Sycamore Park Reunion

A netless volleyball game was organized as the now 40- and 50-year-old "youngsters" from Sycamore Park's early days gathered on Escondido Beach, which they always considered their own. Photo by Ward Lauren

More than 50 past and present homeowners and residents of Sycamore Park gathered at the community’s tennis courts in late June for the first-ever reunion of many of the original families who moved in after the area was first developed in the late 1950s.

The day of June 26 was a raucous hug-fest as men and women who grew up in Sycamore Park during those early days, now in their 40s and 50s, some who hadn’t seen each other in a generation, gathered from as far as North Carolina, Florida and Utah for the event. Most, however, now live in cities and towns scattered up and down California, primarily near the coast.

During their formative years these “youngsters” spent as much time on tiny Escondido Beach as children today do watching television. They considered it the community’s private beach, which it isn’t. But when the creek stops flowing with the winter rains, the dry side under the bridge that carries PCH traffic provides a natural, safe pathway that links it to the community, which makes it, for all intents and purposes, Sycamore Park’s beach.

The one-time neighbors spent the better part of the afternoon there as they relived countless days and memories of easier times in their lives. “Remember when we…” became a constant catchphrase preceding gales of laughter throughout the afternoon. It was a three-generation event as these veteran beach “kids” brought their own offspring down to see where mom and dad used to sun and surf and swim.

Eight gray-tinged or balding men, still in quite good shape although noticeably thicker of waist, organized a touch football game, and it must be admitted they put in an admirable half hour of fast, vigorous, splashing crashing football, graying temples notwithstanding. Several of the early residents still live in the park, while many of the others have moved on for one reason or another, reluctantly in many cases. The community was teeming with young children in its early days. It was a time when one could get a home loan that didn’t approximate the national debt, so almost all the homes were built and occupied by young adults just starting their families.

This continued while the youth grew up and formed friendships that lasted throughout high school (which was Santa Monica High in those days) and beyond.

These were the years that formed the deep, lasting friendships and countless memories that came bubbling to the surface from the never-to-be-forgotten past as friends and former neighbors got together for the first time in decades at this unique reunion. It gave proof to residents’ belief that Sycamore Park is a very special place.

I had moved my family into a newly built home on Seavista Drive in 1960 with two sons, one not yet walking; our third was born a couple years later. Their mother and I have often congratulated ourselves for moving there; it’s one thing we definitely got right. It has been a constant source of gratification to hear our boys tell us, as they still do, that growing up in Sycamore Park was the best time of their lives.