Thirty years ago Terry Baldwin (now longtime owner, along with talented wife, Eve, of the luxurious Mill Rose Inn, surrounded by lush rose gardens in Half Moon Bay–to die for) was planting up a storm at the magician’s house (the Channing & Corri Pollock home) overlooking the glorious Pacific in Moss Beach.
Neil Young, the legendary rocker, lives here on the Half Moon Bay Coastside. Enjoy this wonderful photo of him fooling around with local carpenters and craftsmen–including my ex-husband, John, at far right– taken some 30 years ago.
Look for Neil Young in the center, seated on the framing, third from the left.
I don’t know what I’m celebrating here–this photo was taken in 1995, the last time the famous “Slide” was closed for months and months and months. My Burt is convinced he was in the last car to drive over the scenic road before it was shut down on a sloppy, rainy night.
One reassuring thing: Almost every person in a car driving north of Half Moon Bay on Hwy 1 belongs on the Coastside–you know they’re headed for home, a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Here’s what our friends on the other side of the hill are saying:
Overheard: Man to woman: “My wife has a friend in Moss Beach and she says you can’t drive to Half Moon Bay until after 11 a.m.–and JUST FORGET about going over there on the weekends.”
At Right: Devil’s Slide in healthier days (1981)
The two sides of Fayden as he relaxes in my “old” backyard ” 30 years ago when, as he says, “we were all hanging out”– in the background a snap-together geodesic dome “invented” by my ex.
Fayden played with a rock group; was it The Turtles?
Patricia Erickson (PE): We do have those moments when fog can drive one crazy. We do have winter winds when although the sun is beautiful, the winds can be fierce and wet.
There’s been development but not nearly what it could be. Let’s face it: you’re just a stone’s throw from over the hill each way. So in ten years time there have been some people who’ve come in but they have to be a certain kind of person who are going to stay here–or they leave.
And we haven’t developed the way an area like this–easily accessible to places–would develop. A lot of people could say that’s the freeway, yes….people who want a freeway aren’t going to come here.
Gene Fleet (GF): The feeling from this side of the hill to other side of the hill is so different–in that the mountains are barriers, physical barriers–it’s because there are roads to the coastside–and yet, when talking with people on the other side of the hill, on the peninsula, if I would say, ‘I’m from the coastside’, to them that would be so far away. And certainly not a place where they would live.
They admire the fact that I am able to live so far away from where it’s “happening”. And for them they certainly couldn’t…They rarely drive over here…even people who come to the beaches aren’t the same folks although I notice the coastside changes on weekends. The coastside is really very accommodating.
This is the ocean; it isn’t owned by anybody. This ocean is a part of the earth and it just happens this is a very special point where the ocean meets the land surface–and there’s a quality of energy when two force fields come together….
I have felt the energy of the coastside as being very strong and independent…and that the coastside coule live autonomously from the rest of what we know as civilization around here.
I had an experience once when I felt this section of the coastside separating and becoming an island from Devil’s Slide to Ano Nuevo….and so we were cut off from the north and south and east. There’s the San Andreas Fault and San Gregorio Fault out at sea. This provides an isolated unit–and with the right shift we could be our own little autonomous unit out here.
PE: I think the mountains know–on an energy level they know…I feel we’re so well taken care of here on the visible levl, even on a spiritual level, we are quite well taken care of.
GF: I feel eccentric people are still here but they’re not the eccentric people who were here before. I feel the coastside will always be a haven for eccentric people. Maybe they’ve moved on, or just died here on the coastside, their energy is still here.
Eccentric people who are here now are different and some other folks have moved on. That in a way makes it a place people come to and go through are a part of the process of being here, of being human. And for some of us, it means being on the coastside for a period of time.
Two years ago I left to go to a community in Scotland called Findhorn, and, at that ime I felt ‘I’m leaving the coastside’. My 7-year cycle had completed, and then this Christmas when I returned– it was just to visit–and, yet here I am still, six months later…I’m still here…
PE: I’m not sure all the people who leave the coast come back–but people who are tuned in on that particular energy level feel a pulling back to the coastside.
There’s a certain type of person that seems to live here, and I can’t actually tell you what this kind of person is, except that they are an autonomous type of person.
They can deal with being their own person and with being alone. Being alone but still having to be within community because we have to function together here on the coastside uniquely. So alone and together which is really what the dance is.
You might say that we live in an oyster and just pick our pearls out….
I’m not a geologist but really feel this area is protected. I also feel I am very protected….
Bob Mascall was handsome as a movie star and the founder of one of the coolest stores in Half Moon Bay in the late 1970s. Called Buffalo Shirt, which was clever enough, Bob, a manly and very married man, learned to sew and with his new skill brought life to the hearty canvas bagâand emerged as one of the very few male merchants on Main Street.
I met with Bob Mascall when Buffalo Shirt was housed within the sweetly named Tin Palace, (formerly a rundown old building which he renovated) on the south side of Half Moon Bayâs historic concrete bridge.
(What sticks out in my mind are the long lines of locals standing in front of Buffalo Shirt, the line stretching âround the corner with folks patiently waiting for the front door to open. This was not a regular store day but Buffalo Shirtâs annual saleâwhich was more like a big town event. By then Mascall not only sold the coveted canvas bags but quality handmade woolen jackets and shirts and socks from Ireland. He flew there with his stewardess wife to choose and purchase the lovely soft goods).
But when I talked to Bob it was all about canvas bags. He learned to sew at Half Moon Bay High School, he told me, adding that ” the first thing I made was a miniature log carrier.â?
After âI learned to thread a needle and after I learned the idiosyncrasies of the sewing machine,â? Bob said, âI was better off spending my time at home,â?
Soon after canvas luggage became his passion and Buffalo Shirt was born.
He showed me white canvas shoulder bags and totes, small, medium and large, with perfect seams.
âI do these by hand,â? Bob told me, â and I think I do it better than anybody in the world.â? I canât sew, how could I dispute that?
âI like to sew but I donât want to sew forever,â? confessed Mascall, then the father of a two-year-old.
When the conversation turned to a brief history of luggage, Bob told me that before the appearance of metal trunks, âpeople carried their things in canvas bags. This is the way people carried things until they started making metal trunks. Today people try to avoid long lines in airports with luggage they can sling over their shoulders. Itâs kind of a âreverse evolutionâ.â?
Bob Mascall may have been prescient. These days you certainly do see more shoulder bags at the airport than metal trunks!
(Note: Sadly, Buffalo Shirt is no longer in Half Moon Bay).