Island Icon: By Peggy Eddy, Coronado Historical Association Volunteer The monthly column, Island Icons, of historical vignettes from the Coronado Historical Association features insights and personal memories of locals. An initiative of CHA and its community volunteers, it is the product of a special archival oral history project that records the local personal histories that may be lost in the near future. This month’s Island Icon is Carl Turnipseed, local World War II veteran who celebrated his 93rd birthday Nov. 30, 2020.
Although he was born in 1927 in Elrod, Alabama, Carl Turnipseed has lived in Coronado for 90 years. Carl moved to Coronado with his family when he was three months old. His mother’s sister was married to the fire chief in Coronado, and they invited the family to town to find work. His father last worked with the city of Coronado as their tree trimming expert. Carl said to his knowledge, his father “was the first person to climb and decorate the Christmas tree at Rotary Plaza.” Carl fondly recalled the freedom he and his young friends had to ride their bikes, construct forts on vacant lots, and “play on the rocks on Ocean [Boulevard], dodging the rats there. We also would try to get from the North Beach sandspit to the Hotel Del on our bikes. My buddies and I would be gone all day without our folks worrying about our safety.” For spending money, the boys would catch gophers, exchange them for tokens at the fire station, and redeem the tokens for 15 cents each at City Hall. They used their earnings to buy treats on Orange Avenue. As a Coronado High School freshman, Carl weighed in at 108 pounds and five foot three and spent the next three years quarterbacking on the varsity football team. In his senior year he was a 142-pound quarterback and a blocking back as well as class president. His graduating class of 1945 had 75 members. His girlfriend Elise was also beauty queen that year. He fondly
Carl Turnipseed (far left) with Charlie Free, Jim Carlisle, and Marco Polumbo help at the 1968 Rotary Pancake Breakfast. Photos courtesy of the Coronado Historical Association
remembers going to Anderson’s Bakery with fellow seniors and getting pie from Bud and Claire at the backdoor of the bakery.
P82 | Coronado Magazine