La Jolla: Take the Audio Tour of My Hometown

With apologies to The Boss, our return to La Jolla is a return to “My Hometown” that was my first home 66 years ago. Our family at the time comprised my parents and my twin sister and we resided in naval housing at Camp Matthews while my father served overseas in the Korean War. The Camp is now the campus of UC San Diego and here is a photo of my mom and sister Janice in front of our modest home in 1953.

mom and Janice at Camp Matthews

On one sunny day, my mom and dad took advantage of the beautiful surroundings of the La Jolla community and drove us down to La Jolla Cove and Ellen Browning Scripps Park where they took a few family photos that included the white fence and lovely blue ocean in the background. That’s my dad Flip, me, my beautiful mother Dorothy and my twin sister Janice in the photos.

Dad and Janice La Jolla Cove

mom and twins at Ellen Browning Scripps Park

Our family eventually moved to Orange County where our family of 7 siblings (Irish Catholics, of course!) were raised in the shadows of Disneyland’s Matterhorn while my dad served as a police officer in Los Angeles and my mom worked in the home. At age 20, I transferred from Cypress College to UC Santa Barbara where I met my future wife (and co-founder) Mindy in 1976 and we married in 1981. Mindy was born and raised in La Jolla and it was a no-brainer to follow her here after she graduated rather than stay in Orange County. We had 3 kids (all La Jolla High School grads) and we raised our family just outside La Jolla in University City. After a three year hiatus in NorCal, we then moved back to La Jolla as empty nesters and we rented a home near La Jolla High School and Windansea Beach for about six years. We now live in the city of San Diego while we build this new enterprise, called Tour Freely which allows us to share our appreciation for this wonderful seaside community in San Diego County.

I have often wondered why it is that I get such a “warm feeling” about stepping back in time to appreciate how I got to where I am today especially as it relates to my family’s history here in La Jolla. One strong trait of mine is that I really enjoy doing research; I was a researcher in health care after receiving a degree in optometry and a masters in epidemiology from San Diego State. And now my research interests turn to the question as to why it is that this endeavor into a nostalgic past induces these positive feelings. So, doing what I do best, I searched for “why does nostalgia induce positive feelings”. I discovered that academic researchers have asked the same questions and what they have found is fascinating. At the Institute of Family Studies, Clay Routledge says:

(Our) work has revealed that, far from being an experience that causes distress as it was seen in the past, nostalgia is a psychological resource that serves a vital role in helping people in their pursuit of a meaningful life. Our study of nostalgia also bolsters other research that reveals that meaning is deeply social. It is generated and sustained by close bonds with family and friends.

And he goes on to say:

Critically, nostalgia doesn’t simply remind people of a past filled with social connections. It makes them feel connected and motivated to connect… Across a number of studies, we have observed that after engaging in nostalgic reflection, people feel more socially valued, loved, socially confident, and optimistic about being able to form and maintain close relationships.

Our goal with TourFreely is to foster these positive social relationships by sharing the history, art, beauty and experience of La Jolla (and eventually all of San Diego) with our followers who want to get out of the house and walk the neighborhoods and coastlines absorbing the surroundings first hand with the help of a guided GPS audio tour that will uncover the rich cultural history that contributed to where we are today. Our first tour is La Jolla’s downtown village and we’ll add tours of the neighborhoods to the south (Barber Tract to Bird Rock) and the north (La Jolla Shores to UCSD) sometime soon. As this blog matures and evolves, our vision is to include not just historical and architectural features of the community it will also include the small details, the businesses, cultural events and community happenings that enrich the La Jolla experience.

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