Front Row Seat at a Three Ring Circus


Front Row Seat at a Three Ring Circus

They’re selling posters of the surfers. Celebrities all around.
Developers and real estate, buying up the ground.
Here comes the fire commissioner, the hills are all ablaze.
Sheriffs and their deputies chasing the bums away.
While right-wingers and the lefties fighting in the headline news
Crowds push thru the turnstiles to the three-ring circus blues

Wonderland – the first arena

Miramar by the sea. Look at me. Look at me. Miramar by the sea. What is
beautiful needs no adorning. Blessed be the Gods of Real Estate and
show business, Miramar has been an enclave of the motion picture
industry since the late 1920s when groups of actors, actresses and movie
officials established the Colony, a Pacific Riviera on a mile-long strip
of beach just west of a natural estuary and lagoon. This tract of land, and
golden sands, developed from the massive Fringe estate, a property
spanning 26 miles of scenic beauty along the California Coast Rancho
Miramar built as a farm near the ocean, under the lee of themountains, with
brook trout, wild trees, good soil, and excellent climate. On 13,000 acres of
this SoCal estate the Fringe family built a private railroad, a dam,
commercial dairy, oil wells, a ceramic tile factory, horse ranches and a
family home adjoining one of the most desirable surfing beaches in the
world. From the late 1950s, your narrator’s family homes were built on
Miramar by the sea. Look at me. What is beautiful needs no adorning.

Fire on the Mountain – the second arena

Now ladies and gentlemen, let’s turn our attention to ringmaster Wiley
Timmons here in the center stage where you’ve never seen the frowns on
the jugglers and the clowns while they all do tricks for you. Watch as we
take you down, down, down through the burning rings of fire as the
story of Mira-mar is quickly retold through the history of fire on the
mountain. Over the past 100 years 30 fires have burned thru the hills,
homes and wild life of this beautiful coastal and mountain terrain. At one
time or another, almost 90% the land been has been scorched to the
ground. Over many years, the fires in these hills have seared thru the
Miramar three-ring circus lives of Wiley, his friends, and family.

1928 – Las Flores fire (428 acres)
1930 – Portrero fire (20,000 acres)
1935 – Miramar fire (30,000 acres)
1938 — Pot-anga fire (30,000 acres)
1956 – Sherwood / Zuma (56,000 acres)
1970 – Wright Fire (28,000 acres)

  • There’s smoke on the water, fire in the sky as Wiley drives away to college with a boy’s bindlestiff of books, bags and guitar gazing at a young life gone by thru the haze of a rear-view mirror

1978 – Kanan fire (25,000 acres)
1982 – Dayton fire (43,000 acres)
1993 – Green Meadows (38,000 acres)
1993 – Pot-anga fire (36,000 acres)

  • The house of Wiley’s brother is toast.

1996 – Calabasas fire (12,000 acres)
2007 – Coral canyon (4,500 acres)
2018 – Last and largest, the Woolsey Fire burned in Miramar hills & homes.

The fire ignited, in November burned 96,949 acres
destroying 1,643 structures, killing three people, and
prompting the evacuation of more than 295,000 residents. ¾ of the mountain sanctuary acres were gone.

Home Town News – the third arena

The mega-fire of the devastating Woolsey blaze drew back the curtains
from the decades of Miramar growth and development. Smoke and
mirrors, smoke and mirrors. An awakening for this dyslexic atheist
insomniac who stayed awake all night wondering if there is a dog. A
memory too weird for words (but here we go anyways). Through the lifting
of the smoke, fire, haze and in the ashes of the burn scar emerged the
digital footprint of Miramar daily life. Week by week, year by year, here are
the stories of community life retold in the archives of the Miramar News,
these back pages appearing to a man-child with kaleidoscope eyes.
Naturally, we had to rearrange their pages and give them all another name.
Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear as we enter the
Miramar time machine tumbling, tumbling back thru the headlines
of the weekly home town journal. Picture yourself in a boat on a river…as
we move to the next arena of our three-ring circus.

Horsing Around in Miramar


The Miramar Remuda, a two-day celebration of culture and heritage held September 27-28, 1947, took its name from the corral that vaqueros would use to select a horse for the day. The event featured this impressive display of horses (over 900 riders) on both days, in addition to a circus, a “western bathing beauty contest,” aquatic races, and an air show

Riders and Ropers Christen a Corral
Miramar Queen coronation at gymkhana horse show.
Miramar 4H Plays hosts to horses and celebrities

Nancy and Ron, popular TV and motion picture stars visit a horse show

Building Up the Ground

Brought to you by Propertese God of Real Estate
Ranch sells for 400 pesos (1848)
Beach homes once could be bought for $4500
Atomic Power Plant in Miramar proposed
Hollywood premier for local supermarket opening
Ocean causeway to divert 4-lane highway traffic

Celebritese – God of the Show-Biz Enclave

$1 blue plate special at the Miramar Inn (home of the Shrimp Boat) and
Celebrity gathering spot where photos adorn the walls
Warren Beauty Reports Theft From Parked Car
Stars Hang out at the Tiki Bar
Tiki Bar Drink Menu –

  • Singapore Sling, Planters Punch, Cobra’s Fang, Skull and Bones,      Fog Cutter, Navy Grog and my favorite – the Suffering Bastard

Charles Boyer rents a house
Group Formed for Those who are Really Serious About Being Funny
Ingrid Bergman Dresses up as Joan of Arc
Elizabeth Taylor sports an Easter hat (with Parisian smartness)
Hit Parade Beauty Queen – Peach on the Beach is Out of Reach
Cisco Kid elected Miramar mayor

The Battle for the Headline News

Sputnik Sails over Miramar (11-8-57)
Freedom Document Foundation –
‘A Bible and the Constitution in every American home’
Put the United States Back Together Again. Elect Richard Nixon
It’s Time to Wake Up Americans

  • Frenzied plea of the Communist Party is dedicated to overthrow the USA
    And ‘Bury Us’. The People’s World newspaper urges the defeat of Barry
    Goldwater. What is going on in this country?

RF Kennedy romps in Miramar surf before night of tragedy
Reagan Rally Set / 14 Arrested for Weed Possession
Home town rally for gubernatorial candidate
Local John Birch Members Hold Meeting
Democrats with funny hats
Negro War Hero Seeks Job in Miramar

GOP Women hold a teen essay contest – Why Be a Republican?
The following principles best describe the cornerstone of Republicanism

  1. The individual – a spiritual rational being is the most important element
    of our society.
  2.  Government exists to serve the individual, not the individual to serve
    the government
  3. The individual’s economic needs are best provided by a healthy system
    of free enterprise
  4. The United States must be strong and reliant as an individual nation
    In a world of unstable international relations.

Chasing the Bums Out of Town

Burglar Steals Shave Whisky and Cigarettes
Parsing the local newspaper from ’46 thru ’69 on the derelicts of the Mirarmar town. Here’s the tally – Hobo-2, Beatnik-10, Tramp-25, Hippy-20, Hippies-31, Bums-40.
Studio Group Holds ‘Hobo’ Party at Cove

Lifestyles and Culture Wars

Psychedelic Cult Colony Opens in the Miramar Mountain Canyon

  • Founders envision a community devoted to creative efforts and exchange of
    Ideas. A combination of Summerhill and Synanon. Direct personal
    Confrontation and self-actualized freedom are blended

Psychedelic Cult Colony Closes in the Canyons

  • The Strawberry Patch, a 40 acre tract leased by a small group of persons
    identified with the hippy Movement. 65 persons living in tents and frame

Beatniks Not Seen in Poland Reports Local Veterinarian  
– (president of the Optimists Club)
Woman Slugged by Hippie Type
Hippy Philosophy in 5 short words

  • ‘Some one had to plant and water that flower’
    ‘Oh. I thought they just grew’

Beach Cave Shelters Hippies
Drug-crazed youth goes berserk in Sherriff’s Station
Like Way Out – Is the American Beatnik an Imitation Negro?

Pink Lady in the Nudes (1966).

  • Pink Lady in the News (Nudes). –
    Little Men from Venus Take Credit for Nude Lady Painting
    Gray paint washes over Miramar Canyon painting.

Looking in on a “Happening ”; It’s Wild, Weird, But What is It”?

  • Not wanting to look like squares, but not having the rags to looks like hippies we wore blue jeans and sweat shirts and jazzed it up with big pendants hanging around our necks. I  wanted to wear my granny glasses but no one would go if I did

Marijuana Round-Up Nets 15 Musicians, Hangers on in Pot-anga

  • Buffalo Springfield and Cream
    Five young musicians busted
    10 women detained (16-31 occupations as singer, model, student, entertainer,
    Sculptress, photographer, housewife and public relations girl)

The Fierce Infinity, New Book of Poems, published by Miramar author

Without a Label (side show leaving the arena)

It’s Time for Fun When the Grunion Run – But Use Patience
Big Fish Caught in the Bay Snow blankets Miramar
Woman Falls Asleep; Hits Two Telephone Poles
School bus driver retires after 24 years and 800,00 miles

Miramar Surfers Win at Meet

  • Duke Hawaii Recalls First Surfing in Miramar at the Fringe estate
  • Problems with the wild ones – surfer tantrums and beer can throwing
  • Miramar Beach Association Throws a Hawaiian Luau


First class officers elected for Junior High – Wiley Timmons, Sergeant at Arms.

Star Child Stepping Out of the Time Tunnel

Exiting the Time Tunnel, we meet ourself (again) – The Star Child

Wiley – younger than that now

Bold Defiance (last animal standing)

A carbonized rattlesnake frozen in time in the wake of Miramar fires

A Mirror Marred by the Scene

Les Fleur d’Mal (et Blues)

Mal et Blues
Mal et Blues
Le mer c’est bleu
Le mer c’est bleu
Comment allez vous?
Le Miserlou? Les Miserables?
The fugitive can find no job.
Les Fleur d’Mal ecrit par Baudelaire
Speaks poetry to clear the air.
Miramar by the sea
Look at me. Look at me.

What is beautiful, needs no adorning.

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