Letters to the editor, Dec. 22 issue

Seals pupping season is a gift to treasure

In the long running debate over the harbor seals at the Children's

Pool, no one to my knowledge has noted that this harbor seal

population is unique in that it is the only one that is so close to a

major urban center. I have seen harbor seal colonies in Alaska at

South Sawyer Glacier, in Glacier Bay National Park at John's Hopkins

Glacier, on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides, in the winter on

Long Island, NY, and in Carpinteria, Calif.

Nowhere else but La Jolla can such close views of pupping harbor seals be seen by so many. Isn't that an opportunity worth as much protection as we can give it?

Art Cooley, La Jolla

A tip of the hat to Spencer Wilson

In 1950, near the end of Navy boot camp here in San Diego, we had our first day off — "liberty" as it's called. I bought a newspaper and saw that “American in Paris,” was playing at the Cove Theater in La Jolla. I had no idea where La Jolla was. I'd never heard of the place. I got directions from a bus driver, and managed to find my way to La Jolla. I loved Gene Kelly's dancing and wanted to see the movie.

Arriving at the theater, I learned the movie had already started, and since there was no way I'd go in and watch a movie after it had started, I walked around La Jolla for about an hour and a half. It was, and still is, the most beautiful place on Earth (for me). I fell in love with La Jolla. It was, as they say, as if I’d died and gone to heaven, especially after three months in boot camp.

During the movie, I also fell in love with Leslie Caron, the actress who danced with Gene Kelly. There was something special, too, about the man who took tickets at the entrance. He had a very noticeable quality about him that stuck in my memory. He was very manly looking … and distinguished. Just his presence made you feel at home there. He looked into your eyes and greeted you with a sincere smile when he took your ticket.

The next time I went to that theater was in 1968, when I came to live in La Jolla after working for a year at a bank in Honolulu. I have an excellent memory. When I went into the theater, I saw this same man. I asked him how long he'd been working there, and he confirmed he was there a long time before 1950. Over the years, I became slightly acquainted with him. I went to the Cove Theater many times. It was a very nice neighborhood movie house, always clean and comfortable, and Mr. Spencer Wilson had a lot to do with that.

After I left banking in 1974, I worked for 22 years at the Empress Hotel over on the next street from the Cove Theater, and I saw Spencer Wilson many times at the Cove Theater. The article on his passing in your paper brought back a lot of pleasant memories. The theater has been gone for several years. When I walk or drive by the place where it was, it's hard for me to realize it's not there anymore. It was a landmark. And Mr. Wilson was part of it. It's impossible to think of the Cove Theater without thinking of this fine man.

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