Living Life the Malibu Way

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Jane Sullivan Hemenez in Malibu in 1948, at her first house on Las Flores Beach. Hemenez, now 97, has written a book about her life in Malibu.

Jane Sullivan Hemenez is a woman of astounding accomplishments. At the ripe young age of 97, she has written her first book, “Malibu: A Good Way of Life.”

It is already selling at the local bookstores.

The tale begins when Sullivan and her mom picked up a beach cottage on Los Flores in 1948. The price was a whopping $11,000! Looking back, she says “Never did I think I would be able to live on the beach all the time.”

Back in the day, Malibu was a different place without shopping centers and posh shops. Her book is a love letter written from the heart about a different place and precious memories.

“How fortunate we were to live in Malibu in the forties,” she writes. “Blooming geranium fields formed colorful patterns. We gloried in the wild open spaces. The sand and rocks were ours to explore.”

The book is filled with wonderful black and white photos of bathing beauties in one-piece suits frolicking on the sand, Girl Scout and graduation pictures as well as scenes of Malibu through the years.

It includes the some of the writer’s colorful paintings and traces the history of the area. She begins with the early origins of the Chumash Indians. Readers can learn about the much-loved Adamson House and the old courthouse and even the relatively new Malibu Country Mart.

In addition to the story of Malibu, the book also tells the tale of two families from Ireland who made their way to the United States in the early 1800s.

Her ancestors slowly ventured out West, working for Rio Grande Railroad and ending up at the Los Angeles Pacific Electric Railway. Unlikely as it may seem, Sullivan Hemenez eventually landed in Malibu.

Jane Sullivan Hemenez has lived in Malibu for more than 65 years. She worked as a physical education teacher as well as a vice-principal at Palisades High School.

In 2003, she was honored by the California State Parks for her tireless volunteer work at the Adamson House and the Malibu Lagoon Museum.

She and her husband, Louciano Hemenez, married at Our Lady of Malibu and lived together until his death a few years back.

Jane Sullivan Hemenez has certainly seen a lot of changes over the years. She recalls a more simple time and place. “Today Malibu is known for the actors and other famous people who live here in expensive mansions, but when my family first arrived, life was very basic. I have a deep love for the community which has been my home.”

The book is dedicated to her mother, Alice O’Boyle Sullivan, her father Wilfred Henry Sullivan Jr. and all those who make up the Sullivan and Hemenez families.

Along with an informative history, she wants others to appreciate the Malibu she knows, remembers and still appreciates.

The extraordinary collection of memories also includes a forward and words of praise from legendary locals like Ronald Rindge, who marvels at the Sullivan Hemenez get-up-and-go spirit. He writes, “Wow, she just can not sit back and enjoy a carefree retirement. Jane is always pursuing one project or another.”

The super senior continues to write and paint.

Many might ask how she does it.

So now you know. Her tips for a long happy life are to “Be friendly. Do work you enjoy. Lead an active lifestyle. Stay close to family. And if you can…live in Malibu.”