Ocean Beach Woman’s Club – Laying a new foundation
Published - 06/23/17 - 12:05 PM | 6523 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ocean Beach Woman's Club Garden Department. / PHOTO COURTESY OCEAN BEACH HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
Ocean Beach Woman's Club Garden Department. / PHOTO COURTESY OCEAN BEACH HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
(This article is the fourth in a series about the history of the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club.)

The Ocean Beach Woman’s Club donates to local community organizations annually with money raised at their November fundraiser.

Last year, the club gave out more than $9,000. The floor campaign is a separate initiative solely for the purpose of replacing the building’s floors and tackling termite damage. 

The club does not want to use the funds raised for the community for the floor, which is why they are asking for help. Visit oceanbeachwomansclub.org to help them reach their floor campaign goals.

The very beginning

The very first meeting notes of the OBWC are dated Nov. 10, 1924. At this meeting the purpose of the organization was set forth, “That an organization of women shall be formed, which will look after the best civic, educational and social interests of Ocean Beach.”

They didn’t waste any time. One month later they signed a petition to obtain a bond issue for a new playground, and then, just two months after that, began work in earnest to ensure that Ocean Beach would get their own library. “…Urged that no effort be spared by anyone to help put over the library bonds, coming before the people March 24, the passing of which will ensure a $15,000 Branch for Ocean Beach.”

A month later, in an effort to draw more attention to the need for a library, the club did, what we’d now call a publicity stunt: “A story teller in costume, from the Community Service Dept. should tell stories to children of various ages in three places next week and that publicity be given through the Ocean Beach paper.” You go girl! And you know what, through that and many other efforts, they got their library! The same one we all enjoy and love today.

Gardens and trees

In the early days of the OBWC, the Garden Department was also hard at work, and instrumental in beautifying our town. Trees and shrubs were planted on five city blocks: Oleanders on Brighton Avenue, Acacia trees on Muir (recorded as 93 trees!), Hibiscus on Long Branch and Cable, Coco Plumosus Palms on Cape May, and on Sunset Cliffs “beautiful jacaranda trees, but few lived.”

And you know that wonderful space between the beach and Abbott Street? You can thank the OBWC for that too. “The plan is to park the strip of land from Voltaire to Newport Ave. on the sea side of Abbott Street, dedicating this strip to the community at-large and to Ocean Beach in particular. “

Pursuit of knowledge

Then, of course, was the Study Department of the Ocean Beach Woman’s Club. An entire binder is dedicated to the meticulous notes of these extraordinary women who in 1931 were focused on their own education and edification. These women tackled challenging literature and were clearly motivated to improve and expound on their intellectual prowess.

Meeting twice a month for 2 ½ hours, they outlined the topics for each meeting at the beginning of the year. Consider this program outline from October 1931 – May 1932:

The Bible as Literature; Famous Diaries and Letters; Plutarch’s Lives; Spanish Humor – Don Quixote; Patriotic Program; Les Miserables; Russian Novelists; English Humor: Pickwick Papers and Vanity Fair.

Scouring through other program agendas revealed a true passion to dig deep and understand new ideas, places and people. The meeting notes of the study group read like a book report. Details of what they gleaned and learned from examining this literature was documented – and then read back to the group before the next meeting began.

It is truly a fascinating read. In fact a “Review of Reviews” was written to summarize all the meetings at the end of one year–written in poetry format. How I wish we could publish the whole thing … but instead we’ll close with a selected excerpts:

On Eugene O’Neill

…About the simple art of living,

Why can’t they learn to be forgiving,

Like folks we deal with every day;

It’s really a much saner way

Than settling things with sword and gun

(The poor things miss a lot of fun)…

On Emerson

And lest we flounder in despair

Let Emerson, that prophet rare

Pilot the way to higher planes

By breaking heavy irksome chains

That hold us bound to worthless things;

So only can we soar on wings

Fashioned of will and higher thought.

On Pearl Buck’s Good Earth

To Pearl Buck’s fine book “Good Earth”

Revealing simply what of worth

And Beauty lives within the wall

Of China which now heeds the call

Of western methods; what a plight;

War-torn, invaded, shorn of right.

To live her life as she sees fit?

Can’t she be left in peace a bit?

What a joy this was to read. Our hope is to open the OBWC to the public at the end of this campaign where much of our history will be on hand to look at … as well as … hopefully and with your support, new floors.

Submitted by the OB Woman’s Club Floor Campaign Committee.

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