Longtime Del Mar resident Chiquita Abbott Farrell to celebrate book debut at Julie’s Beach Life


On Sunday, Feb. 19, Chiquita Abbott Farrell will celebrate her love for Del Mar and her debut as an author with an early-afternoon book signing of “To Del Mar with Love, Chiquita”, her recently published memoir/local history. The event will take place from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at Julie’s Beach Life in the historic Stratford Square building in the heart of the village.

The cover of “To Del Mar with Love, Chiquita”
The cover of “To Del Mar with Love, Chiquita”
(Copyright of Chiquita Abbott Farrell)

“It’s a fitting conclusion to Valentine’s week,” says bookseller Anne Mery in a news release, whose Eceltic bookshop is located inside Julie Zozaya’s store.

To Del Mar with Love, Chiquita begins at the beginning, with the author’s brief recollection of her childhood in Monrovia, California in the 1920s and ’30s. Chiquita played “kick the can” in the street with the boys and performed in Vaudeville-style dance programs at the local theater on weekends. Her father died when she was just 10 years old. Her 4-foot-10-inch mother had only a third-grade education and no work experience, and had never paid a bill.

“But she was very bright,” says Chiquita in the news release. “And she always presented her best side to her two daughters.” She credits her mother with developing the skills and leadership qualities that led to her own success.

Chiquita came to Del Mar in the 1950s with her husband Bill and two sons, Mark and Nick. They settled on Coast Boulevard at the northwest corner of Del Mar, which she dubbed “the Beach Colony.” Raising their boys in the local schools and developing her real estate business over the next 60 years, Chiquita got to know most of the residents of Del Mar. Many have become lifelong friends.

Her roster of clients includes Burt Bacharach, Desi Arnaz, Martin Cooper, inventor of the cell phone, and Cooper’s wife, Arlene Harris, who launched the easy-to-use Jitterbug phone.

“It seems Chiquita has bought or sold nearly every building in Del Mar, some more than once,” says Larry Brooks, president of the Del Mar Historical Society, in the news release.

A highly successful real estate professional and a consummate supporter of local service organizations and youth programs, Chiquita developed a unique insight into Del Mar life. And her goal as a broker has always been to achieve a transaction that leaves all parties satisfied. In one notable (multi-transaction) transfer recounted in her book, Chiquita brokered the City of Del Mar’s purchase of the original St. James Catholic church-turned-restaurant-turned-office-building at 13th Street and Camino Del Mar. She had identified it as a perfect new home for the Del Mar Library. The library was moved there in 1996 and remains there to this day.

Come and say hello to Chiquita on Sunday, Feb. 19, between 1- 3 p.m. at Julie’s Beach Life, 1440 Camino Del Mar. Light refreshments will be served, and a brief musical interlude is planned. If you have a copy of To Del Mar with Love, Chiquita that you would like to have signed, you are invited to bring it along. The book is also available for purchase at the store. — News release