Sailing On

The Beach Boys were innocence on sun-dappled water, reflecting an optimistic vision of life that we once took for granted. For me, they were a part of growing up in Redondo Beach, close to Disneyland and Hollywood, watching TV shows like Donna Reed and Leave it to Beaver in which moms wore shirt-waist dresses, heels, and nylons in the kitchen while preparing dinner in anticipation of husbands returning from work.

The Beach Boys represented youth, surfing culture, first kisses on the beach, and submersion into an effervescent seawater-y existence that cushioned the impact of our terrestrial lives. America, it seemed, was a place we could feel good about and be proud of. Listening to their concert at the bowl Monday night reunited me with those feelings, but not nostalgically. It had seemed like an easier time; but now I see it as more of a pre-shit-hitting-the-fan period in which reality was still incubating on the back-burner, maturing for its upcoming hatching out in the form of the Viet Nam War, the Black Panther Party, and political assassinations. Television adjusted by inserting body counts into the nightly news, reassuring us that multiples of North Vietnamese were being killed compared to Americans.

The Beach Boys showed us who we thought we were, innocent celebrants of the right way of life. They sounded great on Monday night, their harmonies levitational. I could not fully escape back into memories of sparkling blue waves, but their music brought a respite of grace for hearts burdened with the realities of “now.”

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Adam Brothers Farm Identified in E. Coli Outbreak

Santa Maria farm recalls romaine and additional produce.

Goleta Swears in New City Leadership

New mayor and new councilmembers step onto the dais.

SBCC Scrapping Remedial Class Requirement

A new state law is designed to boost graduation and transfer rates.

Pot Dispensary Hit with Stop Work Order

City claims construction was done without proper permits.

Santa Barbara Priests Named in New Abuse Reports

Twelve men accused of child molestation served in area parishes.