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By Herman Sillas

The View from the Pier By Herman Sillas
The View from the Pier By Herman Sillas

Cora and I came to San Clemente at the invitation of our next-door neighbors in Glendale. They had spent a week on vacation in San Clemente and loved their stay. They invited us to join them as partners and owners of an apartment. 

Our first venture to San Clemente didn’t prove fruitful, but we came home with the card of a real estate agent. He promised to contact us if a place opened up. About two months later he called Cora and said a small apartment was available. It was a block away from the Pier. We headed out that evening and saw the unit. We fell in love with it and made an offer. We called our neighbors and they joined us along with another partner. Each partner would be entitled to the apartment every third week.
The first weekend Cora and I came to San Clemente I was out at the Pier at 5 a.m. No one was there yet. I couldn’t explain how I felt. I had such a sense of freedom. As other fishers came out we exchanged salutations. I finally went to our apartment around 10 a.m. I knew from that day that I would go out every weekend onto the Pier. That was back in 1984.

Eventually, our partners sold their interests to us. Every morning a group of walkers came out to the Pier for coffee. They stayed at the end of the Pier for a couple of hours and then headed back to their homes. Each morning was filled with conversations. I began to know them and their names. We had a great time retelling stories or what had happen the day before. Over the years the numbers that strolled out to the Pier diminished. Some moved or passed away. A few are still here and go out and trade stories.

Sometimes I fished at the end of the Pier, other times I fished the middle of the Pier and other times I fished near the shore. The beautiful thing was that I got to know the regular fishers. We share stories with the new arrivals as to what was happening and bait they ought to use. Sometimes, nothing was happening, but we didn’t care. I’ve met great friends and we still get together.

Where can you walk on water and not get wet? This city would not be the same without it. That is the view from the Pier.

Herman Sillas is an author and resident of San Clemente and a former U.S District Attorney. He may be reached at


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