Friends of Fire Mountain

Protect, Preserve, and Improve Fire Mountain

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Van Deerlin shared his memories of Oceanside

UNION-TRIBUNE May 26, 2008

I first met Lionel Van Deerlin in 1960 on the roof of the U.S. Grant hotel.

My father and I had climbed up to better see John F. Kennedy delivering a stump speech in the Plaza below. On the roof ahead of us, reporting for broadcast, was Van Deerlin, my dad’s city editor at the San Diego Daily Journal during the late 1940s.

Now that he’s made his last deadline, Van Deerlin is being fondly remembered as emeritus journalist, congressman, teacher.

Though I read all his columns as if he were talking into my ear, I savored like rarebits the occasions when, to enliven some contemporary point, he would drift back to Oceanside.

In those Sherwood Anderson-style interludes, he would evoke small-town America and let readers imagine how it had influenced a blithe boy upon whom nothing of the human comedy was lost.

What follows is a sampler of passages from Van Deerlin’s columns stretching back to 1983. I’ve condensed here and there, but every word is his.

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Fire Mountain Resevoir Update

Here’s the latest information on the Fire Mountain Reservoir Reserve (which we used to call the Fire Mountain Water Tower Park).

On May 13th, several Friends of Fire Mountain met with City Staff and Councilman Chavez to report the results of our survey. Of the 400 surveys distributed, we received 97 responses and of these, 89% were positive (and two of the negatives wanted ONLY a dog park, no people park).  In order of popularity, here are the most-wanted features:

  1. Nature walk/jogging Trail
  2. Childrens’ playground
  3. Picnic area
  4. Open play fields
  5. Dog Park

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