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Growing Up In San Diego Circa 1990

Life as a kid in San Diego sure is sweet. Having grown up a true San Diego native, I've realized it is kind of like being a sasquatch. People have heard of us, but no one knows for sure if we exist. Born at Scripps Hospital La Jolla in 1984; I started life in America’s Finest City and had no idea just how fine it was. I spent my weekends playing at the beach, attending Padres games at “The Murph,” and going to awesome events like the Wavecrest Woodie Meet in Encinitas. Sounds rough, doesn’t it? Basically my life as a rugrat in San Diego consisted of sun, outside activities, and learning to love this incredible community. Granted it was hard not to love this City when every day was packed with great weather, happy neighbors, and a strong sense of local pride. I just assumed every other kid around the world was growing up the same way I was, until I became an adult and realized I really do live where other people vacation.

Summer in San Diego made for a lot of great memories and one I will never forget was my first concert at the Del Mar Fair (now known as the San Diego County Fair). In 1990, at the tender age of six, my Dad took me to see his favorite band, Steppenwolf. While other little girls were into Mariah Carey or Deee-Lite, I was sitting atop my 6’4” father’s shoulders in front of the crowd, hands over my ears, watching leather-clad rockers as I soaked in the surroundings.  All smiles, I lasted only a few songs before the sound was too much and I convinced my dad to take me on the Ferris Wheel instead. Every time I hear “Born To Be Wild” I am taken back to the Fair, the blaring guitar and swaying crowd reminding me of childhood in San Diego. When we weren’t busy at a concert, we were hitting the rides. Wednesdays and Thursdays at the San Diego County Fair were Pepsi-Pay-One-Price-Ride days and all of the local San Diego kids took full advantage. We ate funnel cake and spun around on the Gravitron until we were sick. All the while, oblivious to the fact that we were not only having the time of our lives, but doing so in one of the most beautiful places in the world - Del Mar, CA.

If we weren’t at the fair, a warm San Diego Summer day consisted of strapping on my favorite pair of overalls over a bathing suit and a pair of black Converse shoes. Then it was time for a bike ride to the beach on my Schwinn with my my best friend.  As North County San DIego kids we’d usually head to Cardiff State Beach or Moonlight for a fun day splashing in the waves, making new friends, catching sandcrabs, and playing frisbee. It was all about the carefree lifestyle and our only concern was how to ride our bikes back up the giant hill to get ice-cream at the Thrifty Drug Store.

As a kid in San Diego, my most prized possessions were my San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld annual passes. It seemed like a normal everyday activity to scope out the endangered animals at the Zoo or Safari Park. My family and I layed out our park maps, scanned the newest issue of ZooNooz Magazine and decided which part of the Zoo or Safari Park we wanted to conquer that day. With annual passes, it was a great way to enjoy an afternoon and if we didn’t see what we wanted that time around, we’d just go back the next weekend. Our San Diego Zoo trips were always capped with a ride on the Balboa Park carousel and a quick lounge under the giant Moreton Bay Fig tree.  

Looking back at my childhood, I realize just how lucky I am to have grown up here. As an adult, the majority of my neighbors have transplanted to San Diego after experiencing just a pinch of what this city has to offer, but I grew up in the middle of it all. The beaches of San Diego created my love for surfing, the ocean, and sea life. The mountains fueled my desire to camp, hike, and explore the wilderness, and the bustling city taught me to keep an open mind and love my neighbors. San Diego is a home I am proud of. It has shaped who I am today and I am so grateful to have grown up in “America’s Finest City.” Not much has changed now that I’m an adult and whether I am exploring the Space Museum, taking a walk on the Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, or driving to Julian for apple-pie, life is always good in sunny San Diego.