| "I DO, I DO," IN SAN FRANCISCO
Thursday, April 24, we left Bakersfield for the first time since our honeymoon, driving to San Francisco to attend the wedding of a First Cousin, Once Removed, and to sample some of the atmosphere of the city. I had not visited the Golden Gate area since 1960, so I figured that once every 40 years would be an o.k. thing to do. There is a lot to show, but not much to say. We visited with Sylvia and Kyle in Livermore, then checked into the Omni Hotel in the heart of the financial district. The wedding party had discount rates but it was still a pretty pricy stay-over. Spending money does make a difference in the level of comfort, but most of the new amenities were always tied in with a need to spend yet more money. :-)
Friday evening, we attended the rehearsal dinner, and the following afternoon went to the wedding, held in a Presbyterian Church that dated back to 1905 and survived the 1906 earthquake. Following that, we took a cab back to the City Club, the old Pacific Stock Exchange, where the reception was held. On the steps up to the dancing floor one confronted a Diego Reviera fresco that celebrated the diversity of California’s economic history. It is probably worth more than the entire building, indeed, one wag said it was worth more than the entire block. And why not; no one can purchase it without purchasing the whole building and it can never be moved. One pays a lot of money for a fixation.
When we were not attending wedding events, we spent a nice time walking about the Wharf, taking a cable car up to Nob Hill, enjoying the “actors” on the sidewalk and sampling the Grand Opening of the new Farmers Market, held in the Old Ferry Building on the waterfront.
The most controversial aspect of this was the prohibition of bicyclists from walking their bikes through the crowded shoppers, and the question of when the Tower Clock would start again: the day that the Market opened or when the Mayor of San Francisco showed up to formally dedicate the new site. I noticed that the clock did not start while we were there, so the politics seemed to work in favor of the mayor.
Unfortunately for us, the economics of visiting Alcatraz Island did not work. It was sold out, so we had to content ourselves with a book purchase and a long distance view of the island. I am sure that many of those placed within its walls would have liked for it to have been “sold out” during their time. It is a harsh island to look at and I am sure a difficult place on which to live, as did all of the prisoners, guards, families and support staff. Saw a documentary on it recently and contrary to popular belief, some prisoners have escaped, and I understand that Jack LaLane swam across the bay from the island to the shore, with his hands handcuffed and his teeth holding a rope pulling a light raft. Jack did it handily and he is not dinghy.
Little Notes: We bought an umbrella for $2.99. Taxi drivers are courageous, crazy and competitive. I have never tipped a doorman to call me a cab...before. Traffic in San Francisco on a Sunday morning is quiet, civilized and comforting. Tea service at breakfast was unique...a case like a box of cigars is presented and one selects a flavor. Pancakes were $9.95... English muffins $4.50.
On Sunday, we stopped in Los Gatos and visited an old high school friend, Sam Foster, who has been dealing with Parkinson’s Disease for the past 12 years. Sam lost his wife of 45 years to cancer about a year ago, and we spent four hours talking, looking at his property and his projects, and enjoying the best waffles we have ever eaten, a product of his own recipe. Sam does a lot of renovation and building on his house and lives his life in what he calls “three hour windows” when the two medications that he is taking manage to get together long enough for him to be virtually tremor free.
In about a month of so, he will have electrical implants set into his brain to see if they can reduce the tremors which are severe. This is an experimental program offered at the University of San Francisco, and we are all hoping that Sam will benefit significantly from the procedure.
It was a long drive home that evening, but well worth the visit with him, and one that carried some happy memories of the long weekend.
San Francisco…a nice place to visit (no, I would not want to live there). :-)