Thought for the day

"In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of Courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient – they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." -- Profiles in Courage

When an earthquake struck Santa Monica on March 10, 1933, the city was already in bad shape. The quiet community on the Pacific Coast prided itself on being socially elite and culturally sophisticated, but that pride didn't stop the Great Depression from sinking its dirty claws and tearing the city down a new one. Schools suffered the most due to the earthquake. Without funds to rebuild, local children were taught outside the tents. The idea for the city to build a park on the beach was from Cate Giroux. She was a playground matron for an elementary school before it was turned into rubble. Until all schools are rebuilt, a faster and cheaper solution would be to build a playground for all. City officials agreed. By 1934, work had begun on the new playground. The project was funded by President Roosevelt's Works Project Administration (WPA), an organization that employs local people to build public developments and stimulate the economy. The site chosen was a stretch of sand south of the famous Santa Monica Pier, known by locals as Mussel Beach for all the shellfish clinging to the pier there. The park soon became a hit with local vaudeville artists and acrobats, who appreciated the soft landings that the sand could give them. Finding work in his field wasn't that easy in Great Depression-era America, and the practice didn't hurt to keep rust away.