Salton Sea Life: Revisiting a Memorable childhood with Mom
Donna Burns grew up as a pioneer on 500 acres owned by her grandfather at the Salton Sea. Her Mom, Helen Burns, began selling beverages and snacks out of a plywood shack. Within a decade, Helen’s fledging business had become an entertainment destination. Helen wrote a book, started a newspaper and held dances, festivals, skits and contests. She was the unofficial leader of the community. But as the popularity of the sea declined, and after Helen died, the magic of those years was in danger of being forgotten.
Donna’s husband, Bill Linehan, gathered historical facts, photos and county records, and Donna wrote anecdotes about dancing the hula in the Beach House bar and waterskiing with Santa. Their book is a childhood memoir, a biography of Helen and a history of Salton Sea Beach from the 1950s to the late 1990s.
Donna Burns Kennedy and Bill Linehan are co-authors of “Queen of the Salton Sea: Helen Burns and Me” (2020). They are former writers and editors for “The Press-Enterprise.” Both earned bachelors’ degrees at California State University, Long Beach, and doctorates at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Donna’s poetry, flash fiction and flash memoir have appeared in several online and print magazines, and Sagebrush Press published Bill’s novel, “Just Kid Me Old Highway Old Wildway O Pecos Bill” in 2011.
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