by Tom Morrow
Oceanside CA– Over the last 20-plus years, I’ve made every effort to gather historical information from any and all folks who’ve helped build our North County coastal communities, especially Oceanside. One column I wrote back when this century was brand new included information given to me by the late Chester “Chet” Heltibridle.
I met “Chet” a few years ago with the plan of getting him for one of my “Living Legacies” television interviews on KOCT. No such luck.
“There’s a lot more interesting fellas around town than me,” Chet chuckled. “I’ll help you identify them.”
And, he did. I had to learn his story from others around town.
Chet was the long-time Texaco bulk oil dealer in Oceanside, serving most of coastal North County with his products. His business was directly south of the Flying Bridge Restaurant and hotel. Years ago it was a thriving business.
Oceanside’s Larry Hatter recalled Chet was a musician.
“Chet played drums with the late Gene Geil, who owned the Chrysler-Dodge dealership in town,” Larry recalled.
Dr. Herb Gabriel, DDS, told me Chet had many friends and few, if any enemies. He, too, recalls Chet’s musical years.
“Chet was a rather big man, known as ‘Tiny’ by his friends,” said Herb. “He had a small group called ‘Tiny and the Toe Teasers,’ which played for dances.”
He was community-minded, and he took care of his employees.
“Chet gave everyone five years notice of his retirement,” Larry chuckled. “He wanted to give everyone fair warning so they could go out and find another job.”
Chet was on the board of directors when Oceanside Federal built the four-story building on Mission Avenue. He was one of the founders of Oceanside National Bank, which ultimately ended up as Bank of America. He was active with the Oceanside Elks Lodge, where he was one-time exalted ruler.
While no one knows for sure what happened, speculation is that Chet was dead from an apparent heart attack before his car hit that Eucalyptus tree out on the Highway 78 as he was heading northbound onto Interstate 5.
He was just another chapter on the many which built Oceanside.
RANDOM THOUGHTS – In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in a terrible drought. If you’re an O’side resident, you need to know beginning Aug. 16, Level 2 lawn watering is in effect allowing only for 10 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Any more than that you’re subject to a city fine of up to $100. Other rules for Level 2 include watering lawns only in the early morning or late evening. Unless using recycled water, shut off ornamental fountains. Residents and businesses are asked to make repairs within 72 hours. For more information, go on the Internet at: www.greenoceanside.org/savewater.
CLASS REUNION – The Oceanside High Class of ’64 will celebrate their 50th reunion next weekend (Aug. 15, 16, and 17. A mixer will be held at 7 p.m., Friday at the Jolly Roger restaurant in the Harbor, then on Saturday at 6 p.m., a dinner-dance will be held at the El Camino Country Club. A picnic will conclude the celebration on Sunday, beginning at 11 a.m., in Guajome Park. For more information Call Vickie Prosser at 760-717-7744 or e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIME FLIES – It was 56 years ago this week when I graduated from the Naval Training Center (Boot Camp) down in San Diego. My pants size was 31” x 31.” We shan’t talk about today’s measurements. I feel the same until I look into the mirror. Where did all those years go?
SIGNS SEEN – I recently saw this sign in O’side, but you’ll never see it in Great Britain: “Sushi 50% Off!”
ALL TRUISMS —- A book on voyeurism is really just a peeping tome.
QUITE QUOTEABLE — “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. Marines don’t have that problem.” — President Ronald Reagan, 1985.