Article from the 8/18/2017 Catalina Islander

"When is 'Tea Time' at the 'Undersea Gardens'?"
When told that the meat for the buffalo burgers served on the Island came from Montana, a gentleman blurted, "I will ONLY eat buffalo meat from Catalina!"
"Do you accept 'pesos'?"
"Do you hunt bears on Catalina?"
"Does my marriage license apply here?"
"GOOD-BYE" MR. NING'S!  (I may never eat again!)
"Mr. Ning's" Chinese Restaurant will be leaving for good on September 30!  I think it is only fitting that we let them know how much we loved/love them by sending them notes, letters, cards, etc. of love directed at the servers, cooks, bus boys, EVERYONE connected with this wonderful establishment!  Please send your signs of love to me, P. O. Box 1533, Avalon, CA 90704, and I will make sure that they receive them!  I DON'T THINK THAT THEY READ MY COLUMN SO PLEASE DON'T MENTION ANY OF THIS TO THEM!
Last week I had the FUN of seeing for the first time since it came out in 1992, the classic movie, "A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN"!  It is based on the fact that when the WWII broke out, Philip Knight Wrigley, who owned the "Chicago Cubs", which is why they had their Spring Training on Catalina, 1921-51, wrote a letter to President Roosevelt suggesting that baseball players be exempt from the draft, as baseball being the "National Pastime" should be continued so as to keep up morale for Americans.  Roosevelt refused this suggestion (Roosevelt was VERY DEMOCRATIC and Wrigley was VERY REPUBLICAN.  Might have had something to do with the lack of support of the idea!).  For this reason, Mr. Wrigley started the "All-American Girls' Baseball League", with the story being very loosely portrayed in the movie.  To allow for major fact embellishments, Mr. Wrigley became Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall), his gum became "Harvey's Chocolate Bars" (fiction often predicts reality, as years later "Mars Bars" bought up "Wrigley's Gum Company"), and Arthur Meyerhoff, who was Wrigley's gum marketing director, became Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn).  I knew Mr. Wrigley and Mr. Meyerhoff (he had an office next to "Lolo's Barber Shop", Tour Plaza).  Garry Marshall was NOTHING like Philip Knight Wrigley.  Marshall was loud and flamboyant, as you would "assume" his character would be, but Wrigley was just the opposite.  Penny Marshall was the movie's director, so casting her father in this role is definitely understandable.  On the other hand, David Strathairn was very much like the character he portrayed, Arthur Meyerhoff.  If you have a chance to see the movie, DON'T PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY!  By the way, notice my other column, "ONLY CATALINA HAPPENINGS", and notice another movie night at the Museum.  See you there!
In my column submission, "Be the Change You Want To See In Avalon", August 4, 2017 (this and all of my past columns,, I suggested some possible ways that we can make Avalon more friendly/enjoyable.  A young lady who had read my column recognized me and came up to me at the Museum movie showing and told me that my column gave her the incentive to "try a little harder".  LET'S ALL DO IT!
In the late 1940's, Eric Wilcox, at "Eric's" on the Pleasure Pier (yes, Eric was a real person, just like Chet), would take a select group of friends West down the coast to the "Italian Gardens", about half way to "Two Harbors".  They would  go out on a private boat and fish for white sea bass.  The largest catch of the day would garnish a nice trophy for the winner.  I seem to recall that this occurred every Saturday morning during the Summer, leaving around 5am.
When I was around 3 years old (1950), I went with Dad on my first fishing adventure!  To catch the prize white seabass, you usually go into shallower water and slowly trolled up and down the area, at the divide between the kelp and the sandy ocean body.  Things were going very slowly this particular morning and so Dad decided that it was a good time to take a "you know what break".  He handed me the fishing pole and told me he would be back soon.  It seems as if he was gone for hours, but I held on zealously and leered with anticipation over the edge of the railing to spy what might come into view.  Just then I saw, what looked like my father's white shirt, moving along the side of the boat, heading for my line.  I stared with awe the size of the fish, when suddenly I felt a great tug on my line!  I KNEW it wasn't seaweed or kelp, because it kept pulling.  I kept shouting, "I'VE CAUGHT A FISH!  I'VE CAUGHT A FISH!", but no one seemed to believe this cute little gullible over reacting 3 year old!  (I haven't changed much, have I!!!).  I held on with all of my strength.  Dad came back, LUCKILY, and hearing my shouts, looked at my pole and suddenly realized that this wasn't just me being bored and trying to get attention.  He grabbed the pole from me and slowly started reeling it in.  What came aboard turned out the be a 36 pound white sea bass.  The largest one caught that day and also the largest fish I have ever caught in these succeeding 67 years!
Dad received the trophy, even though "I caught the fish", but I did get "something"!  While Dad was landing "my fish", the boat owner's wife came out to see what all the commotion was about.  She was in the "galley" (kitchen) preparing sandwiches.  I was standing there, all taken in by the excitement, and madly sucking my thumb, while scratching my "gaga"!  For those of you who don't remember your own variation of the "gaga" (my brother, Billy's, was his "tata"), let me refresh your memory.  When you were born, you usually were given a "maternity blanket" which is the one you took home when you left the hospital and it is the one that covered you in you crib and you would snuggle up to it the first year or so.  Eventually, you used it to hold on to and scratched while you sucked your thumb.  A  lot of heaving sucking and scratching eventually caused the end of your functional blanket, but a "good mother" let's you hold on to this "Security Blanket" for as long as you needed it!  JUST TRY TO TAKE IT AWAY FROM US!  I had "securitied" my blanket down to a small piece of cloth that was now about 4"x4".  Of course, Mom rarely was able to get it out of my clutches so it rarely got washing and still kept that special "smell"!
This "well intentioned boat owner's witch" took my "gaga" and threw it overboard (she obviously never had any children and for the benefit of all children everywhere,  I HOPE SHE NEVER DID!")!  Well, THAT did it!  First, I wasn't able to bring in my own fish (honestly, I couldn't have anyway), Dad got the trophy, and I lost my "gaga"!  "Oh, the humanity!"  I cried and screamed, "MY GAGA!!!!"  Dad was too busy bringing in my prize fish to intervene or explain my plight to this horrible person, so I just kept  screaming.  Finally, she couldn't take my screaming any longer, so she went into the galley and brought back a newly washed dish cloth and threw it at me!  WHAT!?!  NOTHING like my precious "gaga"!  No smell and not the perfect size that I had crafted for so many years from that flannel sheet!  I kept crying, but as my precious link to my past floated further and further from the boat, I realized that my "childhood" was also slowly slipping away and this was my turning point in becoming a "little man".! I had caught a 36 pound winning fish for my Dad  and I took the dish rag and threw it into the ocean to show my defiance! 
When we got back to the Pleasure Pier, there was Mom with my brother, Billy, in her arms (he was only 1).  To her surprise, and knowing her, unhappiness, she now had to clean and store a monster of a fish.  For those of you who remember the old refrigerators of the 1940's, the "freezer" compartment was at the top and was only around 12"x9".  IT SEEMS AS IF IT WAS ALWAYS filled with frost and ice and so the capacity wouldn't hold 36 pounds.  More like 3 pounds.  The rest we had to give away.
I left that morning, "Chuckie", and returned as "Duke Fishman" used to call me, "Champ"!