ORAL HISTORY: Lloyd Murray – Early Lifeguard & Surfers

Lloyd Murray

July 7, 1992

Lloyd:  Now, where do you start?  The first man came to Seal Beach about ten thousand years ago.  Do you want to start there?

Libby:  Start with a particular year in your memory you would like to talk about.  You mentioned previously that there was a dark side of Seal Beach . . . there were circumstances that maybe some people don’t like to talk about.

Lloyd:   We’ve got to start with the government.  You’ve got to remember at one time there was nobody here, there were no people.  There were just sand dunes and then real slowly a few Indians showed up.  So you’ve got a sand dune period, then you have an Indian period.  I have a short little outline.  If I had to give a lecture on Seal Beach or if I had to teach a class called Seal Beach 1A, I would start with the birth of Seal Beach.  I would have the geological information and then I would have the early people (that is not I.W. Hellman), that would be the Indians that wandered in here about 1,000 years ago.  Well, they’ve found remains here that were over 1,000 years old.  The Spanish named them the Gabrielino Indians.

            The next subject would be the . . . I would call them “All the King’s Men”–the        Spaniards.  They represented the King of Spain.  There was a big period when the Spanish came in.  Then there were the explorers and the   missionaries.  Then, in time, Mexico took over.  They beat the French and this is why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  Then we had a big Mexican period.  Then I would like to talk about the period of the “Rascals and the Scoundrels”.  Those were all the people who were out to make money.  They screwed the Mexicans and they screwed the Spanish and they screwed the Indians.  They took all the land and exploited it.  Our great founders of Seal Beach, guys like Hellman, Ord, and Stanton.   Up to about 1900 nobody knew the word “environmental” or “Indian rights”, so early landowners tried to make as much money as they could off the land.  They built Seal Beach with the purpose of making money.  In those days when the “Rascals and Scoundrels” wanted some property, they found out who owned it, then they would get them to borrow money and when they couldn’t pay on time, they would foreclose on the loan and take the property away.  That’s the way Seal Beach came into the hands of the early landowners.

Libby:   How would this land grab work?

Lloyd:   A group of men decided that they could buy Seal Beach for . . . I forget how much, $12,000 or somewhere in there.  If they could sell lots for $100 each, they could get most of their money back.  They formed the Bayside Land Company.  If they could

get you to buy a lot for $200, they would say, “OK, $100 now and then you pay me $25 a month.”  When people couldn’t pay it, they would foreclose and end up getting

           their money and the land back.  These kind of people were our founding fathers of           Seal Beach.

Libby:   Weren’t the first houses built just for beach houses where people would build shacks to stay in for the summer?

Lloyd:   At the very first they did, when you would buy a lot for $200.  There was no city here and there was no building code.  You could come down and you could put a tent up.  You have to realize there was no air conditioning.  Take a town like Anaheim . . . it was very hot in the summer and there’s no way to get out of the heat.  The German farmers were living out there.  They would swelter all summer but they brought their produce down to the little harbor here where the Navy base is located now.  They needed lumber and say, hardware . . . things they couldn’t produce.  Lumber would come in from Oregon and Washington.  They needed it to build barns and houses.  They would have machinery shipped from Germany.  They had a few things to sell themselves.  Anaheim was a German colony and one of the reasons they settled there was that they were very interested in making wine.  So they determined it was good land for growing grapevines.  Wine is very easy to put in big kegs and ship it anywhere in the world.  They had a lot of sheep and the wool of the sheep was very valuable.  They raised cattle and would just ship the hides.  About this time shoe manufacturing in England and Boston became very big.  They could make hams you could preserve by smoking.  They could make wine, they could make wool, they had hides and they needed an outlet for all that so they would haul it down to the beach here.  When they got down to the beach, lo and behold, they found out it was nice and cool.  It wasn’t anything like it was back in Anaheim.  So when they found out they could buy a lot for $200, the early Germans bought lots.  Then when they came down to bring their stuff to Anaheim Landing to ship it out, they would bring their families and stay a few days.  They found they could put a tent on the lot they owned or build a little shack . . . which would never pass any building inspection code of Seal Beach now.  Pretty soon there were quite a few shacks around town and the developers were still selling land.  They would run ads in the paper and tell you to take the red car down here from LA. and for $2 they would give you a free lunch and show you what bargains they had.  They would advertise that Seal Beach was the safest swimming anywhere on the coast.  They used to call riptides “undertows” in those days.  “The only beach with no undertow, the safest place for women and children to swim.”  They had an office at that time where “Grandma’s” is now, on Main Street.

Libby:   Was it a brick building?

Lloyd:  Yes, a brick building.  It was on an angle that cut right across that corner.  Originally, it was the Bayside Land office.  Then, somewhere near the turn of the century, in 1904 they put the red car in.  Now, where everybody is confused, they think the red car came down Ocean Blvd. and then down Main Street.  Well, it didn’t.  The red car came down Electric, through Seal Beach and through the Navy base and straight down to Newport.

Libby:   The brick building wasn’t a railroad station at one time, was it?

Lloyd:   You’re right.  It was a railroad station.  I’ll tell you about it in a minute.  Somewhere around 1900 they built the pier and a big roller coaster and called it the “Derby”.  An amusement park was added down where the “Tot Lot” is now.  They built all this so they could encourage people to come to Seal Beach so they could sell them lots.  Long Beach had a very small electric trolley car system called “The Long Beach Electric Transit”.  The people in Long Beach called it “The Dinky Line” because it was a small electric car that pulled a carrier with a bunch of people sitting in it.  Sort of like an electric horse and buggy.  The Long Beach Transit built the line right down Ocean and they put a trestle right where the old power plant used to be.

Libby:  Through the Long Beach peninsula?

Lloyd:   Right down the peninsula, on Ocean Boulevard . . . it would have run right through Captain Jack’s front yard.  When it came down to Main Street, the line turned left and went up to Electric Avenue.  There, you see, you could be at the amusement park or Anaheim Landing or on to Newport.  Anaheim Landing was a little resort all of its own down there.  They had a bathhouse.  Then of course the red cars were coming down.  There was an excursion train running down from Santa Ana.  The tracks are still in to this day.  They run across the Navy base now.  That was called the “Anaheim/Anaheim Landing RR”.  It ran from the landing, also.  They ran excursion trains down from Santa Ana every weekend. 

              Eventually all this was to the benefit of making this into a real town.  There were no lifeguards then.  When the Indians were here, nobody cared.  But, when they were trying to sell lots, they advertised the place as the safest beach in the world.  It didn’t make much difference until somebody drowned and then they decided to hire lifeguards.  They didn’t really want a professional lifeguard but only someone they could pay 10¢ an hour.  So, if somebody drowned they could point to the lifeguard and say, “Well, there’s the lifeguard.  It’s his fault if somebody drowned, not mine.”  That’s the way it was pretty much when I came to work here.

Libby:   In what year was Earl Whittington hired?  He is said to have been the first lifeguard in Seal Beach.

Lloyd:   He was hired in about 1920.  Here’s what happened with the lifeguards.  They decided they needed a lifeguard, so they found somebody who lived up in Long Beach.  His name was Ray Gise.  He was a pretty good swimmer so he was hired to come down on weekends and sit down on the beach near the pier.  Anaheim Landing was a very nice bay with a tent city (about where Chi Kredell’s house is now).  There was a tent city in Surfside about where A Row is now.  Those tent cities were just a raised floor with a tent siding and a roof and a door you could open and close with a couple of cots and little gas stove with a table and two chairs.  People would come down on weekends and they would rent a place and bring their families and spend a week or two.  Then everybody would play in the bay.  Then about 1920, during the spring break/Easter Week, a bunch of young men who were in a fraternity at UCLA decided to come down and rent a cabin.  You know what young men were like during spring break?

Libby:   The same then as now.

Lloyd:   They drink beer all day and play cards all night.  Well, a group of them were drinking vast quantities of beer and stayed up all night.  One day there was a high tide.  A lot of water would back up into what is called Huntington Harbour now.  When the tide changes you have a lot of water that comes rushing out the entrance.  They were all in a boat drinking beer and they got caught in this tide change.  All of a sudden, they were being sucked out to sea.  They got out to about the entrance of where the Navy base is now.  The boat upset and I believe four of them drowned.  So right away

              The Register and the Press Telegram all jumped on the story.  They were saying, “Well, what’s going on down there in Seal Beach.  You’ve got the ‘safest beach in the world’ and four people drown.  How come?”  So, whoever made the decisions in Seal Beach said, “We need a lifeguard down there.”  They hired Earl Whittington to be the lifeguard. They also hired his brother.  He had about four brothers.

Libby:   When did Ray Gise come to be hired as a lifeguard?

Lloyd:   Ray Gise was still sitting down on the beach next to the pier while this was all going on.  He was a lifeguard but they hadn’t made it official.  There wasn’t a city council or a chief like Andy Seymore is now.  When I first went down the first day, the guy I worked for was an old dirt farmer and he grew up on a farm all his life.  He had a little bit of an “Okie” accent.  He said, “Now you go down there and sit on the beach down there, Lloyd, and you’ve got yourself a nice job for the whole summer.  Just don’t cause any trouble.  Don’t do anything that will reflect on me.”  He was afraid of his job.  “Don’t do anything wrong down there.  You just sit there and watch the water and if any of those people down there need help, you go down and help them get in.”  Well, this guy didn’t even know how to swim and he was my boss.  I said, “Well, what time should I start work?”  He said, “Oh, just get here in the morning and when it gets late, just go on home.”  I said, “Well, where do I watch?  Do I watch the pier or what section of the beach?”  He said, “You watch from Long Beach down here to the Navy base–from jetty to jetty.  You’re the lifeguard–you’re in charge.”

Libby:   You’re the only one?

Lloyd:   I’m the only one.  Now, I’d like to point out that this guy was the chief of police, he’s what you would call chief of the lifeguards, he was also the dog catcher.  By city charter, he was the Seal Beach dog catcher.  In those days everybody wore a lot of hats.  I’m surprised he wasn’t Fire Chief.  In those days the lifeguards were in charge of the beach and you didn’t have any help.  If you saw something you didn’t like, you stopped it.  If there was a lost kid, you took care of the situation, and if they cut their foot, you took care of that.  Ray Gise is sitting at the pier.

Libby:   Where is Earl Whittington during this time?

Lloyd:   Oh, he’s over at Anaheim Landing because they’ve had drownings over there.  About this time the Navy comes along and says they’re taking over Anaheim Landing.  This is about 1941.  Anaheim Landing belongs to the Navy now.  They dredged it out and brought the boats in to load ammunition on.  So, real rapidly, this eliminated Earl Whittington’s job as lifeguard at Anaheim Landing.

Libby:   So, Ray Gise and Earl Whittington were working as lifeguards at the same time?

Lloyd:   Yes, working at the same time.  One at the pier and one at Anaheim Landing.  I assumed Ray Gise could get better pay at the shipyard than he could as a lifeguard.  So, anyway, he disappeared into the sunset and this left just Earl at the main beach.  In 1942, I was going to high school when we moved here.  One day, I was walking down the beach and came upon the lifeguard.  He was not Earl Whittington or Ray Gise.  It was another guy who was helping Earl by the name of Ray Clark.  I went up and started talking to Ray Clark.  I had done a little lifeguarding up in Hermosa Beach at one time and I knew a little bit about it. 

            I knew that some cities put on extra lifeguards in the summer.  I knew I had the summer.  I had just graduated from high school and I had no job and I knew it would be better to be a lifeguard than anything I could think of.  Ray Clark was a real nice, friendly guy but he wasn’t really a lifeguard.  He worked for the city, though.  I asked the lifeguard, “Do you ever hire extra lifeguards for the summer?”  He said, “Yes, we do and as a matter of fact, we are looking for someone right now.”  Now, every town on the coast I knew, like Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, all these other towns, they have a big test.  The guards have to swim a long distance and run and swim and then they would add all their scores up, then pick the top score.  I asked the guy if they had a test for guards.  I thought maybe I could pass the test and get on.  So he said, “The way you get to be a lifeguard is to go up to the city hall and you talk to the Chief of Police, and if he wants to hire you, he hires you.” 

              Now, I didn’t know a thing about Seal Beach.  I just moved here.  So, I wandered up to the police station, walked in . . . first of all, I didn’t know that the lifeguards of Seal Beach were 100% political.  If your father was a councilman, you were a lifeguard.  If your father was a buddy of the Chief, you were a lifeguard.  If your father asked the Chief, you were a lifeguard.  What I didn’t know is that my father was a buddy of the Chief.  It’s hard to believe it was this way, but in the ’40’s, before the freeways and Caltrans, the Automobile Club of Southern California put up all the street signs.  Boulevard stop signs, directional signs, all these signs you see that Caltrans puts up now, the Automobile Club of Southern California put them up.  If the mayor’s wife got mad because somebody almost ran into her at 8th and Ocean, the mayor will come to the Chief and say, “I want a stop sign at 8th and Ocean, right now.”  The Chief would call the Automobile Club of Southern California and get one in there.  My father was the manager of the Automobile Club in Long Beach and I didn’t know that he talked to the Chief on a daily basis.  So, I walk into City Hall and say I want to talk to the Chief.  My name is the same as my father’s.  So, when the secretary tells him Lloyd Murray wants to talk to him, he comes shootin’ out of his office like a rocket.  “What can I do for you, Mr. Murray?” he says as he’s pumping my hand.  I said, “I understand you may be looking for some more lifeguards.”  He says, “Well, we may be.  Just come in here and sit down.”  So I come in and sit down in his office.  He never asked me if I knew how to swim.  That wasn’t important.  Just where I lived, maybe my age.

Libby:   Where did you live then?

Lloyd:   I lived on 13th and Seal Way.  They didn’t hire people who didn’t live in Seal Beach then.  When they decided they needed a lifeguard originally, the city charter would say that the council was to hire a police chief who would hire a police department and maintain a police department, which would enforce the law and provide for public safety.  So someone on down the line decides that lifeguards are public safety.  So, the Chief of Police would be in charge of the lifeguards.  So, they give him a little budget.  He said he didn’t know how to swim and in fact he said he had never been in the ocean in his life.  So, he is in charge of the beach.  He said, “Don’t worry, maybe we’ll be able to use you.”  So, that’s how I got on.  All political, no tests.   Fortunately, I knew how to swim very well and I had participated as a lifeguard at Hermosa Beach when I was younger.  They had like a Junior Lifeguard program like they have here now, where they would let you be a lifeguard helper.  Now and then I would get to be able to get a hamburger for him or a Coke.  Mostly, I would run and get some girl’s phone number he liked that was sitting on the beach.  Well, we didn’t really have any problems that summer. 

              Then the next thing I know, I get a little letter in the mail.   “Dear Mr. Murray . . . Greetings from your draft board.  We want you.”  I went in the service for a couple of years.  I went out and fought in the war.  I didn’t really fight, though.  I had a couple of fights in a bar in Seattle but that’s about all.  When the war was over, there was kind of a  . . . I’ll call it a “national movement.”  “Let’s rehire the veteran!”  I was in the Navy on the Manila on my 19th birthday.  So, I go up to see the old Chief still up in his office, wringing his hands, worrying about getting laid off.  He was scared to death of the crooked politicians, like Al Leonard.  They had a lot of councilmen who were involved in the gambling.  There were a number of councilmen who were on the take for whatever they could get out of the gambling.

Libby:   Well, they needed the tax money from gambling, as that was their biggest revenue at that time.

Lloyd:   Well, they needed the money, all right . . . to line their pockets.  The council was kept in to retain gambling.  Anyway, I came back to the Chief and I said, “Hey, Chief, I’m right out of the Navy (I might even have worn my uniform).  How about putting me back on as a lifeguard?”  He said, “You know what?  One guy is just quitting, so I have an opening.”  So I went back down to the beach and saw that Earl Whittington is still there looking at the water.  I went to work for him for awhile.  As soon as Labor Day came, the city closed the lifeguard station.  During the winter the beach was essentially closed.  You could go down there if you wanted to, but nobody went and there was no need for any lifeguards according to the Chief who had a very limited budget.  You see, he had this budget and if he went over the budget the councilmen might fire him, or whatever.  He didn’t want to spend all of his money.  To get a box of Bandaids for the beach was a major ordeal with him.  So when I was working on the beach I had to tell him that there were too many people on the beach.  I had to make eight rescues in one day and I was worried for the safety of the people.  I told him I couldn’t be at headquarters and First Street at the same time.  I told him we needed another lifeguard down there so I could put somebody else at the other end of the beach.  He replied, “Well, I don’t know.  We can’t afford to put a bunch of lifeguards down there.  We don’t have the money for that.”  So anyway, he sent some kid down.

              One day he brought Charles Hasley down.  Charles Hasley’s mother was the secretary for the city clerk.  A guy named Heckman, Freddie Heckman, was the city clerk.  His secretary was Mrs. Hasley.  Mr. Hasley was the minister of the Baptist Church.  So they had a little bit of a pull.  Charles was a nice, big, strong, strapping boy and he could swim very well.  Everybody was worried because their kids were going surfing all the time, now.  Some parents wanted to see some more lifeguards down there.  So the next thing you know, here comes the Chief with Charles and says, “Here’s a new lifeguard.”  I didn’t turn down any new guy because we needed somebody.  Well, Charles didn’t want to go up to First Street.  He’d say, “I’m not going to go up to First Street, send Haley.”  Then I’d say, “Haley was up there yesterday.”  He’d say, “I’m not going to go up there, I was up there three times last week.”  Charles would argue and argue and argue. 

              So some of those guys were just a little bit of a discipline problem.  If they wanted to go talk to the girls, they would talk to the girls and I couldn’t follow them around all day and tell them to come back.  I didn’t have an awful lot of authority.  I didn’t have the power to hire and fire on the spot.  I had to get along with these guys in order to run the beach safely.  That was my first concern.  So one day I came to the conclusion that the few that I had hired myself, personally, should do what I told them.  But the ones that the Chief brought down to me and said, “This is your new lifeguard,” were all discipline problems.  My guys that I hired were no trouble. 

              You wanted to know about Jack Haley.  I knew Jack because he worked at the umbrella stand on the beach.  I remember him as kind of a smart-mouthed little kid.  So one day as I was signing in at City Hall (we had to sign-in every day before work), the Chief asked me to come into his office and he says, “Do you know a young man by the name of Jack Haley?”  I had just tried to punch his lights out the day before because he had poured a Coke into my radio.  I had a portable radio sitting on the beach next to the guard station.  He went walking by and just poured a Coca-Cola right into it.  I jumped up and if I had hit him, I would have killed him.  So I said, “Yes, I know him, I know him very well.”  The Chief says, “Well, I’m thinking about hiring him and putting him on the beach down there as a lifeguard.”  Again, I don’t want to say no to any lifeguard from the Chief because we needed them desperately.  We only had about two lifeguards on the Fourth of July when there would be about 20,000 people on the beach–me and one lifeguard.  I said, “Well, don’t hire him.  He would be totally of no value down there.  I’d rather not even have him.”  I didn’t know it, but the Chief and Mr. Haley belonged to the Masonic Lodge in Seal Beach.  They were Masonic Lodge brothers.  They were friends and Jack’s father was very concerned because he felt that Jack was heading in the wrong direction.  Jack wouldn’t work and would come home smelling of “green death”.  All he wanted to do was surf but his father wanted to see him get a job somewhere.  I think his father thought I was kind of a disciplinarian. 

              I got Jack that way, but the other guys like Chi Kredell, I hired purposely.  I can remember that like yesterday.  It was a Fourth of July weekend and I worked the Fourth of July or the day before until about 8:00 at night.  That’s when we had the fire rings down there.  Someone said there was some trouble around the fire rings.  I went down there and there were about eight Latinos who weren’t too friendly.  I tried to tell them that they should quit drinking wine and that they should pick up their guitars and watermelons and leave.  I got kind of backed up against the wall and it was a little nerve-wracking, to say the least.  I felt like I was going to get mobbed by a gang of Mexicans. 

              I was sitting on the beach the next day, which was the Fourth of July and I knew I needed another lifeguard.  I told the Chief and he said if I find anybody, to “send them up if you decide this is a guy you want.”  Chi had the reputation of being the toughest kid in town.  He was a one-kid wave of destruction.  He would punch people’s lights out left and right.  He was big and husky and strong and I knew he wasn’t a real good swimmer but he knew about riptides and currents and what to look out for.  He was extremely husky, strong and tough.  I was sitting on the beach thinking, “I need somebody if we had a problem.”  That’s what was kicking around in my mind when Chi comes running around the corner and says, “Hi, Lloyd.”  I said, “Hey, Chi, come here and sit down.  Have you ever thought of becoming a lifeguard in Seal Beach?”  Of course all the kids at that time thought this was the greatest fantasy they could have . . . was to be a lifeguard.

Libby:   What year was this?

Lloyd:   This was about 1949.  Chi said, “Well, I had always hoped I could some day, but I didn’t know how I could go about being one.”  I said, “Tell you what, kid.  I need a lifeguard right now, this weekend.  Would you like the job?”  He said, “Yeah, I’d love to.”  I said, “Chi, the pay is $1.25 an hour,” which is more than he ever made in his life.  I said, “If you’d like to be a lifeguard, go up to City Hall and ask for the Chief.  Tell him that I sent you.”  He was 16 years old at the time.  So he took off running and within about a minute he comes running back, puffing and he says, “Hey, you know, he just told me I was hired right now, that I’m a lifeguard.”  I said, “OK, sit down and start watching the water.”  So he sits down and he was a regular lifeguard from then on.  Chi was a very polite kid.  It took awhile before I could get him to quit calling me Mr. Murray.  If I told Chi to go up to First Street and watch the water, he would just march right up there and sit there until I told him to come back. 

              Now, Jack was a good guard.  He had enough brains that I could reason with him.  I’d say, “Jack, I need you to go to First Street.  I need you because there’s a bad riptide up there.  Long Beach had eight rescues yesterday and almost had a drowning so we need a guard badly.  It’s very important that you go up there.  I could explain to Jack and he would say, “OK.”  He would do what I told him.  He was really a cut above the other guards as to intelligence.  It was possible to reason with him.  But some of those guys would sit around and argue with me about where they were going to go for the day.  You see, they all wanted to stay at the headquarters because that’s where all the beach bunnies were . . . like you and the rest of them who were coming down.

Libby:   I heard they would have parties in the main lifeguard house at night.

Lloyd:   Well, the Chief found out about that and made them put a stop to it.  Yeah, they had a couch in there and brought the girls in.  Maybe you were one of them?

Libby:   No, I wasn’t allowed out after dark.

Lloyd:   The amazing thing is that there were very few lifeguards even on a very busy day.  Maybe me and two or three others.  We didn’t even have a loudspeaker on the pier.  There were no jeeps.  There were no ATV’s, no four-wheel drive trucks.

Libby:   But there were not the people on the beach like there are now.  Was there ever a drowning?

Lloyd:   Well, here’s a story.  Up at First Street, when the power plant was still there, the big DWP power plant.  They drew water into the plant to use as a cooler and hot water was pumped out.  So they had some little channels where water was being sucked out.  At tide change there was a tremendous amount of water coming out.  Remember, I told you about the drowning at Anaheim Landing–the four guys who got caught in the tide change?  If you go up there to where the yachts go in and out at the channel to Alamitos Bay Marina, you will see the rise of water go all the way up the river and during low tide all that water has to run out.  There is so much current or water flow going out to sea again.  There was a time when we had a very, very high tide going to a very, very low tide with some very big surf with a tremendous amount of current in there. 

              I knew it was a bad situation. So, I told the Chief, “Well, we’ve got a bad situation.”  I liked to stay at headquarters because I thought I was better at first aid.  So, what I liked to do was to have three guys and myself–me and my assistant, Dick Thomas–at headquarters.  If I had to leave for some reason, there would be a strong lifeguard at headquarters.  I liked to have me and another guy there.  It could be Dick Thomas or Haley.  It could be any skilled lifeguard.  Then I liked to send one guy down to Dolphin Avenue to sit on a blanket to watch that end of the beach.  I would send another guy up to First Street and he would watch that end of the beach.  So, we needed four guys to adequately staff the beach.  When I went in to see the Chief at the police station, he said, “You’re only going to have three people today, you and two others.”  I said, “Chief, I have to have more.  I have to have a fourth guy.”  He says, “I’m over the budget right now and if I go over the budget, Al Leonard is going to be yelling at me and I can’t have a lifeguard down there any time you want it.  It doesn’t look like you really need it down there anyway.”  He doesn’t know anything about the ocean or the surf or tides or currents.  He just decided we didn’t need another lifeguard.  I said, “If you don’t put somebody on for me to put up at First Street, somebody is going to drown!”  He says, “There’s so many people going to drown each year anyway.”  I just walked out in a stew.  And it wasn’t two minutes when Long Beach called up and said, “Hey, we just had a drowning down there in your part of the beach.”  (They didn’t like us because we never manned First Street.)  Of course, Long Beach wanted to say it originated in Seal Beach because they didn’t want a drowning in their jurisdiction.  So, I went down there and sure enough some kid had drowned.  I had the pleasure of bringing the body in . . . about a 16-year old Mexican kid.  I felt real, real bad looking at that kid lying there on the beach and realized that if I had grabbed the Chief by the necktie and punched him, I might have gotten my extra lifeguard.  That’s the only regret I have of almost 20 years of lifeguarding.  The kid got caught in a riptide and got sucked out in some big surf out there and went under and that was the end of him. That’s the only drowning I ever saw.  But they were real lucky with their lack of equipment and the lack of all the professionalism they have now.  They were real lucky they had some excellent lifeguards.  All those guys were excellent lifeguards, all good swimmers and they all knew the water.

Libby:   All those lifeguards in the ’50’s became teachers.  One a fireman and Mayor of Seal Beach, one an entrepreneur and restaurant owner, you became an engineer.  There were some very intelligent kids working as lifeguards.

Lloyd:   Yes, we were very lucky we picked guys that worked out well.  I was going to college the whole time I was lifeguarding.

Libby:   They are all friends now in the ’90’s, aren’t they?

Lloyd:   They are all friends but only about four of them really see each other regularly now.  Andy Seymour was more quiet and wasn’t one of the “wild Indians”.  He didn’t go out and drink “big red” and do all the wild things the other guys did.

Libby:   Well, I’ll put our interview to a close now, and I want to thank you very much for your time and extremely interesting stories of Seal Beach.  Thanks for the “big red”.  It is very good . . . or was that “green death”?

Interviewed & Transcribed by Libby Appelgate      

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