The year was 1982. My twin brother and I were college freshman on Spring Break. No, we were not packed into a trendy bar in Mexico. Instead we were in a well-used 22-foot sailboat making our first un-escorted passage from Alamitos Bay in Long Beach to Avalon on Catalina Island. Armed only with a compass and a healthy dose of free spirit, we arrived in Avalon a bit soggy but still afloat. We anchored the boat, paddled our cheap raft to shore and headed for the only pizza place on the island - Antonio’s. The original Antonio’s was a “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant with peanut shells on the floor and mini jukeboxes at each table. We sat down to celebrate our successful voyage and selected the song by the Four Preps, 26 Miles (Santa Catalina), a catchy tune about the beauty and romance of Catalina Island. Little did I know that eight years later I’d be making the trip to Catalina, not for pizza and beer, but as a dentist treating the island’s children.
Today, we send a dental team 2-4 times per month to care for children from birth through high school, the only game in town for many of our patients. We offer the best quality care; so if these children have very complex medical or therapeutic issues, we refer them
“over town” to our main clinic in Long Beach. Our dentists and staff members that have
made the journey will attest that it can be a long but very rewarding day.
If you are ever on Catalina, head up to Avalon school and look to your left – you’ll see our humble little clinic. And, if you want a great pizza, Antonio’s is still a short walk through town, jukeboxes and all. Go ahead and select that Four Preps song and listen closely to the lyrics. When you hear “forty kilometers in a leaky old boat... any old thing that’ll stay afloat,” take notice of the local children’s smiles - there’s a good chance that one of our CDHC dental teams helped make that smile just a bit bigger.