Monday - October 8th: Mom and I walk the Fillmore and bus all around
My first night in Pacifica was uneventful and relatively quiet. When I got back from walking the Coastal Trail with mom I was too beat to get back in the car to find some supper so I ordered a delivered pizza from Viva Italiano. With tip it ended up being 20 bucks for a small but I was going to have plenty left over for breakfast the next day so it was worth it to me albeit a bit of a splurge.
On Monday morning I was up at 5:00. Well, not quite. I lounged around in bed drinking my coffee and eating Betsy's delicious banana bread made partly with mesquite flour which we can buy in Tucson at the San Xavier Co-op Farm. It is a tasty and healthy way to start my day. Every day.
Then I got caught up on my email (I think). And then started trogging. By now it was 7am. After selecting photos and looking them over I gave myself a deadline of noon to finish up. I was done at 11:30. Yes, it does take me a while.
Then it was shower, shave and out the door where I met my host coming in from work. He asked what I had planned for the day and I gave him the details:
Drive to the VA Hospital and then walk over to 48th and Point Lobos to catch the 38 Geary bus and ride it down to the Fillmore. From there mom and I would do a walk about of the old neighborhood where we lived from 1968 until 1972.
And so it went, more or less.
I fired up the DaddyMobile and headed north on Rt 1 to Skyline Drive and then to the Great Highway which runs along Ocean Beach. Up to the point it was smooth sailing with little traffic. But with all the traffic signals along the Great Highway things slowed down a bit.
Click on the photos below for a larger image.
I shot this at one of the traffic lights. Probably at Great Highway and Taraval. Check out the wisp of purplish hair which halos the head rest. This I will never understand.
No regrets indeed!
Soon I was climbing the grade up the Cliff House and 48th Ave. As I crested the hill I saw a bus sitting there at the stop on 48th. On the spur of the moment I made a right on 48th thinking there just might be some street parking. And indeed there was. I parked, checked the street cleaning schedule and then trotted back to the bus stop.
There I was greeted by a rather surly MUNI driver who more or less grunted when I asked about stopping at Geary and Fillmore.
I then confirmed the fair was $2.50. He looked at me and said: "How old are you?" to which I replied: "65." To which he replied: "$1.35". BONUS!! Old people get a break on the fair!
I slid my bill into the acceptor and dropped two quarters into the slot (I had planned on paying the $2.50 and had no other change) and then a transfer popped up which he handed to me.
Here are old and new style MUNI transfers. The one on the left is from a visit Betsy and I made in 2014. The one on the right are the style that are being issued now. The new transfers extend riding to time two hours. Handy when making multiple stops or round-tripping.
This is more or less the route I would be walking and bussing. Mostly bussing.
The end of the line for the 38 Geary is 48th and Point Lobos so it was no surprise to see the bus empty when I got on. I was no sooner seated than the driver took off. This was an "R" bus. The R is for Rapid. The R busses do not stop at every bus stop, only the more heavily used ones. This really speeds up point-to-point travel. In no time mom and I were getting off the bus at Fillmore and Geary.
The intersection of Fillmore and Geary is famous for being the home of the Fillmore Auditorium. In the 60s this was where all the big names played and you could get in cheap. That was before the days of Celebrity Rock Stars who arrived in limos and lived in luxury neighborhoods. The Jefferson Airplane lived in the Haight and could be seen on their front porch hanging out. Same with Country Joe and the Fish a local band from Berkeley. But, I digress... .
When we moved from the Tenderloin to 2466 California we were only 4 blocks from the Fillmore Auditorium. I do not remember exactly how many times we went to the Fillmore but I remember one time very well.
The above poster was for a concert held at the Fillmore Auditorium on April 18th, 1968. The headliner was Love and also playing were the Staples Singers and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.
We were already listening to Love's records and were big fans of the music.
I do not remember which of us kids went to the concert. I doubt that my brother Bill went. He was only 12 at the time. Did Sutton go? Did Wayne go? I am not sure. But, I do remember Suzi and I went down to the Fillmore together. At the time she was whacked out on morning glory seeds and feeling a bit queasy. By the time we got to the Fillmore she was really out of it.
She seemed nervous and scared and at one point during the Love concert moved closer and took my hand. Looking at me she said: "You are always here. Always here". What was a 14 year old kid supposed to make of that? I was not sure and said nothing.
By the time the Staples singers came on Suzi had mellowed out and was entranced when Pervis came out on stage and sang "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall". It was a compelling performance and I think it is safe to say everyone there was entranced.
When I got off the 38 I walked east towards Japantown knowing I could get some much needed nourishment there. The above shot shows the pedestrian bridge over Geary Boulevard which we took to get to Japantown.
Geary Boulevard is like an inner city freeway and very, very busy at rush hours.
Here we are - lunch time. I had been to Mifune's before they moved and added "bistro" to their name. Too me that sounds silly.
Here I am at Mifune's in 2007.
Mifune's still has the traditional display of some of their offerings.
I ordered my meal to go as I could not stand the thought of sitting inside on such a gorgeous day.
I scarfed my meal down while sitting on one of the benches on the Peace Plaza. There were lots of people coming and going and the Nihonmachi Mall Shopping Center seemed to be doing a brisk business.
This is just across from the Peace Plaza. It is the former site of the Toho Theater. It was an easy walk from both our places on California and Bush streets so I was a regular.
Oh, my. Those were the good old days watching Toshiro Mifune slashing and dashing his was across the screen! I started seeking out other areas of the city for samurai movies. It was in Chinatown where I first became acquainted with the deaf mute swords woman who relied on polished and reflective arm mirrors to better know what her soon to be dead foes were up to.
Don't piss this woman off!!
On one of my birthdays my mom took me to see Chushingura: at a theater on Van Ness Ave. It was a beautiful, lavish masterpiece and we both loved it.
Ok, time to move on. I left the Peace Plaza and waddled up to Fillmore Street.
Here is the site of what was once Fillmore Glass and Hardware. I worked there for about a year. It was the most fun I ever had working. The manager (Phil) liked my mom and for many years always gave her a 10% discount on any purchases.
This used to be Kim's market. The Chinese women who ran the place used to make sandwiches on the sly and sell cigarettes for food stamps. She would yell and laugh while making the transaction: "You no tell!!". What a hoot.
This whole area which used to be called the Fillmore District is now call Lower Pacific heights and is super trendy. No more stores for the low income working class here. In fact there are no more low income working class people. They all had to move elsewhere as the rents sky rocketed out of reach.
Here is 2381 Bush Street where we lived for three years. Mom mom and I had bed rooms on the street level. The back yard was shared with two other attached houses to make a 3 unit row house. My, oh, my the cast of characters who came through those three doors.
I placed a bit of mom under some fern fronds in the front garden.
If only these doors could talk.
I snapped this on my way up to the site of our place on California street. I was always captivated by this building even as a teenager. I think it might have been a phone company switching station at one time.
When we lived at 2466 California we used to shop here as it was directly across the street. Of course in 1968 it was the QFI supermarket. It was here that I honed my shop lifting skills stealing cartons of cigarettes and steaks. I had and old army jacket with two big inside pockets which made it quite easy to pilfer just about anything.
BTW - I did not remember the name of this place, my brother William did though. It later became a CALA foods.
This new place is reflective of the well healed clientele who shop there.
Here is the cheese selection at Mollie Stone's. I'll bet the old QFI would have had Velveeta, swiss and cheddar and that was about it.
Here once stood 2466 California Street, home to the Breidings. How mom pulled it off I do not know. Now it is a city parking lot. I placed a bit of mom under some of the trees.
This is 2466 California Street as seen in 1936. It is a snippet of an aerial image which I came across. What appear to be two black rectangles are the window wells.
You just can't get away from The Donald.
This is on Steiner Street just around the corner from 2466 California. In one of these places my sister Suzi rented a studio apartment. Which one is anybody's guess.
Just a few blocks from the California and Bush street places is Alta Plaza park. We would walk up here often. Sometimes mom would take us all to the Baskin-Robbins on Fillmore between California and Sacramento streets and then we would wander over to the park while enjoying our cones.
There are some nice views from the top.
Once upon a time I could tell you what you are looking at, but no longer. But I do know Sutro tower!
The park has nice benches, a playground and tennis courts. Around the tennis courts are hedges. At one time the area behind the hedges provided a secluded sleeping spot for one Steve Lion.
At some point Steve showed up at our place on Bush street and mom took him in. He stayed there on and off and also had meals with us. In exchange for this he would do work on the house like building lofts and putting a floor in the basement.
In 2013 Betsy and I went to Maine to visit with Steve and his wife Shannon. He told me he felt mom saved his life by taking him in, feeding him and occasionally giving him a bit of cash.
Because of this, once he was on his feet and self supporting, he sent my mom 100 dollars in cash for Christmas. He did this every Christmas until her last one in 2016.
So, I put a little bit of mom behind those hedges where Steve once sought shelter.
From Alta Plaza I walked over to Sacramento and Fillmore where there are some good views of the Marina District and the bay.
That is Alkatraz Island to the right.
At Sacramento and Fillmore I caught a 22 Fillmore bus and rode it down to the Marina Green. Here I set a spell and took in the view. It was a treat see these pelicans fly by. After a bit I walked on down to the Palace of Fine Arts which was originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.
Here is a Google maps view of the Palace of Fine Arts.
An unexpected treat was seeing the rhodie in bloom in a shady spot of the Palace.
As you can tell this is a monumental structure and begs to be photographed.
I remember we used to come down here and crawl up on to the pillar supports and elevated planting wells. Mom pretty much let us run wild. What else could she do?
Next I caught a 30 Stockton bus which took me through the Marina District, North Beach and Chinatown. The real Chinatown, not the Grant Street version.
This was shot through the bus window in the heart of Chinatown. There are blocks of shops and I have never been here when it wasn't crowded and busy.
My plan was to take the 30 Stockton and then the 1 California and then the 38 Geary back to the car at Lands End. This all worked out except I missed my 1 California stop and had to back track over the Stockton tunnel to Sacramento.
By now it is 4:00 o' clock and the busses were like over stuffed sardine cans. Life in the big city.
By the time I got back to Pacifica and got some beer and a burrito it was nearly 7:30. A big night out for the likes of me.
Tomorrow we will visit the house in the Haight where Dale and mom lived and then on up to Corona Heights.
See you then...
Mike and mom