March 26, 2011
Beach Reporter Covers Local Turf
and Surf of Godges Family Memoir
SERVING THE BEACH CITIES of Los Angeles County, this week’s Beach Reporter highlights many local spots that play important roles in the Godges family memoir, Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century. Among the spots are the family home in Redondo Beach, Saint Lawrence Martyr Elementary School, Redondo Union High School, the Pritikin Longevity Center in Santa Monica, and the beach itself.
Throughout the memoir, “Godges weaves the personal stories of each family member with American history—military, social, religious, and political—as each one faces challenges arising from their internal struggles, family situations, and national events,” according to reporter Annie Lubinsky.
“My father, for example, is the most American of us all,” Godges told Lubinsky. “His story is a true story of the American experience, particularly with regard to how he struck a healthy balance between being a self-made man and knowing full well that being a self-made man depends on belonging to a family and community and country that gives one the opportunity to make something of oneself.”
The Beach Reporter article outlines how each member of the local family represents a different segment of American society, often within a Southern California context. The author’s sister, Mary Jo, for example, enjoyed a life of swimming, surfing, and skateboarding in Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach.
“She and her friends would represent all those kids who couldn’t relate to school and couldn’t find where they fit within the educational establishment,” Godges told Lubinsky. “The place where she found refuge was at the beach. Mary Jo was a girl surfer in the days when there weren’t many, and she was one of the few pioneers toughing it out and outsurfing the boys, blazing the trail.”
The family story is not all fun and games, however. In the ten years Godges spent writing Oh, Beautiful, he learned that “many stories are never shared because the questions are never asked.” As he explained to Lubinsky, younger family members don’t want to cause distress by asking about painful moments, yet older family members feel that no one cares about what they went through because no one is asking questions.
“What happens is there’s courtesy but also the absence of sharing the most important stories of our lives, which happen to be also the most painful parts of our lives,” Godges emphasized to Lubinsky. “If we don’t share our pain, we deny ourselves a lot of wisdom that we can give to each other.”
For the full article in The Beach Reporter, a weekly newspaper serving Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, and El Segundo, click here:
Beach Books: “Oh, Beautiful”