Mid-20th century postcard from San Clemente
Until the visit that Una and I took to San Clemente
this past weekend, I don’t think
that I’d ever visited the place. I’m not entirely sure because nearly all of my trips south on the 5 have ended in Mexico
and the stretch of freeway between South Orange County
and San Diego County
has blended together in my mind into white-walled, red-roofed blur. I may very well stopped in San Clemente to refill the gas tank on at least one occasion but, again, I have no recollection. Now, however, after having spent a weekend there and exploring mostly on foot (the best way to explore) I promise that I won’t confuse San Clemente for any other red-tile community.
San Clemente is the southernmost city in South County. This is inarguable in a geographic sense and arguable in a symbolic sense as well. South Orange County is generally and night entirely inaccurately characterized as a predominantly white, politically conservative, and wealthy place.
San Clemente is predominantly white
-- 76% white (compared to 44% for the county as a whole) although to me it seemed even whiter. However, slow change is afoot and in the past thirty years, the Latino population has more than doubled whilst the Anglo population has shrunk by 14%. According to the 2010 census, the population of San Clemente is 17% Latino
but that seemed to me much lower. My perception versus the facts might have to do with the fact that I stayed near North Beach
and spent most of my time exploring Downtown
and the area next to the ocean -- areas that are possibly much whiter than others. In two days I only heard Spanish being spoken on three occasions, including once in the kitchen of a Mexican
make up just 4% of San Clemente's population, and blacks
and Native Americans
both make up less than 1% of the population.