Santa Barbara's Popcorn Man

Everett Nicholin 1890 - 1980
One of my favorite childhood memories was of the 'Popcorn Man' at the foot of Stearns Wharf. I grew up on the Northside (San Roque)and we used to pedal our bikes or take the bus down to the waterfront for a day of fishing followed by take out hamburgers (toasted buns, cheese and Thousand Island dressing) at Sinceri's Restaurant on West Beach.

At the time Santa Barbara did not have air-conditioned malls and the Wharf, being over water, was our respite from the day's heat. I remember the pinwheels that he fastened to the top of his popcorn 'cart' - they rattled in the light breeze and their sound reinforced the image of the Wharf as being the coolest place around.

Seeing this picture, taken by my brother Gerald, I was struck by the fact that his trousers were freshly pressed every day as befitting the waterfront proprietor that he was. In his own way he was dressing for success - and what a success he was! It reminds me of the crease in my own father's freshly-starched workman's chino pants and of my mother who would not let him or any of us out of the house unless we were "presentable".

"He will always be remembered by those who had the opportunity to know him and to appreciate his presence." The link above will take you to an article commemorating his contribution to our community.

God bless you Everett, wherever you are. May you always have freshly ironed trousers and be surrounded by pinwheels, the smell of hot buttered popcorn and the voices of happy children.

You are sorely missed...