I know Thanksgiving is over, but I just wanted to say thank you San Francisco, I love you. I love your skyline, your clanging cable cars, your steep hills, your incredible vistas, and most of all, your diversity. I grew up going to Chinatown for live blue crabs and sitting embarrassed on the bus as the crabs tried to claw their way out of the paper bags. I sat on the bus listening to 15 languages being simultaneously shouted across the aisles. I celebrated childhood with either Rose or Black Sesame ice cream from Polly Ann’s Ice Cream in the Outer Sunset, or Macapuno or Corn ice cream from Mitchell’s Ice Cream in the Mission. I spent my high school years ghost-hunting in Golden Gate Park looking for the White Lady (a ghost who’s apparently still searching for her child) at Stow Lake. I made out with boyfriends at Fort Funston, an old gun battery created in WWII to protect SF from the Japanese forces (which never came). We built bonfires from discarded pallets at Ocean Beach (apparently one person took his/her beach bonfire from nearby Baker Beach to the desert and started calling it Burning Man and now is like the Andy Warhol of our day). My first job was making cotton candy at the San Francisco Zoo. When someone in my group of friends got their learner’s permit, we would challenge the car driver to a race between a runner and the car down Lombard St (titled the ‘Crookedest Street in the World’). My favorite cheap thrill was to go to Union Square and ride the glass elevators at the St. Francis Hotel. I loved listening to the musicians busking at the Powell BART station and often threw what little change I could muster into their guitar cases filled with scattered dollars.
So when a fellow San Franciscan writes this comment in passing to the SF Gate:
11/26/2009 8:53:22 AM
“I love these memories and traditions of the old Ess Eff, way before this town turned into a whining, irritating, hipster yuppie playground”.
‘Aint that the truth. My family moved to SF in 1909, and I’m the only one left. I have so many fond memories: Watching the Shriner’s parade from our living room window on the corner of Frederick and Arquello, across from Poly. Playland and the salty sea smell at the Sutro baths.
I still live in SF, but the old magic has long gone. Now, when I take a bus, I feel like I’m in a foreign country.
But at least we saw the best of SF. It’s gone.
…it hurts me because apparently my presence makes other old time SF people feel like they’re in a foreign country and unhappy about it. Thank you for negating every happy childhood memory I’ve ever had. However to the rest of SF, I want to say that I am thankful that the world is changing, and that we’re a more diverse group, and I hope that the one thing that remains is a willingness to be open to new cultures and the curiosity to find the human story behind each face.