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

By Herman Sillas

Did you notice the larger crowd that was here in San Clemente in the second week of July? Well, my wife and I were responsible for the increased population here in San Clemente. You see, our family had a reunion in our beautiful city. Our family members came all the way from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Hemet, Downey, Los Angeles and Eagle Rock. They were daughters and husbands, our grandchildren, sisters, couples, cousins and our great-grandchildren.

Some went to Disneyland and other famous places throughout Southern California that have structures, buildings, museums, and other nearby famous places.
On the Thursday of that week, my wife and I went to the Fisherman’s Restaurant on the Pier with our Pennsylvania and Virginia relatives. They were impressed with the location, service and politeness of the servers. The food and service was excellent and a special ice cream dessert finished our meal. A walk on the Pier afterward was a great way to end the day.

The next day, one of our daughters and her daughter were coming to our house to provide us a special meal. Her daughter’s boyfriend, Jonathan, is a chef. He prepared a special meal for us and our guests. He arrived with corn, broccoli, and a lot of other food and took over the kitchen. He put on our outside coals and cooked the corn. Then he scrapped the kernels and mixed them in with the broccoli which had now been reduced to look like rice. I don’t know what he did after that, but it was a great meal and I had two servings. Best meal I have had in a long time. It was a hot evening as we all ate outside on our patio. We were about 17 family-related members and the talk went on into the night.

Our gathering the next day started at 1 p.m. at a large conference room at our facility. We numbered 40. The children played games and the adults talked. Family members came with food and meat to be barbecued outside. Laughter filled the air as tales were shared with each other as the meal was shared and eaten by those in attendance.

This is the first such gathering of the Sillas group. There had been many years that passed since the last time all our children have gathered. The children had grown older from little ones to teenagers. Folks had changed and grew older from the last time we had met. There had been marriages and births. A lot of time was spent on discussing what had occurred over the years.

As the day passed, email addresses were exchanged between us. Our visitor from Chicago lost her husband, but remarried. Her new husband has four children to add to her two sons. She had been a lawyer, but became a teacher. I realized how much I had missed her over the years, and it gave me a thrill to see her and learn of her accomplishments.

The reality is that we all tend to know about the lives around us who are part of our family, but the members who don’t live nearby will be out of our sight. One thing I have been reminded by this gathering is that we are all family members. We belong to each other because of our family relations. It is a relationship that is special and remains no matter where we are. We love each other. But as we departed, I realized that I may not see some again. May they treasure the memory.

That’s the view from the Pier.

Herman Sillas is a former Director of the CA DMV and a former U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of California. He may be reached at

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