Greeting Tourists with a Wave in Laguna Beach, California
It was around 1938 when the locals first noticed him: a tall and bearded eccentric, working as a gardener in the Old Pottery Shack, who would wave and shout greetings at passersby. Wearing a red plaid shirt, blue jeans and sandals, he loved giving candy to children and donating his science and philosophy books to the library. Born in 1890 in Denmark, Eiler Larsen had the wanderlust bug, finally landing in the artistic community of Laguna Beach. Up to his death in 1975 at age 85, this ancient mariner became the town's "Official Greeter and Goodwill Ambassador", bringing a colorful flavor to the growing city. Today his image is honored with two statutes in the downtown area, where he had wandered up and down the sidewalks, waving and smiling as the busy world passed by.