If I could magically choose any time, any place, to live, it would probably be the mid-50s in California. Modern enough to be comfortable, stable and prosperous economy, no major wars going on. And, most importantly, uncrowded waves at all the major surfing breaks! I could have my pick on one of those new-fangled balsa-and-fibreglass boards.
1955 would not be the best pick for everyone. It was not a particularly good time for any and all minorities. But there was a time there when the California beaches were a paradise for a few. It lasted into the early 60s; then came crowding, war, social unrest, all the usual snakes that might slither into Eden.
I never got to hang at the beach with Gidget -- born too late, on the wrong side of the country. But a part of me has probably been trying to move there since I was a teen. Cocoa Beach in the 60s and early 70s tried to fill the role I'd cast but didn't quite make it. Flagler Beach came a little closer, later on, but my own life didn't cooperate.
Flagler would still be about as good as I could do at this point, in Florida. But I almost certainly will stay here on Peanut Road, quite possibly for the rest of my life. Country life can be good too, even if it's not exactly Malibu.
Panama City beaches are not that far away. Eventually, I will find the time to spend time there. The surf is inconsistent (though better than where I grew up) but the beaches are nice. And often crowded.
So one of these days they may see an old guy drag his board down to the water at the St Andrew's jetty and catch a few. I reckon I'm still capable of that. And who knows -- maybe I will make it to California eventually. Even if Gidget is a little old lady now.