Lighthouse Lecture Series
2023 Lighthouse Lecture Series
Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 4 p.m.
Michael B. Combs – Growing up in Point Arena – A small town can be a big world when you’re young
Long time Point Arena and Gualala resident Michael B. Combs will present “Growing up in Point Arena – A small town can be a big world when you’re young” chronicling his life growing up in Point Arena. Admission to the lecture is $5 per person, payable in the Fog Signal Building where the lecture will be presented. The Lighthouse is located at 45500 Lighthouse Road in Point Arena.
“In my short lifetime – 80 years – I’ve experienced many things that most Americans haven’t because of the rapid changes in work and lifestyles. My younger brother Ron and I agree that we had the best childhoods of anyone ever, all centered around time spent in and around Point Arena. I was seven years old when my family moved our trailer house from among the oil fields of Southern California to Point Arena in 1949. We arrived the weekend that the Pacific Enterprise struck Wash Rock, then sunk, in view of this lighthouse. We soon left our trailer house to live in one large room of the abandoned high school building. A short walk away, my younger brother Ronald and I went to school in the four-room, eight-grade elementary school, with four teachers and a total enrollment of about 100.
Pop worked in the sawmills and Mom cleaned buildings downtown. Ron and I had various jobs including Press Democrat paperboys. When we built our house starting in 1954, Pop borrowed a friend’s plow horse and Fresno scraper and Ron and I, and the horse, dug a full-size basement then helped build the house above. In 1950 the Air Force began construction of a radar base atop Eureka Hill, about ten miles east of Point Arena. With the air base, plus the booming lumber industry, salmon and crab fishery, and ranching serving rapidly growing Baby Boomer families, Point Arena was like a beehive in the 1950’s.
And I was there.”
About Michael B. Combs
“After attending five schools spread around the Bakersfield area for kindergarten and first grade, the next eleven years were in Point Arena Elementary and High School, where I graduated in 1960 and began an Odyssey that took me through seven colleges with a double major of Accounting and Russian, an MBA, and a CPA (in Hawaii). Almost all of my college time was courtesy of the Air Force, sending me to three colleges full time during my 21-year career. I enlisted in the Air Force in 1962, was commissioned in 1968, and retired in 1984 with the rank of Major.
After retirement I worked for Lockheed Missiles and Space in Sunnyvale for ten years and for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland for two years as an internal auditor. I also served as a Controller and Accounting Manager for shorter periods. I married my Point Arena high school sweetheart, Marilynn, and we raised three sons as the Air Force sent me to thirteen bases including ones in Turkey, England, and Hawaii. Marilynn passed away in early 1988 from breast cancer just after our 25th anniversary. I then picked Alice from a book and proposed five weeks after we met. Alice had created a company, Vulcan Wire, that provides wire products for the recycling industry, which until her entry had been an all-male industry. You can read all about it in her memoir, The Lady With Balls. We’ve been married 33 years, took early retirements, and have lived in Gualala since 1998.”