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The History of Monalisa Beach Resort

THE "MONALISA" IS A FAMILY OPERATION THAT INVOLVED A PIONEERING EVENT SURROUNDED BY MANY OBSTACLES THAT GO ALONG WITH LIVING SO FAR AWAY FROM OTHER PEOPLE, WHEN THE TOWNS-PEOPLE (POPULATION OF 25,000, ACCORDING TO THE HIGHWAY SIGN ENTERING TOWN), REALIZED THAT THEY, AS A YOUNG FAMILY, MOVED INTO THIS WILDERNESS AREA WITH 30 FOOT HIGH SAND-DUNES, THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE OUT OF OUR MINDS, AND VERY OFTEN SENT FRIENDS OUT TO SEE IF WE WERE SAFE AND SOUND.

THIS WAS DURING THE YEAR OF 1960, THEY HAD NOT YET RECEIVED TITLE TO THIS PROPERTY, BUT WERE CONFIDENT TO TAKE PO SESSION (IT WAS CONSIDERED WORTHLESS LAND AT THAT TIME), SINCE ONE OF THEIR CHILDREN'S GOD-FATHERS WAS ALSO A JUDGE HERE, AND WAS THE ONE WHO WAS HANDLING LAND TRANSFER.

UNKNOWN AT THE TIME, WAS THAT MANY OF OUR FRIENDS WERE PROFESSIONAL POLITICIANS AND HAD BEEN HELPING US FROM BEHIND THE SCENES, INCLUDING MILITARY OFFICERS OF GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, WHO TOOK A PERSONAL INTEREST IN OUR WELFARE.

THE GREAT-GREAT GRANDPARENTS (THE FOUNDERS OF THE FAMOUS "ESTERO BEACH RESORT") ALSO, OFTEN LOOKED INTO OUR "IMPOSSIBLE VENTURE" AS IT WAS CALLED.

THE BLESSINGS WE RECEIVED WERE UNCOUNTABLE… OUR SURVIVAL WAS HANGING ON A STRING, TO SAY THE LEAST, AT THAT TIME THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO PUBLIC SERVICES, WE WERE WITHOUT ELECTRICITY FOR OVER TWELVE YEARS, WE HAD TO MAKE A WEEKLY VISIT TO TOWN TO FILL TWO (2) DRUMS WITH NEEDED WATER; AND WE HAVE HAD TELEPHONES FOR LESS THAN FOUR YEARS WHICH ALSO BROUGHT IN CABLE TV.

THE YOUNG PILOT OFFICERS FROM THE MILITARY AIR BASE A MILE TO THE NORTH OF US TOOK NOTICE WHILE ON TRAINING FLIGHTS AND MADE THE EFFORT OF COMING TO MEET US, AND LET US KNOW THAT THEY COULD SEE THE MOVEMENT OF THE SAND IN THE OCEAN THAT WE WERE PUSHING OUT, TO LEVEL THE DUNES WITH THE HELP OF ONE OF OUR GOOD FRIENDS (JOSE DE HOYOS), WHO HIRED (TED), AT ONE DOLLAR EIGHTY ($1.80) CENTS A DAY TO WORK ON ONE OF HIS RANCHES SOUTH OF ENSENADA… OF COURSE, DURING HARVEST TIME, THERE WAS ALWAYS PLENTY OF FOOD, MOSTLY BEANS.

IN THE MEANTIME, THE PILOTS BECAME FRIENDS AND OFTEN CAME OVER FOR VISITS WE OFTEN WENT HUNTING FOR RABBITS FOR MEAT DURING THE NIGHT HOURS, RETURNING (HOME) AT 04:00 TO 05:00AM WHEN ELISA WOULD SKIN AND PREPARE THE MEAT WHICH WE WOULD ALL ENJOY, TURNING EACH MOMENT OF OUR FRIENDSHIP INTO GOOD TIMES.

SOON, THE FARMERS AND RANCHERS TED WORKED WITH, DECIDED TO BUILD A WELL FOR WATER, A VERY PRIMITIVE SYSTEM AND TOOK A LOT OF TIME BY HAND, THEY WOULD FIRST BUILD A CEMENT RING BY USING A CIRCULAR FORM THREE FEET HIGH AND SIX FEET DIAMETER, FILL IT WITH CEMENT, ALLOW IT TO CURE, REMOVE THE FORMS AND GET INSIDE TO SHOVEL THE SAND OUT, THE CEMENT RING WOULD SLOWLY SINK AND THEY WOULD SET THE FORM ON TOP OF THAT RING BELOW ONCE IT WAS LEVEL, REPEATING THIS OPERATION UNTIL THEY WERE INTO THREE (3) FEET OF UNDERGROUND RIVER WATER HEADING INTO THE OCEAN, WHAT A THRILL THAT WAS!

THE NEXT PROBLEM WAS A SMALL GASOLINE WATER PUMP AND A YEAR OR TWO LATER, A WINDMILL TO GET THE WATER OUT… THE GENERAL AT THE MILITARY BASE SENT PLANTS AND PALM TREES ONCE THERE WAS WATER, THE GENERAL ALSO SENT THEM PERSONNEL TO HELP PLANT THOSE PALMS FROM THE BASE AS THEY WERE UNLOADED… THIS GENERAL WAS NOT OVERLY FOND OF "GRINGOS" BY THE WAY, BUT ANOTHER OF TED AND LISA'S BLESSINGS WAS THAT THE GENERAL TOO, WAS KEEPING AN EYE ON THEIR PROGRESS, ONCE HE REALIZED HOW HARD THEY WORKED TOGETHER AS A FAMILY, UNDER WHAT WAS CONSIDERED "A MISSION IMPOSSIBLE" THE GENERAL TOOK A LIKING TO THEM AND BECAME ANOTHER BLESSING TO THEIR SURVIVAL AS DID MANY OF THE CONCERNED TOWNS-PEOPLE.

TED AND LISA LIVED WITHOUT ELECTRICITY FOR SO MANY YEARS THAT THEY BEGAN TO THINK THAT IT WAS NOT NEEDED, THEY JUST KEPT ON BUILDING, AND FAMILY AND AMERICAN FRIENDS WANTING ANOTHER HOME ON THE BEACH ALSO BEGAN TO BUILD, THEY USED OIL LAMPS, AND LATER, BUTANE LAMPS; "PEPSI COLA COMPANY" WERE THE ONLY ONES WHO HAD THE CONFIDENCE THAT THE NOW FAMOUS "MONALISA" WOULD SURVIVE, THEY BUILT A "PEPSI" STAND, 8X8 FEET SQUARE FOR THEM WITH A "COLEMAN LANTERN" HANGING FROM THE CENTER OF THE ROOF; LISA'S FIRST CUSTOMERS (40) WERE FROM THE "ESTETRO BEACH RESORT" TO THE SOUTH OF THEM, AN EXCITING MOMENT.

THE REAL BACK-BREAKER WAS THE SHOVELING THE DIRT BROUGHT IN BY THE DUMP TRUCKS, BY THOSE SAME FARMERS WHO TED WORKED FOR, FIRST SHOVEL IT OUT A FOOT THICK, THEN WET IT DOWN SO THE NEXT LOADS COULD ENTER OVER THE NOW LEVELED SAND-DUNES… THEY NEEDED A ROAD TO GET BUILDING MATERIAL TO THE SIGHT; WORKING FROM SUN-UP TO SUNDOWN WAS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO KEEP UP WITH THE TRUCK-LOADS OF INCOMING DIRT, TED WAS SOON BURIED IN A CIRCLE MOUND OF DIRT… TIRED ALWAYS, BUT THEIR HIGH SPIRITS WERE NOT DAMPENED AND THERE WERE ALWAYS EX-PATRIOT AMERICANS AROUND WITH EXPERTISE KNOWLEDGE RETIRED IN MEXICO WITH ADVICE AND HELP… IT JUST TOOK MONEY FOR MOST OF THEIR IDEAS AND THAT WE DID NOT HAVE.

TED AND LISA DECIDED TO LEAVE A NEPHEW TO WATCH OVER THE PROJECT AND WENT TO WORK IN THE (FIRST) "NURSERYLAND" IN NATIONAL CITY, CALIFORNIA TO RAISE BUILDING FUNDS… THE DRIVE BACK AND FORTH DAILY WAS AN EFFORT IN ITSELF, BUT THE BENEFITS AND BLESSINGS WERE STILL FLOWING FORTH AND THEY ARE ALWAYS THANKFUL FOR THOSE NEVER ENDING BLESSINGS.

THEY GAINED A LOT OF EXPERIENCE AND LEARNED MUCH NEEDED SKILLS AS WELL AS MANY OTHER BENEFITS TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION; ELISA (LISA) AND TED WERE MARRIED VERY YOUNG, LISA CAME FROM AN OLD FASHIONED MEXICAN FAMILY (EIGHT BOYS AND EIGHT GIRLS) WITH A VERY STRICT CULTURE, TED WAS A FRIEND OF LISA'S ELDEST BROTHER WHO WAS WORKING ON CONTRACT IN THE STATES, HE INVITED TED TO VISIT HIS HOME IN "UNION DE TULA, JALISCO," ON HIS TRIP BACK TO RENEW HIS WORK PERMIT REQUIRED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, AT FIRST SIGHT, TED FELL IN LOVE WITH LISA, BUT NEITHER COULD UNDERSTAND THE OTHERS LANGUAGE; TED DID NOT KNOW THAT WHEN HE AND HIS FRIEND ENTERED HIS AUNTS RESTAURANT, THAT LISA WAS HIS FRIENDS SISTER, BUT THE MOMENT TED SAW LISA CLEANING A TABLE, HE TURNED TO HIS FRIEND - (HER BROTHER), AND ASKED HIM TO ASK THIS BEAUTIFUL YOUNG LADY IF SHE WOULD MARRY HIM!

HER BROTHER TOLD LISA WHAT TED HAD SAID IN A JOKING MANNER, AND SHE ANSWERED: "OH, THESE CRAZY AMERICANS, MARRY TODAY AND DIVORCE TOMORROW," HER ANSWER WAS: "WHEN HE LEARNS OUR LANGUAGE I'LL MARRY HIM." TED TOOK THAT SERIOUSLY; AND PRAYED A LOT! THE LORD WAS OUR GUIDE AND THE BLESSINGS FLOWED FORWARD.

I MIGHT ADD THAT AMERICANS WERE UNKNOWN IN THAT VILLAGE AT THAT TIME, AND THAT VILLAGE DID NOT HAVE ELECTRICITY OR ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT SERVICES, IT WAS A RANCH AREA, SO A FOREIGNER WAS QUITE AN ATTRACTION… EVEN THE PRIEST MENTIONED THAT HE THOUGHT THAT THE REASON THAT THE CHURCH SERVICE WAS PACKED TO THE POINT THAT THE PEOPLE WERE STANDING IN THE STREET IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH, (IT WAS A BIG CATHEDRAL TYPE OF A CHURCH), WAS THAT "WE HAVE A VISITOR!"

WHAT TED DID NOT KNOW AT THE TIME IS THAT THE YOUNG GIRLS OF THE FAMILY, EIGHT (8), WERE SENT WITH THEIR AUNTS AND UNCLES WHILE TED WAS THEIR BROTHERS GUEST IN THEIR HOME….

TED BOUGHT A 0.25 CENT BOOKLET AND TRIED TO MEMORIZE SPANISH WORDS WHILE SITTING IN THE PLAZA HOPING TO GET A PEEK OF LISA WHILE SHE WAS WORKING FOR HER AUNT; ONCE, TED REQUESTED PERMISSION TO INVITE LISA TO THE VERY SMALL ANTIQUEDATED MOVIE THEATER IN THE VILLAGE WHICH WAS OPERATING ONLY A COUPLE OF HOURS A DAY WHEN THE VILLAGE GENERATORS WERE WORKING… FROM 04:30 AM TO ABOUT 06:00 AM TO ALLOW EVERYONE TIME TO PREPARE FOR WORK AND SCHOOL… AND AGAIN, IN THE EVENINGS, FROM ABOUT 7:00 PM, TO ABOUT 10:00 PM.

WELL, THE PROTOCOL OF THE CULTURE OF THOSE TIMES, AND THE FAMILY DID NOT ALLOW FOR SUCH A REQUEST, HOWEVER SINCE TED WAS A SPECIAL GUEST OF THE ELDEST SON OF THE FAMILY, TED WAS ALLOWED HIS REQUEST; (BETWEEN FIVE AND SEVEN CHAPERONS WERE SITTING BETWEEN TED AND LISA) BUT, IT WAS A VERY HAPPY MOMENT FOR TED!

SOON TED AND HIS FRIEND LUIS HAD TO RETURN TO THE STATES, AND TED HAD REQUESTED THE HELP OF HIS MEXICAN COM RADS TO TRANSLATE HIS LETTERS TO SPANISH (SOME OF THOSE TRANSLATORS STILL VISIT THEM), TO FORWARD TO LISA WHO OF COURSE DID NOT TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY IN THE BEGINNING (LISA'S MOTHER WAS SAVING ALL OF THE LETTERS); THE TOWNS-PEOPLE WERE TELLING HER THAT SHE WOULD NEVER SEE THAT "GRINGO" AGAIN… HE WOULD BE KILLED, OR MARRY AN ASIAN GIRL OR RETURN HOME AND MARRY, BUT NEVER RETURN THIS FAR FROM HIS HOME!

HOWEVER, UPON TED'S DISCHARGE FROM MILITARY SERVICE, STILL IN FULL UNIFORM, HE TOOK A FLIGHT TO GUADALAJARA, JALISCO, THEN, A FIVE HOUR DRIVE THROUGH WHAT WAS CONSIDERED JUNGLE (BY TAXI), ARRIVING ABOUT 03:00AM SOUND ASLEEP IN THE TAXI (THE ONLY AUTOMOBILE IN THE VILLAGE), BEFORE TED WAS AWAKENED, THE TWO DRIVERS KNOCKED ON THE HUGE FOUR SECTION RANCH HOUSE DOOR STATING THAT THEIR (SON) HAD RETURNED HOME FROM ASIA.


WITH THE SOUND OF A VEHICLE, A STARTLED VILLAGE BEGAN TO LIGHT UP THE OIL LAMPS AND GATHER AROUND VERY SURPRISED; OF COURSE TED WAS NOT PERMITTED TO BE UNDER THE SAME ROOF OR EVEN SEE LISA; THE FAMILY, WHO WONDERED WHAT THEY WERE TO DO WITH THIS "GRINGO," TED WAS SENT TO A LODGING AND THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS WERE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO; FINALLY, THE PARENTS ASKED LISA WHAT SHE THOUGHT… SHE SAID: "HE HAS DONE EVERYTHING HE SAID HE WOULD DO OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, HE LOVES ME, AND I WANT TO MARRY HIM."

HER COUSIN JESUS, COME TO INFORM TED THAT THE CIVIL WEDDING WOULD TAKE PLACE THE FOLLOWING DAY! FOLLOWING THE EVENT TED WOULD HAVE TO IMMEDIATELY RETURN HOME (ALONE) AND WAIT FOR THE CHURCH WEDDING… TED'S BLESSINGS WERE MOUNTING, HIS PRAYERS WERE BEING ANSWERED, HE EVEN HAD THE PLEASURE TO KISS THE (RED FACED) BRIDE ON THE CHEEK, FOLLOWING THE "CIVIL SERVICE" THEY ALL (MOST OF THE RANCHERS) HAD A TOAST OF RED WINE, AND TED RETURNED HOME.

ELEVEN (11) MONTHS LATER, TED WAS INFORMED THAT THE CHURCH WEDDING WAS TO BE THE FOLLOWING MONTH, FEB. 17th. 1953, NEITHER TED NOR LISA COULD SPEAK THE OTHERS LANGUAGE AS YET; EVERYTHING WENT SMOOTH (NO WAY TO ARGUE) AND THEY LEARNED TOGETHER… LISA, LIKE MOST WOMEN, BEING SMARTER AND FAMILY ORIENTED, LEARNED MUCH QUICKER THAN DID TED… THE TRIP TO ENSENADA WAS QUITE BY ACCIDENT, THE JUDGE WHO MARRIED THEM IN JALISCO AT THE (CIVIL) WEDDING HAD MOVED TO ENSENADA, B.C. AND THEY LOOKED HIM UP, HE WAS ALSO A JUDGE AT THAT TIME, THEIR ROOTS TOOK HOLD NEVER TO LEAVE THAT SMALL TOWN WHERE ONE COULD LEAVE THE DOORS OPEN, THE KEYS IN THE CAR PARKED ON THE STREET, NOT EVEN A POLICE REPORT PAGE IN THE DAILY NEWSPAPER… THEY HAVE PASSED THEIR GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY AND ARE HEADING TOWARDS THEIR DIAMOND A FEW YEARS DOWN THE ROAD, THEY HAVE (CLOSE) TO THIRTY (30) GRANDCHILDREN AND HALF A DOZEN GREAT GRANDCHILDREN, WITH SEVERAL GRAND-CHILDREN GETTING CLOSE TO THE A GE OF MARRIAGE… THE TREASURE OF THEIR BLESSINGS IS MOUNTING!

TED AND LISA ARE HERE TO MEET AND SERVE YOU AT THEIR RUSTIC RANCH TYPE COBBLESTONE FAMILY OCEAN-FRONT RESORT WHICH IS NO LONGER IN THE WILDERNESS!

MAY GOD BE AS GOOD TO ALL OF YOU AS HE HAS BEEN TO THIS FAMILY!

"WELCOME TO THE "MONALISA."
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