Jay Beeler

It’s that time of year when we look back while thinking about what the future might bring.


I feel fortunate for my past 79 years, which were filled with joy, love, hope, laughter and even sorrow. The early years were a flurry of events that did not come close to what today’s kids experience. We did not have drugs, crime, racism and hate in our small town of Waynesboro, Pa. in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Without computers, cell phones and Starbucks, those were fun, common-sense times remembered with fondness.

My adventures after high school led to career opportunities in the U.S. Air Force that provided technical skills and paved the way for a college education funded by the GI Bill of Rights and subsequent veteran benefits. Coming to California for that education was golden – just like the state. I thank my brother, Tom, for introducing me to Long Beach on one of my travels west while serving in the military.

Work was easily found over the next 57 years – first employed by others and then starting my own business in 1978. It provided for a nice home and raising a family in a city that has been reminiscent of my eastern hometown for its small-town charm and friendliness.


Meeting fellow Pennsylvanian Anita Murray at a party in Long Beach and marrying her in 1968 was the greatest kind of luck imaginable. She was a remarkable wife and mother to our three kids: Jeff, Janet and Mindy. The decades that followed were the best of times, filled with hundreds of enjoyable memories.

We lost Anita in March due to heart issues and my heart was broken as well. The tears are ever present when I think of her, especially at this time of year.

When my brother (now living in Washington state) lost his wife last year I remember him telling me about some experiences that he just had to share with his precious Nola. Then came the reality that she was no longer there for hearing the news. I can relate to that, sometimes trying to communicate with a partner who is no longer around. Today my decisions are often made by thinking what my wife would have done or said in any given situation.

One can only image what Anita might have thought about our oldest daughter, Janet, prematurely giving birth to Sky Violet on Nov. 30 in San Francisco. It was joyful but sad at the same time, knowing that Anita wasn’t around for that blessed event. Our family looks forward to seeing Sky for the first time in a few days.

Christmas was not the same this year without the love of my life. Wednesday would have been our 54th anniversary.

I’ve tried to perpetuate her memory with others by giving away dozens of the knitted baby blankets, baby sweaters, afghans and Christmas stockings that she handmade for sale at local craft shows, following retirement from the LBPD in 2010. We’ll be gifting many more items in the future.


So, as we close this page in our diary, we look forward to good times in the years that remain. Having three grandchildren is great; a few more would be nice. Working less and playing more would facilitate time with the grand kids.

“Regrets, I’ve had a few. Then again, too few to mention....” was shared by Frank Sinatra when singing “My Way.” I have no regrets! Just feeling blessed for a wonderful life filled with joy, love, hope, laughter and, yes, a little sorrow. “My way” was pretty darn good, looking back, especially when compared to the plight of so many others around this whacky world.

Happy New Year from all of us at the Beachcomber. We look forward to serving you in 2023.


Add new comment


Copyright 2024 Beeler & Associates.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced or transmitted – by any means – without publisher's written permission.