Last week my husband Dan and I were in San Francisco, my hometown. I was born and raised there. (Well, born there, anyway. Actually, I was raised right next door in South San Francisco.) All through high school I worked downtown on Market Street and sneered at the yahoos who called my city “Frisco.”
Dan was scheduled to conduct meetings downtown. Funny, I haven’t spent time in San Francisco for… well, ages. Yet when Dan said, “Let’s see… the address is the 300 block of Stockton Street. I wonder how you get there?” it all came back to me. I said, “Take the 6th Street turn-off and head toward Market.”
The weather was gorgeous, as it too seldom is there. The Golden Gate Bridge was majestic against an azure sky, decorated with puffs of white clouds. And the sun hit the pristine San Francisco skyline in such a way that it glowed like alabaster.
I regaled Dan with stories of my brother and me buying a crab and a loaf of sour dough bread at Fisherman’s Wharf and carting it up to Coit Tower to eat while we surveyed the city and poured out our deepest hopes and dreams. Of my cat Twinkle that my dad gave away to a family in Marin but that walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and through the entire city to get back home again. Of scaring the life out of each other as kids with stories of escaped killers from Alcatraz with hooks instead of hands, who left their hooks hanging on our door. Of hot dates to Chinatown.
Oh, and of learning to drive on those storied roller coaster hills… in a VW bug… with a manual transmission. I cannot tell you how many steep inclines I rolled down backward before I mastered that clutch! (I don’t want to brag, but no one can drive a stick shift like I can! And, nowadays—frontwards!)
Who says you can’t go home again? I just did last week.
“No city invites the heart to come to life as San Francisco does.”