Friday, August 8, 2014

San Francisco Memories

Because I spent part of my childhood living in San Francisco, I expected that our recent trip there would stir some memories, and it did. 


Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge with the fog coming in...


... catching a cable car...


... the excitement of the cable car going up... and up...


... and the stomach-clenching thrill of the cable car going down...



This is a tranquil shot taken out a restaurant window at Fisherman's Wharf (look closely for some of the resident sea lions sunning themselves). The wharf retail area is now much bigger and much busier than the wharf of my childhood, which had maybe three outdoor crab pots boiling for the few people waiting in line to take fresh crabs home with them. Back then in the early 1950s, there were a couple of big restaurants, and they are still there, but now the wharf area is "best known for being the location of Pier 39, the Cannery Shopping CenterGhirardelli Square, a Ripley's Believe it or Not museum, the Musée Mécanique, the Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf, the Aquarium of the Bay, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park" (Wikipedia article, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco)


These little three-wheeled rental cars were a new sight to me. 


I loved having the chance to ride a familiar street car once again. 



This was the view from our daughter's hotel, the J.W. Marriott Union Square Hotel. You can see our hotel, the King George, somewhere down there. The cool San Francisco fog together with the sound of fog horns and the cries of seagulls took me right back to my childhood...


... as did this intersection. As we strolled back down Kearny Street to the hotel from our dinner at The Stinking Rose, the sight of that gate literally stopped me in my tracks. It was such an unusual sensation for me, but I had the strongest feeling that I had been in this exact spot before. When I looked around a bit, I realized that I was standing at the entrance to Maiden Lane, where my parents had brought us kids to see Christmas decorations every year. I had no idea that the memory was stored somewhere in my brain since we moved from San Francisco when I was only 11, but there it was!




Who knew that this happy street from my childhood had once been at the heart of the red-light district, and that, at one point, the area was experiencing a murder a day! However, enterprising merchants were determined to change it into a destination, and by the time I knew it, the Christmas decorations there were magical. Now it is an upscale shopping area with fancy boutiques, closed to auto traffic during the day

I loved our trip to San Francisco and feel so lucky to have lived there. Our little row house on 48th Avenue is still there in the Sunset District out by the beach. My parents sold it for $11,000 back in 1955. We could never afford it today!

Me, at our house on 48th Avenue in San Francisco
Circa 1949-1950






5 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Oh, what a fun trip and what wonderful memories, Clairz!! I do love SF and always enjoy my trips there. And I also love your photos for the day!! Thanks for sharing!! Have a lovely weekend!

Jean (aka Auntie Bucksnort) said...

What wonderful memories. I had forgotten that there are cable cars AND street cars, the two very distinct. Were the street cars green and cream colored?

clairz said...

Jean, yes, it was green and cream-colored, just like the street car I used to take up Judah Street to the public library branch on 19th Avenue. It was so nostalgic--the sound of the wheels on the tracks and the ding-dinging bell they ring to warn traffic that they are coming through just took me right back to my childhood.

Shelley said...

Looks like you had beautiful weather! I lived on Judah Street in the early fifties for about a year while my Dad finished up his Naval career following the Korean War. I mostly remember the fog!

I went back and lived in Berkeley for two years when I was eighteen. I still dream about the Bay Area.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You CAN go home again! Great memories ... I loved that unique city when we visited and it has been wayyy too long ago. But for you with your childhood memories --especially since you could share them with your daughter -- must have been beyond wonderful.