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La Jolla centenarian Patricia Weber reflects on life, novels, essays and letters

Patricia Weber, 104, has written three novels, an autobiography and a booklet of short stories since moving to La Jolla.
Patricia Weber, 104, has written three novels, an autobiography and a booklet of eight short stories since moving to La Jolla in 1953.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

For much of her 104 years, especially during her 68 years in La Jolla, Patricia Weber has been a writer.

From the time she was in grade school in Pennsylvania, she wrote essays on various topics. She wrote for her high school newspaper. In college, she wrote essays, pamphlets and news articles.

After she moved to La Jolla in 1953, she wrote three novels and a booklet of eight short stories. As recently as 2017, she wrote letters to the editor to local papers such as the La Jolla Light, covering topics such as the cross atop Mount Soledad, harbor seals at the Children’s Pool and whether The Village has “lost its charm.”

And there was her 2020 autobiography.

“I’ve always been a writer,” she told the Light just before her 104th birthday July 22. “I remember in grade school, the teacher … pinned one of my essays in the hall because it was that good. That started my writing career. From then on, I would write for whomever and wherever I could.”

Her first book, “Xionflight,” was set in “Sunday Village” (inspired by La Jolla) and tells of a man of the sea who comes in contact with a “transcendent enchantress” who sends him on a journey. Two more in the series, “A Shadow World” and “Remembering Tomorrow!” would follow.

Patricia Weber's novels are "A Shadow World," "Remembering Tomorrow!" and "Xionflight."
Patricia Weber’s novels are “A Shadow World,” “Remembering Tomorrow!” and “Xionflight.”
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

“In La Jolla, there were hundreds of wonderful things to write about: the ocean, the hillside,” she said, and that inspired her from the minute she moved here.

In her short autobiography, she said her husband, Chuck (whom she married in 1941), was medically trained and enlisted in the Navy in 1943.

“His first assignment was at the naval hospital at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he began his internship,” Weber wrote. “His second assignment was Spartanburg, S.C., where our first son ... was born in December 1944. He was only 20 days old when his father boarded a plane for two years of active duty in the Philippines. Our son was 2 years old when he met his father for the first time.” The Webers went on to have three more children.

While stationed at Camp Pendleton, Chuck discovered La Jolla.

“Impressed with the charm of the La Jolla Village, my husband took me to visit the area,” Weber wrote. “I remember the old Highway 101 and a gas station with a sign that read, ‘To La Jolla.’ We drove down a steep, winding road that threw our car from side to side. At the bottom of the hill … we could hear the ocean waves and smell the salty air.”

The family rented a small house and later built a house in the Muirlands neighborhood. In 1960, they built the house where Weber still resides.

“The hills were covered by beautiful chaparral. We had foxes, squirrels, maybe wolves and lizards. It was a beautiful, rare countryside by the sea,” Weber recalled. “We decided that this was utopia and we wanted to spend the rest of our lives here.”

Chuck died in November 2004. Weber lived on because “God doesn’t have room for me yet,” she joked.

In La Jolla, she was moved by the real events around her as much as the fictitious ones she created. She took to writing about what she saw. She wrote essays and letters about changes at the Children’s Pool as harbor seals started to haul out there; events that could revitalize The Village; the Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival; the annual grunion runs and more.

She wrote at least 50 essays about La Jolla contained in a book, and she keeps her letters to the editor from 2010 to 2015 in a binder.

“My personal philosophy my whole life has been to consider everyone’s point of view in order to avoid clashing with others and work things out from there,” she said. “That’s the way to keep life flowing smoothly.”

Because every story has to have a beginning, a middle and an end — and because Weber’s story is not over yet — she asked the Light to use the following conclusion to this one: “From the beginning, La Jolla was a special place … and so it shall always remain. End of story.” ◆