The Fantasy: Interview with Pete Douglas (1979) Part III

(At this point, Pete had moved to Menlo Park with his wife, Pat, and their daughter, Linda).

June: And then you moved to the Coastside?

Pete: Well, to give you a little background on that, I was going nuts in Menlo Park; you know, isolated, we didn’t know anybody. You are socially in, or you are nowhere, you know Menlo Park. I like Palo Alto, but I wasn’t happy with the job, that was it.

It was the summer of 1957, a hot day in Menlo Park, and it was night, and I thought: I have to get out of here. So the light bulb flashed on and it was I’ve got to get back to the beach and everything will be all right—especially after a year-and-a-half of Vacaville; it was– I just had to get back to the beach.

That very next day I grabbed Linda (Pete’s daughter) and tore out to Half Moon Bay looking for something on the beach. Now, I had only been out there once or twice, and like most people, I had no idea what was around.

Then I drove to Miramar and saw this road, and I crossed the bridge and saw the old Miramar Hotel and kept driving and found this place (the Ebb Tide Café). It was for sale.

I wasn’t thinking of buying, just renting, and I pulled up in front. There wasn’t a fence. It was just a yellow stucco building sitting in a bunch of weeds. Pulled up and the windows were soaped up with something and I got out to peer into the windows.

There was the bar and the old fluorescent lights and the hamburger grill, and I looked in there, and obviously it was a commercial place. Beer joint, hamburger joint, something.

I was just going to get back in the car and keep driving—but then Linda jumped out—she was 3-years-old, barely, always moving fast. My back was turned and she was in the garage over there (he pointed across next door).

Over there was old Charlie Jacobs, he had retired and built a house with his wife Mary. They were retired except for speculating on land. I ran into the garage after Linda and started chatting with Charlie. He saw me looking at this building, and he said: :’Why don’t you buy it? You ought to buy that building”.

I said I’ve got to have a place to live but the idea of running a little joint appealed to me—because, after all, the fantasy of every former beatnik or beat type would be an espresso coffee shop.

Not that I had that directly in mind, but that was the fantasy…to drop out and run your own little joint. Including crafts, arts, anything.

Charlie Jacobs says, ‘You can live in it’– he says there’s a bedroom back there and a separate bathroom with a shower. I said, Ok, I’d like to see inside. He says Mrs. Hastings, who I incidentally work with right now (1979), I still have my real estate license. Mrs. Hastings, who owns Sandpiper Realty, had a real estate sign out there. We walked right over there and “Liz” said, ‘Yep, Grandma Treadwell wants $12,500.’

But it had been on the market for a year—nobody around here wanted the dump (ed. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Mirada Road!).

We offered $8,000 and Grandma Treadwell accepted $8,500. And she took the mortgage because no one would finance it. It was rough but that’s how we got the Ebb Tide Café.