Patricia Lipe is a La Jolla native and an author of 9 books, two of which included stories about La Jolla. She has a collection of vignettes and essays about historic La Jolla, with emphasis on the many extraordinary people who helped to build and shape this special place. Along with the writing, she includes vintage photos of famous faces and places, many published for the first time.
We had the distinct privilege of talking with Patricia Lipe about her books and her time in La Jolla
You were raised bi-coastal. Did you have a preference between La Jolla and Washington?:
I liked La Jolla! I was an ocean person- I loved swimming. I was born and raised right across the street from the Pacific Ocean on South Coast Boulevard. My house is no longer there- there’s an apartment where the house used to be, but it was wonderful. Since I lived across the street from the ocean, I of course fell in love with the ocean. I body surf, and my husband, also a native La Jollan, body surfs.
For as amazing as La Jolla is now, it really sounds like it was a prime spot back in the day:
Yes, one of the reasons I wrote these books about La Jolla was so that people could see what it was like in La Jolla back in the day. Also, to learn about all of the famous people, and what they did for La Jolla and what La Jolla did for them.
It sounds like so much work went into this 2002 book just to curate these stories. How long did this take you to write?:
Well, here’s a little bit of the story to that: La Jolla Historical Society asked me to volunteer, and I said that I would be happy to open on Saturday’s. At one point I got a phone call from Beach and Bay Press, and they asked if I would write articles for them. They asked for an article of the history of La Jolla every week. I decided to contact Barbara Dawson, and she did so much work in helping me understand the community. She was the first president of the La Jolla Historical Society, and she introduced me to so many people and so many things in La Jolla. But the book came about because the publisher had read the articles, and asked if I could make a book out of the articles. We integrated all of the photos into the text, and greatly reduced what we had originally. It took a good amount of time to finish everything.
This book is so celebrated, and you’re so celebrated. It’s was the 2002 winner of San Diego Book Awards, and in early 2004, you were presented with the 2004 “Woman of Achievement” award by the La Jolla Branch. How does all of that feel?
Yes, it was all a lot of fun. That was an honor, and it was an honor to be president of the La Jolla branch of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) – and it was really successful. I miss all of that, being out here on the East Coast now.
What do you think made La Jolla so special back in the day?:
In La Jolla, you had a feeling of community. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, you were family. That’s what made it so special.
What is one thing that you would like for your readers to know about your La Jolla books?
I wrote these books in hopes that people will have a respect for the real La Jolla- the original La Jolla that I know and love.
To learn more about Patricia Lipe and purchase her books:
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