look like.

I will post it on Facebook before I

can reach people personally with

the news.

I take a good hour finding the perfect

spot for the memorial stones

and hoist a series of 40-pound

stones onto a little rock shelf overlooking

the camping area. After

considerable wrestling, I am able to

erect a small stone structure with a

Pops cont. on page 28

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Pops cont. from page 27

long triangular stone as a cap. I’m

happy with the work up close but

will not be satisfied until I see the

result from many vantage points

below. With my proclivity towards

perfectionism I will certainly have

many adjustments to make. However,

my first evaluation from afar

suggests that the stone memorial is

just right on the first try. And surprisingly

I am pleased with the result

from each of three vantages I


I have also decided during that

day’s hike that for at least the next

two years I will journey back here

during the summer to honor Pops’

life. If people or the elements have

disturbed the stone memorial my

companions and I will make needed


It is difficult to explain the power

of this simple man I call Pops. I

never heard him say a mean thing

about anybody or anything. The

closest he ever came to criticizing

someone was to marvel at how people

didn’t want to learn how to fix

things around the house. He was the

type of man that would immediately

help you with what you were

doing without being asked. I had

him help me with several home fixup

projects over the years and we

made a good team. I am slow to

start because I am constantly thinking

through the order in which a

project should proceed. Pops, on the

other hand, likes to jump right in

and often seems to be half done before

I lift a tool. His proclivity to

waste no time and mine to think

through potential roadblocks made

for many successful undertakings.

The weather at the middle Barrett

Lake is a bit warmer than my last

camp. I climbed to near 13,000 feet

to go over the pass and then

dropped back down to 11,150 feet.

Tonight will be another restful one.

However, after starting off warmer

the night quickly chills down to the

same 15 degrees of the previous

nights. I quickly put back on clothes

I shed inside my sleeping bag just an

hour ago.

Day 6: Sunday

This morning I start by taking a

couple more photos with Pops’

snow sign that I need to refresh

with new snow. As I take my last

shot my phone’s battery that I have

been nursing for the last five days finally

dies. There are new clouds in

the sky that suggest coming weather

unlike any I have seen this whole

trip. The promise of foul weather arriving

today will hold true.

I find a nice scramble path back

to Thunderbolt Pass and make it

there in about an hour and a half.

As I stand on the pass for the third

time, two different waves of sobbing

over take me as I look back down on

Pops’ beloved spot for the last time.

It’s so windy now that I don’t

bother wiping my eyes and simply

wait for the wind to dry them before

continuing on. However, I start up

too soon and immediately slip. Startled,

I quickly refocus because now

I have the most difficult part of the

hike in front of me.

I take the highest traverse line yet

between Thunderbolt Pass and

Bishop Pass. Now my fourth trek

between the two passes, I am completely

certain this is the route Pops

took. It’s not an easy scramble but

doable with hiking poles and one

doesn’t lose elevation just to gain it

back again. There are sweeping

views with every step and Pops always

loved vistas. However, as I encounter

the rock fall areas, this path

suddenly feels very ominous. Right

below massive peaks, a hiker would

have little time to react to rockslides.

I stumble a couple times on

the loose stones and think of how

easy it would be to fall here or be instantly

crushed by an avalanche of

boulders calved from these overhanging


There are at least 12 rescue

searchers within earshot as I work

my way between the two passes.

When I reach the end of the traverse,

I encounter a search team

leader who asks me to stick around

for a second. He wants to check in

with headquarters to see if they

need to speak to me. He makes contact

but they do not. They have no

leads or clues. This will be the final

punctuation mark on six days of

fruitless searching just an hour before

the search is officially called off

due to bad weather.

I have paid close attention to the

wisdom of my father during my life.

One of his most recent refrains was

that there was nothing that the ingenuity

of mankind couldn’t solve. He

repeated this during our last few

trips together and I had a tough time

arguing with him. When I was an

adolescent I remember being worried

about something as we played

a game of horse on our driveway

basketball court. He told me that the


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Group of rescue searchers, lower Barrett Lake, Saturday October 22, 2016.

only thing you should worry about is doing your best. When you know

you have done your best the rest is out of your control and silly to worry

about. That advice has stuck with me for 40 years now.

I make my way down the trail from Bishop Pass and I might as well be

flying. With the storm about to start my work here is done and it’s time to

get home to the comfort of my family. I have more purpose than I’ve had

in several days and decide to just wave to a group of searchers who call

out my name as I race past. They are waiting to be picked up by the first

Chinook helicopter of the day, which has been enlisted to shuttle searchers

en masse out of the backcountry ahead of the weather. I get 50 yards down

the trail before remembering my promise and take 10 minutes out of my

hike to backtrack and personally thank each of the eight waiting searchers.

One is at least as old as Pops. This is another wonderful group of kindred

spirits Pops would have loved.

I make it back to the trailhead to find two posters announcing the missing

hiker Robert “Bob” Woodie. It started snowing an hour ago and visibility

at South Lake has diminished to half of what is was when I set out with

Danny four days ago. It’s time for me to build a second stone memorial

here off the parking lot where Pops last parked. The wrestling match with

40-pound stones in the weather doesn’t go well and the memorial doesn’t

have any of the magic of the one up at the Lakes. But it may bring some

comfort for others struggling with the loss of this wonderful man. It is alternating

snow and rain now and I am alone in the parking lot before finally

leaving Pops for the six-hour drive home. I have a lot of phone calls

to make. However, I will keep my phone off for the first hour. I will dedicate

this time to remembering as many details as I can about Pops. I will

also reflect on how lucky I was to have shared this beautiful drive with

him so many times.

A memorial for Bob Woodie will be held January 14 at 2 p.m. at the Kiwanis

Center, 2515 Valley Dr., Hermosa Beach. In lieu of flowers, the family asks wellwishers

to consider a contribution made out to the Bob Woodie Memorial Endowment

for Inspiring Connections Outdoors and mailed to the Sierra Club

Foundation at 2101 Webster Street, Suite 1250 Oakland, Ca., 94612 or to PO

Box 696 Hermosa Beach Ca. 90254. Each year, this endowment will help fund

the Sierra Club’s efforts to connect children with the wilderness, a passion of

Bob’s throughout his life. For more information please visit B

Free Consultation

Call Today

December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 29

each service


Serves up 25 years of pancakes


he Woman’s Club of Hermosa Beach celebrated its 25th anniversary

Pancake Breakfast on October 9. Civic leaders flipped pancakes,

grilled sausages and scrambled eggs while the Redondo

Union High Key Club served breakfast and helped children decorate

pumpkins. Assemblyman David Hadley made a presentation to the club

in honor of its 25 years of service to local charities.


1. RUHS Key Club members Ileen Rashidfarokhi

and Cindy Meyer.

2. Hermosa Beach City Councilmember

Carolyn Petty, Mayor Hany Fangary and

HBWC member Vicki Garcia.

3. Rick Koenig, Jackie and Mike Flaherty

and Lisa and John Shea.

4. Volunteers Pete Tucker, Catherine and

Randy Landis, Andrea Conrad and Janice


5. Assemblyman David Hadley with a

presentation for President Liane Wallace and

Parliamentarian Jackie Flaherty.

6. Front desk volunteers Merna Marshall,

Bunny Kirsch and Margie Depuis.

7. Melissa, Grayson and Janet Murillo, Liz

Ramirez and Liane Wallace.

8. Hermosa City Councilmember Stacey Armato,

JR Reviczky, Carol and Key Lawson,

Marilyn Shaw and Betty Easley.

9. Todd Thompson with daughter Poppy.

10. Kitchen helpers John Thomas, Penny

Friedrich and Neil Bosmajian.

11. Kristin Thomas, Robin Caceres, Julie

Oakes and RUHS student Gordon Lobins.


2 3

4 5




9 10


30 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 31

Jim, Lucy and Kathleen Keifer. Photo by Richard Foss

“Moms want games that are played by families and have a lot of eye contact. They want people sitting around the table…”

-- Game designer Kathleen Keifer



by Richard Foss

32 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

In what appears to be a familiar

holiday tradition, a Manhattan

Beach family of three sits

around a board game in their comfortable

apartment, decorated with

paintings of California landscapes.

In this particular case, however,

quite a bit more is going on. Jim and

Kathleen Keifer and their daughter

Lucy designed the game they are

playing, including the artwork. As

they play, they explain what makes

some games enjoyable again and

again and others something that

comes out of the closet once.

“Monopoly is your classic board

game, but it’s not a great game,”

says Jim, who designed games for

Milton Bradley and Mattel before

going independent. “It takes a long

time and the player interaction is

minimal. There are far better games

than Monopoly for a family, but

people are born knowing how to

play it. You just know how to do it.”

“You’re a bad parent unless at

some time you get your kid a set of

Monopoly, even if nobody ever

plays it,” Lucy observes. “What is

most interesting is that nobody ever

reads the directions, so that there

are lots of house rules. The Free

Parking rule, the idea that you can

buy or trade properties with other

players – those aren’t in the official


Though the Keifers don’t express

much fondness for Monopoly, they

admit it has penetrated into our culture.

“If you say “Go to jail and do

not collect $200,” everybody knows

what you mean.”

A different game helped Jim meet

his wife Kathleen at the University

The Keifers’ “Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty’s Web” cover art was designed

by daughter Emily Keifer.

of Notre Dame, where she was

studying fine art and he was studying

industrial design. Both were big

tennis fans, they played a match on

their first date. After spending time

designing shopping carts and popcorn

poppers, Jim scored a summer

internship with Mattel designing

toys based on “He-Man, Master of

the Universe.” As he explains it, his

personal passions colored his suggestions.

“I came to just about every

weekly meeting with ideas for

games. They told me, Mattel

doesn’t make games, sorry. I left

there to work for Milton Bradley, a

game manufacturer. When I returned

to Mattel it was to head their

new game design department.”

Jim had a string of hits, developing

popular games like Uno, Rotten

Apples, Bananagrams, Thunder

Road and all the Harry Potter


While he rose through the ranks

at Milton Bradley and Mattel, Kathleen

created art for advertising

agencies and then for the toy industry.

After a few years in the Midwest,

and by now with three

daughters, they moved first to Malibu

and then to Manhattan Beach.

Here Kathleen developed her distinctive

style of California landscapes.

Their defining element is

her fascination with the color and

character of light.

“I like painting real places, in a

real moment in time. Sometimes I

say, here’s a lifeguard tower, and

here it is at a different times of day.

I often go to look at something in

morning light, in afternoon light,

let’s see what happens when there’s

a marine layer… There is something

mysterious and beautiful about the

Family Games cont. on page 34

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December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 33

Family Games cont. from page 33

light when we have Santa Anas. It’s

very hard to capture the quality of

that light with a camera. It’s something

I experience in person and try

to capture. I believe that there aren’t

any ordinary moments. Bringing attention

to a real moment in time is

what I want to do in my art.

“A lot of my art is serendipitous.

One time I walked past the alley by

Fonz’s and the light was perfect –

two chefs were having cigarettes in

the alley. Everything was backlit in

the golden hour, telephone wires in

the background. You normally

wouldn’t paint an alley, but it was


Kathleen’s contribution to the

family game design business isn’t

what you might expect from her

paintings. Rather than suggest subtle

details that might enhance the

look, she is often in at the start.

“I participate in the game invention

process as a high concept person,

because what the

manufacturers want is a game with

an interesting package. Recently we

were tossing around ideas and I

said, goldfish bowl. They said, okay,

probably pre-school if we do that,

but we need a great name. I said

“fish and chips,” and they immediately

started designing the game.

The pieces are contained in a goldfish

bowl and moms like that.”

“Hundreds of millions of dollars

are spent on games, largely spent by

moms. Moms want games that are

played by families and have a lot of

eye contact. They want people sitting

around the table looking at each


That qualifies as one of those

things you hear and immediately

know is true. The best games engage

the intellect and creativity of

the players and give them the opportunity

to interact on a basis that may

be competitive, but not cutthroat.

That description would be perfect

for a game invented by Lucy, a Mira

Costa alumnus, who combined her

lifelong interest in games with a passion

for literature. Lucy has been

published in the “Baker Street Journal,”

an academic publication for

fans of Sherlock Holmes and has

also created “Sherlock Holmes and

Moriarty’s Web”, a game named

after the great detective’s nemesis.

Lucy says it bypasses the problems

with all the previous games based

on The Canon.

“The problem with the existing

Holmes games is that you can really

only play them once. It’s all about

playing through a story, so it’s a deductive

logic puzzle and once you

have learned the strategy to solve it,

it’s not fun any more. That’s a lot of

people’s association with Holmes,

and it’s kind of cold. But that’s not

my impression at all. It’s Victorian.

Look at how weird and funny these

stories area. We’ve got all these

crazy Americans with gold mines

conning Englishmen, you have Inspector

Lestrade showing up because

someone is destroying busts

of Napoleon. Things happen for

weird reasons, and there are all

these strange connections.”

So how do you make a game

about a detective that doesn’t involve

solving just one crime? And

while you’re at it, how about having

it not be so competitive that players

finish it not liking each other?

“The game is for three to six players.

Every person plays one of the

characters from Sherlock Holmes,

and you have powers based on that

character’s personality. You don’t

have to know all of them – all you

really need to know is that Sherlock

Holmes was a detective in Victorian

England, Moriarty was organized

crime before that was a thing, and

that is it. It’s played on a regular

table using tiles. Moriarty is in the

middle, the unsolved crimes in London

are on the outside, and you

have to build a case, and it ends up

looking like a web. Your job is to

connect Moriarty to the crimes, and

Moriarty, who you are playing

against, is messing up your case. He

is stealing evidence and kidnapping

witnesses, so you keep having to rearrange


The intricate art on the tiles is as

stylish and professional as anything

put out by major companies. The

cover art by Lucy’s sister Emily

shows the great detective with his

trademark deerstalker and pipe.

(You might have guessed that her

two sisters both studied art. Claire,

the youngest sister, is responsible

for social media and marketing.)

Moriarty’s Web has been tested at

The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach

and at gaming conventions. A Kickstarter

campaign raised over

$25,000 to produce the game.

Lucy’s optimism is based on the

long view of the Holmes phenomenon.

“We may not win over diehard

Sherlock Holmes purists. It has

Sweeney Todd and Jack The Ripper

jokes and it’s not meant to be pure.

But we hope to win gamers over to

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eading the books and learning

about the original work. Sherlock

Holmes is one of the very few franchises

that has been popular for a

long period of time and been interpreted

in so many different media.

There was a Sherlock Holmes

movie back in the silent era – it

was lost for ages, but some buddies

of mine were able to reconstruct

one scene from bits and pieces.

There have been plays, radio dramas,

TV, and now games. Each

generation has its own take on

Sherlock Holmes. There have been

Japanese and Chinese Sherlock

Holmeses and even a Soviet-era

Russian Sherlock Holmes TV

show. It’s really hard to get a hold

of, but I’ve heard it’s fantastic. The

only character since Holmes to

capture the imagination that way is

James Bond.”

Lucy is currently involved in

manufacturing and licensing the

game. She laughed when asked

what her next project may be. She

has an outline for “an awesome

fantasy novel,” and other projects

beckon. Given her houseful, she’ll

have no shortage of inspiration.

nor of collaborative help any time

she asks for it. B

December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 35

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36 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

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December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 39


Zane’s Kathy Doel with Elisa and Kathy’s Vanilla Cider. Photo by Brad Jacobson

Drinks that go well with mistletoe

If you mention the flavors of Christmas, the images that

come to mind depend on one’s cultural heritage. Italians

might think of roasted eel and the other components of the

Feast of Seven Fishes, Croatians and Hungarians of poppy seed

cake, Mexicans of freshly fried anise-scented doughnuts called

buñuelos. There are traditional drinks of Christmas around the

world too: Germans enjoy Glühwein, hot red wine with lemon

and spices; Argentines a mix of sparkling wine, pineapple juice,

and lemon that is famous for exacting revenge the next day.

American Christmas cocktails are often based on eggnog, a

Colonial American mix of cream, eggs, and rum or whiskey, or

the citrusy, heavily alcoholic punches that were the centerpiece

at Charles Dickens’s table. Hot spiced wine (or more rarely, ale)

also occasionally makes an appearance. All of those drinks are

very good when well-made, but most people enjoy them mainly

for their antique novelty. They’re out of tune with modern ideas

about flavor and are often overly sweet.

Fortunately modern mixologists have ideas about how to reflect

the traditions of the season, and the experts at three local

restaurants were willing to share not only their recipes, but the

inspiration behind them.

Holiday Drinks cont. on page 43

New England cider goes Caribbean

Kathy Doel, who was voted Best Bartender by our readers this year, collaborated

with Zane’s co-owner Elisa Koss to create Zane’s Vanilla Cider. The two

of them invented several drinks that will be served this season, but Koss says

that she decided to share this one because it is closest to her heart.

“I picked this one out of all the ones we created because for me the holiday brings

to mind flavors of warm apple cider, of vanilla, of baking,” Koss said. “It tastes like

a soulful, drinkable dessert, and when you top it with the nutmeg and cinnamon

stick, it’s delicious.”

Koss cautioned that you must be exact about the most important element of the


“You need to use unfiltered apple cider, because it really changes the consistency

of the drink. It gives it a more earthy taste, instead of the crispness of apple juice.”

Elisa and Kathy’s Vanilla Cider

1 oz Vanilla vodka

1 oz Captain Morgan spiced rum

1/2 oz Triple sec

2 oz Unfiltered apple cider


to the


by Richard Foss

Shake and strain into a martini

glass. Garnish with a cinnamon

stick and a dash of nutmeg.

40 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

Rock’n Fish bartender Leo Villalobos and his new holiday creation, Noggin On Heaven’s Door. Photo by Brad Jacobson

Eggnog reimagined

Leo Villalobos, who has been bartending at Rock’n

Fish for three years, is always experimenting with

flavors and combinations.

“Sometimes I’m on my way to work and I’ll stop at the

market to see what fresh fruits came in, what’s different

and new. I bring in whatever I find and play around with

it for a few days.”

Villalobos wasn’t trying to make a Christmas drink

when he invented “Noggin On Heaven’s Door.” One day

early this spring he was experimenting with falernum, a

fruity Caribbean syrup with subtle flavors of almond, ginger,

and cloves. This is often used in tropical drinks, but

Villalobos wanted to see what other effects he could get

with it.

“I didn’t have a specific goal, but I was thinking about

the clove flavor that is in falernum,” he said. “I knew as

soon as I tasted it with cinnamon and nutmeg that it was

a holiday drink rather than a spring or summer drink.”

The drink he named “Noggin On Heaven’s Door” gets

the essence of a good eggnog without any milk or cream

and is much lighter and more complex. The fruity flavors

in the falernum are important — you can find it at any

good liquor store.

Leo’s Noggin On Heaven’s Door

Dry shake 1 egg white vigorously then add:

1 1/2 oz Makers Mark bourbon

3/4 oz Velvet Falernum

1/2 oz Simple syrup

1/2 oz Lime

7 dashes Cinnamon powder

Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice, then strain into a bucket glass over large ice cube.

Finish with 3 dashes nutmeg, garnish with cinnamon stick.

December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 41

The 24th Annual Beach Cities Toy Drive holds its wrapping party on Saturday,

December 17 at the Manhattan Beach Joslyn Center, 1601 North Valley

Drive. For more information call Sam Edgerton at (310) 937-2066 or

Richard Montgomery at (310) 780-3577.

Calendar cont. from page 8

Wednesday, December 14

Santa tours Hermosa

Hermosa police and fire escort Santa

through Hermosa Beach, east of Pacific

Coast Highway. Santa and his public

safety elves start at 6 p.m. at Sixth and

Hollowell Streets, and work their way

north to Golden Avenue.

Saturday, December 17

Toy wrapping party

The 24th Annual Beach Cities Toy

Drive holds its wrapping party at the

Manhattan Beach Joslyn Center, 1601

North Valley Drive, from 11 a.m. ‘til

the gifts are all wrapped. Toys may be

dropped off at the Hermosa Beach and

Manhattan Beach fire stations and

Bank of America, 1419 Highland Avenue.

For more information call Sam

Edgerton at (310) 937-2066 or Richard

Montgomery at (310) 780-3577.

Beach Wonderland

Frosty the Snowman, and Olaf (yes,

a real snowmen, not a sandman) plus

sledding, arts and crafts on the Beach

at the Dockweiler Youth Center. 12505

Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey. For more

information call (310) 726-4128.

Holiday book sale

The Hermosa Beach Friends of the

library brings out its collection of gift

books, including dictionaries, large format

art and photography books, travel

guides, cookbooks, gardening guides,

do-it-yourself manuals 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

1309 Bard Street, Hermosa Beach.

Saturday, Sunday, Monday

December 17,18,19

Miracle Musical

Journey of Faith Church brings its

popular “A Christmas Journey” miracle

musical back to the Redondo Beach

Performing Arts Center. Tickets available

at the door one hour before show

time. Saturday & Sunday: 4 and 7 p.m.;

Monday 7 p.m. 1935 Manhattan Beach

Blvd., Redondo Beach. For more information,


Sunday, December 18

Hanukkah at The Point

Congregation Tikvat Jacob Beth

Torah hosts a Hanukkah celebration at

The Point in El Segundo from 3 to 4

p.m. with activities for the whole family.

Rosecrans and Sepulveda boulevards,

El Segundo.

Chanukah in Hermosa

Chanukah Celebration at Hermosa

Beach Pier. Music, entertainment for

the whole family, and giant menorah

lighting. Begins at 3 p.m. Event information

can be found online at:, (310)214.4999 or


Thursday, December 22

Movie night

Celebrate the beginning of winter

break by watching “How the Grinch

Stole Christmas” and a visit from

Santa. 6 p.m. Tickets $2, $5. Hermosa

Community Center, 710 Pier Ave.

for tickets and more info.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday

December 22, 23, 24

“The Nutcracker” in


The Los Angeles Ballet presents

“The Nutcracker” at the Redondo

Beach Performing Art Center. 7:30

p.m. Thursday and Friday. 11 a.m. and

3 p.m. Saturday. 1935 Manhattan

Beach Blvd. For more information visit or call (310) 998-


Saturday, December 31

New Year’s Eve at the

Hermosa pier

Lou Giovannetti and his Big Band

perform from 8 p.m. ‘til midnight at

the foot of the Hermosa Beach Pier.

Beach Ball drops for East Coasters at 9

p.m. and for Californians at midnight.


42 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

Demi’s “On Blitzen”

2 cups Orange wheels, halved

3 Vanilla beans split and scraped

4-5 Cinnamon sticks

1/2 c Agave nectar

1 1/2 liters Bourbon

125 ml Citronge (orange liqueur)

Place ingredients in order above in large container,

stir to mix, and refrigerate for 2 days. To

serve, shake 3.5 ounces of mixture in a shaker

with ice, then strain into a cinnamon and sugar

rimmed martini glass. Garnish with an orange

wheel from mixture. Sit on Santa's lap and enjoy.

Hey 19 owner Demi Stevens, a mixologist in her own right, turned a German cookie into a holiday

drink, called “On Blitzen.” Photo by Brad Jacobson

Cookie in a Glass

Demi Stevens recreated a specific seasonal

flavor from her childhood for the

drink that is being served at her restaurant

Hey 19.

“I lived in Germany as a kid, and at every

Christmas we had Pfeffernusse, those orangeflavored

Christmas cookies with powdered

sugar on them. There’s some orange rind in

them, the tart orange rather than the super

sweet one,” Stevens said. “I like those cookies,

and I have my mother’s handwritten recipe for

them at home. It might even be my grandmother’s

recipe, but it’s in my mother’s handwriting.

When I think of Christmas, that’s the

flavor that comes to mind. I created this recipe

for a group because I figure you’ll have a lot of

people at the house.”

“You can serve this as a cocktail as it is, or add

orange juice and make it a nice punch. It will

keep for two months in the fridge, but you

won’t have it that long. It’s tasty and you’ll run

through it.”

Stevens cautioned that when making this or

any other citrus punch you should use a nonmetallic

bowl or pitcher. Citronge is an orange

liqueur that is similar to Cointreau but with a

distinctive agave flavor, and is widely available.

Holiday Drinks cont. from page 40

These recipes can all be created by a home bartender,

and are sure to enliven holiday gatherings.

You can practice at home, and then visit any of

these establishments to compare your execution

with that of the people who invented the drinks.

It’s your choice — make them at home if you want

to extend your skills and don’t mind a little

cleanup, or take your favorite designated driver or

hired car to sample the work of the pros. Happy

Holidays! B

December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 43




Birdwell Beach Britches president Geoff Clawson and store manager Bree Valbuena at the Highland Avenue, Manhattan Beach store. Photo by Brad Jacobson

New owners promise to protect Birdwell Beach Britches’ half century legacy

by Ed Solt

In 2014, Manhattan Beach residents Geoff

Clawson and Matt Jacobson and Santa Monica

artist and Skateboard Hall of Famer Natas

Kaupas bought Birdwell Beach Britches. Clawson

previously worked in marketing at Instagram and

Facebook. Jacobson previously worked in marketing

at Quiksilver and now is head of marketing

development at Facebook.

Carrie Birdwell Mann began making the twoply

nylon Birdwell boardshorts in her Santa Ana

garage in 1961. Over the ensuing decades, while

more prominent surf apparel companies moved

manufacturing overseas and collapsed under

their own weight, Birdwell stuck to its motto --

“Quality is our Gimmick.” Birdwell kept its manufacturing

in Santa Ana, its finances in order and

its focus on surfer boardshorts

The loose fitting, nylon construction was

durable and dried quickly. Newport lifeguards

were among Birdwell’s first customers.

“Birdie,” the goofy, duck-footed, trunk wearing

surfboard patch sewn on the back of the waistband

became an iconic symbol among core


Birdwell’s new South Bay owners hope to build

44 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

sales, and expand its line while respecting its


“At our factory in Santa Ana, we still have

many of the seamstresses hired in the ‘60s.

Rather than outsourcing, we still cut and sew

every pair of boardshorts by hand,” said Clawson,

Birdwell’s new president.

“Our boardshorts, competition jackets and tote

and gear bags are made out of our the same fastdrying

and durable fabric used to make the iconic

310s since the 1960s,” he said.

“Birdwell was one of the first boardshort makers

to advertise in John Severson’s Surfer Magazine

and used the same mail-order ad for decades.

We are the longest ongoing advertiser in the magazine’s

history,” he said.

Photos of the early Birdwell surfers are framed

on the walls of Birdwell’s Beach Britches first and

only retail location, in Manhattan Beach.

Birdwell opened the store last year, on Highland

Avenue, two blocks up from the beach and

across the street from Uncle Bill’s Pancake

House. Its front door has an unobstructed view

of the surf at 13th Street.

“Surfers come by just to show us their ‘70s

Birdwells. They visit the store right after landing

at LAX. Buying Birdwells is literally the first

thing they want to do upon arriving in LA,” Clawson


“We chose Manhattan Beach not just because

we live and surf here. The store’s location pays

homage to Manhattan Beach’s importance in

Southern California surf history. Dale Velzy

opened the world’s first surf shop up the street

from the Manhattan Beach Pier in 1950.”

The local store has resurrected interest in its

shorts among prominent local watermen and

women, including Tyler Hatzikian of Tyler Surfboards

in El Segundo, Hermosa Beach Surfer

Walk of Fame member Derek Levy, competitive

paddleboarders Jay Russell and Scott Rusher and

a crew of young rippers, including Mira Costa’s

Kyra Williams, winner of the South Bay Scholastic

Surfing Association Allstars Rookie of the Year.

Clawson re-introduced the company’s 1960’s

competition jackets locally, with a one-off green

and gold model for the Mira Costa Surf team.

He’s also expanded the Birdwell line with CPO

(Chief Petty Officer) shirts in wool and cotton,

cotton beach towels, a wool sportsman jacket,

Birdwell cont. on page 46

Tyler Hatzikian puts his Birdwell 311s to

the stress test. Photo by Brent Broza


Tyler Hatzikian in his 1960 El Camino shop truck

and Birdwell navy blue CPO wool shirt.

Photo by Brent Broza (

Kris Hall in his favorite position, wearing his favorite black Birdwell 310s at the Hermosa pier. Photo by Brent Broza

Birdwell cont. from page 44

and canvas walking shorts with a

nylon reinforced seat.

The new product line continues

the tradition of domestic sourcing

and manufacturing. The wool flannel

is supplied by Black & Sons, a

fourth generation family-owned

business that has operated out of

the same LA Garment District

building for 94 years.

To manufacturer the sportsman

jacket, Clawson said, “We went to

Woolrich Woolen Mills, the oldest

continuously operating vertical

woolen mill in America. It got its

start in 1830, outfitting lumberjacks.”

“We believe that inspiring people

to buy less stuff, by buying better

stuff is a noble pursuit,” Clawson

said. B

The Mira Costa High School surf team sports a retro makeover in Birdwell’s ‘60s era competition jackets.

Photo by Brent Broza

46 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • De cember 8, 2016

Buying or Selling

Office: 310.546.3441

Cell: 310.643.6363


“Since 1992”

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Serving the South Bay Beach Cities and beyond


• Serving the South

Bay for over 35 years

• Full Service Contractor

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• No Repair too Small

“People need someone they can rely on – my customer’s know

that I answer my phone and do the job as promised.

December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 47

CBVA hall of famers

CBVA Hall of Fame attendees included (left to right) Tom Chamales, Brent Frohoff, Eric Fonoimoana, Dain Blanton, Patty Dodd, Randy Stoklos, Nancy Cohen

Fredant, Sharkie Zartman, Mike Dodd, Denny Smith, John Featherstone, Tim Hovland, Gene Popko, Mike Cook, Fred Zuelich, Kevin Cleary (kneeling), Jim Menges,

Dennis Hare, George Stepanof, Sinjin Smith and (reclining) Steve Obradovich. Photos by Kevin Cody

Olympians Blanton, Youngs and Coach Feather, Zuelich inducted

by Randy Angel

The passion for beach volleyball filled the

500-seat Hermosa Community Theatre

during the 6th Annual Beach Volleyball

Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Friday, November


“Lake Show” host and former AVP announcer

Chris “Geeter” McGee fired up the crowd and

Master of Ceremonies Jim Arico oversaw the inductions

of Class of 2016 members Dain Blanton,

Elaine Youngs, Fred Zuelich and John


“The inductees and presenters gave speeches

that were poignant, reflective, thankful and

mixed in with some lighthearted humor for

plenty of laughs,” said Kevin Cleary, CBVA Hall

of Fame Committee Member. “The event was a

real team effort and made all the hard work

worth it, but more importantly it was a great

night for beach volleyball.”

Presenters includes Steve Obradovich, Dennis

Hare, Jim Arico, Steve Vernovage, Calvin Gillory, Holly McPeak and Nicole


George Stepanof, who began running beach tournaments in San Diego

in 1949 was presented the Ron von Hagen Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dain Blanton was recognized for his contributions to beach volleyball,

on and off the court. Blanton became the first African-American player to

win a professional beach volleyball tournament when he won the AVP Hermosa

Beach Grand Slam title in 1997 with partner Canyon Ceman. But his

48 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

Coach “Feather” with Calvin Gillory, who played and

coached football for Featherstone at El Camino College.

The two also played beach volleyball together.

greatest accomplishment was winning the gold

medal with partner Eric Fonoimoana at the

2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

In 2004 Blanton earned a spot in the Athens

Olympics becoming the first two-time U.S.

male Beach Volleyball Olympian.

“Being a member of the Hall of Fame is really

a great honor,” Blanton said. “To be recognized

for something that you have committed so

much time and energy towards and something

that you are so passionate about is special. It is

extremely exciting and humbling at the same


Blanton grew up in Laguna Beach and has

resided in Santa Monica since playing for Pepperdine

University from 1990-94.

“Attaining my AAA rating as a 16-year-old

was also a highlight in my career,” Blanton

said. “I learned the game at Main Beach in Laguna

Beach and enjoyed being with my fellow

volleyball players, family and friends at the induction


Elaine Youngs, a four-year starter for UCLA’s indoor team, began her

beach volleyball career in 1997. In 2009, she became the first American

woman to surpass $1 million in career domestic earnings while winning a

domestic title for the 11th consecutive year, eclipsing the previous record

of 10 consecutive titles set by Janice Harrer.

Youngs is one of eight players to win a Manhattan Beach Open title with

three different partners and was a bronze-medalist at the 2004 Athens

Olympics with partner Holly McPeak. Youngs teamed with Nicole Branagh

Dennis Hare (seated) recalls winning the 1974

Indoor World Championship in San Diego with

2016 inductee Fred Zuelich (right). George

Stepanof (left) received the Ron von Hagen Lifetime

Achievement Award.

to place fifth at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Hermosa Beach resident Fred Zuelich grew up

in El Segundo playing basketball, tennis, track,

baseball, surfing and volleyball. He was offered

a junior pro bowlers contract when he was in the

eighth grade.

Zuelich won six beach volleyball tournament

titles, including the Manhattan Beach Open in

1973 with Bob Jackson. He also had three thirdplace

finishes at the Manhattan Beach Open and

has won the Manhattan Beach 6-man tournament

four times.

“I haven’t really thought much about my volleyball

career for years, but I’m glad to make it

into the Hall of Fame after all these years,”

Zuelich said. “It’s an honor to be included with

so many great players.”

Zuelich played in his first pro tournament in

1970, an event he’ll always cherish.

“I was only a AA player who moved south to

attend college at San Diego State and entered the

San Diego Open,” Zuelich recalled. “In my opinion,

Ron von Hagen was the best volleyball

player of all time, Karch Kiraly was probably a

better athlete, but Von Hagen was the epitome of

volleyball with class, integrity and honesty.

“Because of unforeseen circumstances, both

Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold medalists

Eric Fonoimoana and Dain Blanton.

Von Hagen and myself were without partners.

George Stepanof suggested I talk with Von Hagen

about playing with him. Ron agreed to play with

me but said that if my partner showed up, I

should play with him. That was a display of his

integrity. We finished in third place, earning me

my AAA rating.

“Looking back, I learned more in that tournament

than at any other time in my career. I

learned how the best player thought about the

game, how to focus on siding out. It was an experience

that changed my career.”

Zuelich recalled playing in the San Diego Sports

Arena when 100 tons of sand was hauled in from

a river bed.

Zuelich, who has been a real estate professional

for 36 years and ran a volleyball school for 12

years, wants to be remembered for his contributions

to the game as much as for his playing career.

“I went to Australia in 1979-80 to teach beach

volleyball and help promote physical fitness,”

Zuelich said. “Surfing was the only real sport and

not everyone was interested or had access to surfing.

The feeling that I helped change so many

lives is very rewarding.”

In 1980, Matt Gage joined Zuelich on his trip

CBVA president Chris Brown.

down under and the duo played in Australia’s

first ever pro beach volleyball tournament.

Manhattan Beach native John Featherstone

made his name as one of the top junior college

football coaches in the nation. He was the head

coach at El Camino College for 31 years, but his

love of beach volleyball never wavered. He was

an official on the AVP tour and has run a beach

volleyball camp for 22 years.

Also recognized was legendary team of Mike

Dodd and Tim Hovland, the lone inductees to the

Hall of Fame in 2000. The duo played in 177 domestic

tournaments together, winning 53 titles including

the Manhattan Beach Open five times.

“There were a lot of memorable moments on

and off the court and a few finals always stick

out,” Hovland said. “All five Manhattan Beach

Open wins, the four world championships and,

of course, the comeback at Phoenix when we

were down 6-1 and had to roll off six points in a

row to beat Karch (Kiraly) and Kent (Steffes) 7-6.

That was a very special win.”

Hovland feels trusting Dodd, knowing that the

duo would be in every tournament to win it, and

the practice time spent at Marine Street were the

Tim Hovland and Mike Dodd, who said Hovland

taught him how to fight “on the court.”

keys to the team’s success.

“This sport was a big part of our lives and we

love to see it growing,” Hovland added. “The Hall

of Fame is the cherry on top for all who play this

game at a high level.”

Also honored were the winners of this year’s

CBVA Cal Cup. They included Men’s and

Women’s champions Jorge Martinez and Dalida

Vernier (AAA), Griffin Conway and Jenn Henderson

(AA), Seth Tuton and Morgan Kendrick (A)

and Kristofer Lena and Kaili Kimura (B).

Olympians April Ross and Sean Rosenthal were

on hand to present awards to the CBVA Youth Cal

Cup winners.

Capturing boys titles were the teams of Will

Bantle (Pacific Palisades)/Rob Mullahey (Manhattan

Beach) in the 18U division, Jevan Coronado

(West Covina)/Luke Grafton (Hermosa Beach) in

the 16U, Miles Partain (Pacific Palisades)/Luke

Turner (Hermosa Beach) in the 14U and Manhattan

Beach duo of Mick Bakos/Ryan Sprague in the


Girls winning Youth Cal Cup titles were Chanti

Holroyd (Mountain View)/Madilyn Yeomans (San

Diego) in the 18U, Kyla Doig (Redondo

Beach)/Jaden Whitmarsh (Rancho Santa Fe) in the

16U, Makenna Gaeta (Santa Monica)/Kate Reilly

(Manhattan Beach) in the 14U and Kelly Belardi

(Manhattan Beach)/Savannah Standage (Redondo

Beach) in the 12U. B

Volleyball Hall of Famers Steve Obradovich and

Kevin Cleary.

December 8, 2016 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 49

each people


by Ryan McDonald


A Nazi flag captured by Myron Halpern and members of the 75th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, and signed by its soldiers. Photos by Miriam Lomaskin

Inset: Jason Halpern with Teresa Pollin, curator of arts and artifacts at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.

Hermosa Beach’s Jason Halpern honors the memory of his father with a donation to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

There is something about war and embroidery. The Bayeux Tapestry

is a priceless artifact that uses more than 200 feet of cloth to tell the

story of the Norman Conquest of England. The Civil War spurred the

development of the modern sewing machine with the demand for Union

uniforms. And when Myron Halpern returned home from World War II,

with him came a piece of history written in stitches.

Halpern was a member of the 75th Infantry Division of the United States

Army. He was deployed in Europe and fought in the Battle of the Bulge,

considered the largest and bloodiest battle of the war. And at some point in

the conflagration, he and his unit captured a band of German soldiers, and

with them a Nazi swastika flag that had flown in Germany and Belgium.

Halpern, whose wife’s father had been a tailor to Wall Street bankers, discovered

that one of the captured soldiers was a tailor in civilian life. And

so the unit got the German soldier to sew a “75” into the middle of the flag,

and all the members the unit signed their names. The soldiers had taken a

symbol of hate and evil, and reclaimed it as an emblem of victory.

Today, the flag is in in the collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial

Museum in Washington D.C. It will eventually come to rest at the

David and Sela Shapell Family Collections and Conservation Center, a stateof-the-art

facility now under construction in Bowie, Maryland. But until

August of this year, it sat, wrapped up in a lens cap, in a Hermosa Beach


Myron’s son Jason Halpern had kept the flag after receiving it from his

father, who died in 1966. The details of exactly how his father came to possess

the flag are sketchy. (“I don’t care what war you are talking about, vets

50 Easy Reader / Beach magazine • December 8, 2016

are going to be very, very hesitant as to what they reveal. I never got the

facts as to how that soldier was in fact captured,” Halpern said.) In the 50

years since his father’s death, the younger Halpern estimates he took the

flag out fewer than a dozen times, with half of those instances coming

within the last five years as he attempted to find a home for the heirloom.

Spend a bit of time with Halpern, a Hermosa resident, and his passion

for history becomes clear. He readily reaches for military terms like “ordnance.”

He weaves old War Department regulations into touching family

anecdotes. And like his father, he is Jewish. But he is loathe to lodge his father

or the contribution of the flag in the massive context of the greatest

tragedy of the 20th century. For him, the donation was an effort to preserve

a memory that is no less valuable for being personal and particular.

“The bigger message is obviously going to be there: the knowledge that

World War II was real,” Halpern said. “But all I can do is give you the platitudes

of what the general public might be able to get out of it. This was

first and foremost about honoring my father and his legacy, that his heirs

for generations to come will be able to see this stuff.”

In an attic no more

Surprisingly, there are many people who want to donate Nazi flags to an

institution dedicated to combatting the very thing for which the regime

stood. Teresa Pollin, curator of arts and artifacts at the Holocaust museum,

said that soldiers serving in Europe often took them as symbols of victory,

and that their children or grandchildren will find them, years later, stuffed

in a sock drawer.

Most are not accepted. Part of the

problem, she said, would be in tactfully

displaying a large number of

the hateful symbols. (There is currently

one swastika flag on permanent

exhibition in Washington,

D.C.) But the difficulty is primarily

a matter of limited space. Often

times, she will direct potential

donors elsewhere, such as the National

World War II Museum in

New Orleans.

However, when Halpern called,

Pollin sensed that this flag was “different.”

The presence of the signatures

of each of the men, and

Myron Halpern’s Jewish heritage,

indicated a special historical worth.

“Jewish-American soldiers had a

double motivation. It was very important

for them to go and fight,”

Pollin said, noting that Halpern was

unusual in that he was 26 years old

when he went to war. “Myron was

older than other soldiers, and he

still volunteered.”

Steven Klappholz, western regional

director for the Holocaust

Museum, said that acquiring these

kinds of materials is part of the ongoing

effort to preserve evidence of

the Holocaust, a task which has

taken on growing importance as

more of the people who lived

through the period die. Although

the museum’s traditional focus is

on victims and survivors, part of

what made Halpern’s flag so noteworthy,

he said, was that that shed

light on “the liberators.”

Halpern brought the flag to Washington,

D.C. in August. The museum

put on a small ceremony,

during which Halpern displayed the

flag and other associated relics, including

letters sent between the

front and home. During the ceremony,

Halpern had a moment to

hold up the flag, displaying the side

with the “75” patch and all the signatures

away from him, so that it

could be photographed. And

though the flag had been in his possession

for 50 years, it was his first

opportunity to look at it from the

back, and see it for something other

than the family treasure it had become.

“For the first time, I’m looking at

what we all came to hate — there

are no names on the other side. I’m

looking at the other side of a Nazi

flag: the thing that our guys saw

when they were getting killed,”

Halpern said.

Worth remembering

Halpen had a relatively short

time with his father. He was born

while Myron, or Moe as everyone

knew him, was away at war, and

did not meet him until he was 16

months old. And his father died

young, at 48, leaving the world

when Halpern was just 21. But it

was enough time for thousands of

tiny gestures and quiet sacrifices, as

when his father refused to work on

Yom Kippur, knowing it would

mean losing a job in a recession.

And it was more than enough time

to become Halpern’s hero. It is

Halpern’s hope that future generations

of his family will be able to

see a physical record of his father’s

life and times, and get a sense of the

man he was.

He got a glimpse of the power of

this memory when his nephew

Mark came to the August ceremony.

Mark, who never met Moe,

was looking at some of the donated

photos, when Halpern turned and

saw a look of joy on his face.

“My father’s grandson, who

never met my father, is now getting

a picture of who his granddad was.

That is the dividend,” Halpern said.

In the future, select relatives of

Halpern may have access to the donated

items, but the facility where

the flag will ultimately be housed

will not be open to the general public,

Klappholz said. Although most

of its contents will be digitized and

available over the Internet, the materials

themselves are fragile, and

will be available primarily to scholars

and educators. Klappholz compared

it to the “rare book room” of

a library, and said such restrictions

are necessary to fulfill the museum’s

fundamental mission.

“We have to preserve history and

maintain it, so that future generations

will have the ability to see the

primary sources,” he said. “It is the

sacred duty of the museum to ensure

that the memory of the Holocaust

lives on forever.”

It can be difficult to square this

lofty goal with the intimate value

that Halpern attaches to the flag.

But believing that history is controlled

by the curators is just as cynical

as presuming that it is written

by the winners. Though the museum

is tasked with managing the

memory of a continent-wide catastrophe,

preserving the personal

story of each contribution remains

of the highest importance.

“We meet many survivors who do

not even have a grave for their parents

or sibling. They treat the museum

as a cemetery. They know

that we will take care of their most

precious mementos forever,” Pollin

said. B

Documents from Myron Halpern’s service, including a V-gram, Honorable

Discharge papers, and a photo of him just before he left for Europe.




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