Newport residents re-tell old tales

NEWPORT BEACH — Worried that you're going to forget all of grandpa's great stories? The Newport Beach Historical Society has come up with a solution.

With the launch of "Project History," Newport Beach residents can log all of their favorite anecdotes on the society's website so that their stories about the beach city withstand the sands of time.

They're not your everyday tales of a good Balboa bar. These locals dish out stories that sound too good to be true.

For example, Don Roberson fondly remembers picking up some WAM (walk around money) by cleaning boats on Lido Isle. One of the yacht owners, a Mr. Bergen, had a pretty daughter who would sunbathe by the docks.

Her name was Candice. Ring a bell?

William Skip Freely, a resident of Newport since 1949, remembers an awkward run-in while running his paper route in high school. After a few months of unpaid fees, he had to stop delivering to a woman.

It was a little uncomfortable to tell her he needed an advance, especially because she was a teacher at his school.

The historical society's new project is especially important to its president, Gordy Grundy. The son of the founder, Bill Grundy, and the grandson of the first doctor in Newport Beach, it's apparent that an appreciation for the coastal town runs in Gordon Grundy's veins.

"A picture is static, unfeeling and wordless," Grundy told the Daily Pilot. "We need to capture the essence of Newport — the fun, the salt air, and the lifestyle of Old Balboa. We must record these anecdotes. The greatest asset of Newport Beach is our cast of characters."

Characters indeed. Project History has hardly started and it's already packed with colorful stories about Newport. Whether you've lived here for ages or have just unloaded the van, locals will surely enjoy living vicariously through the vivid memories of their neighbors.

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