11 months ago

Beach Jan 2018

MasterCard® ® AMERICAN

MasterCard® ® AMERICAN EXPRESS ® SM Woodland Hills and decided to move to the beach. A week later, to his family’s shock, he was living in Manhattan Beach. He became completely in thrall with the little town. Soon he headquartered the company there. He had an office on the 200 block of Manhattan Beach Boulevard with a view of the pier and the Roundhouse. “I always refer to it as this enchanted village. It's how I felt when I moved here,” Greenberg said. “It's like I'm always on vacation. It's a special town….I feel really blessed to be able to be here. All those times I packed up my bags and moved — I have no intention of ever moving. I found it. I have lived over half my life here now, and it gave me everything. It gave me the life I have today. My kids were born and raised here; it was the only place they know. I knew so many places, from moving around. But who gets to live near the beach?” What was more unusual was that even as Skechers grew into a $2 billion a year business, selling 200 million pairs of shoes worldwide annually, Greenberg chose to keep the company in Manhattan Beach. “Setting up this company in a city that is two miles by two miles — who would do that? There is no Michael and Harrison Greenberg. Photo Courtesy of the Greenberg family land,” he said. “They are not producing more Manhattan Beach. So, it took a lot of planning to keep a company that was growing, that needed space, inside of Manhattan Beach. It's full; the houses are on top of one another. There is no farmland. There is no acreage. But it’s where I wanted to be.” He’d always marvelled when coming home from business trips, as he came over the crest of the hill and looked down on the the red tile roof Roundhouse at the end of the pier. “This is where I get to live,” he thought. But on that day in early April three years ago, Greenberg arrived bewildered. His first instinct was to immediately book another flight, to Thailand. “I started to make flights to Thailand, because that is where he was,” he remembered. “But I was thinking, why am I going to Thailand? I've got to be with the kids and Harrison's mother. There was a lot of support here.” There is a confusingly beautiful thing that often happens at a time of such devastating loss — an unreal and terrifying sense of absence is accompanied by profound feelings of love. It’s hard to fully grasp the enormity of a love a father has for a son, or a sibling for a sibling, until that person’s passing throws the feeling into sharp relief, creating a hole in a heart the size of this unfathomably large love. We often don’t know just how much we are capable of feeling until loss forces it upon us. That capacity is reflected back upon us as we rest in the love of those remaining. The outpouring of love from the community floored Greenberg. And from around the world, donations quickly arrived. 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dation and a close family friend who’d known Harrison all his life, had an idea. Harrison had been a quintessential child of Manhattan Beach, sun-drenched with sand always on his feet. Perhaps his greatest passion had been for the ocean. What better way to honor his memory than by donating to the Roundhouse Aquarium, which was both an enduring symbol of Manhattan Beach and a working facility where generations of children had been taught about marine life? Greenberg had arrived back on a Tuesday. By Saturday, he and Curren met with Lynn Gross, a board member for Oceanographic Teaching Stations, which operated the Roundhouse Aquarium. “Knowing his love for the sea, for Catalina Island, for always being on the water or in the water, visiting the Roundhouse Aquarium all the time… it was a natural fit,” Greenberg said. “It was a beautiful idea.” The boy Harrison Greenberg grew up never far from the water. As a little boy, he was preternaturally drawn to the Pacific Ocean and all its Harrison Greenberg on Catalina Island. Photo courtesy the Greenberg family teeming life. His family moved a few times in his childhood, but always within Manhattan Beach, always within a quick march to the beach. In the thousands of photos that documented his early life, most have an ocean backdrop, a tussle-haired tanned boy building sandcastles, bodysurfing, fishing; the closer he was to the water, the bigger his mischievous smile. He tooled down the pier a thousand times, ecstatic to run above the slap of the ocean, more alive than ever in the salt water air. He especially loved the Roundhouse, where he’d touch the animals in the touch tanks and gaze in wonder at the sharks in the big tanks. Sometimes the ocean would come to him. One photo shows a party at his house when he was two years old.The OTS crew from the Roundhouse Aquarium brought some of their animals to the Greenbergs’ home. Harrison looks like he’s being reunited with old friends. The first time he dove, on a family vacation to Hawaii, he hugged an octopus. For the rest of his short life he’d keep the habit he was taught on that first dive, holding January 18, 2018 • Easy Reader / Beach magazine 15