Re: Sutro Super

05/08/06 - posted by Paul Judge

You betcha Dennis. Back when I was growing up during the '50s and '60s Sutro Super was a terrific neighborhood grocery store with a staff who were warm and friendly. I am of the impression that the market was locally owned and operated, perhaps by the owners of Petriniís or Calaís. Another reader will know and set this notion right. Sutro Super served quality food, produce, and had a great butcher department. All the employees seemed to take personal interest in their customers and you felt good about shopping there. Iím foggy (forgive this Outside Lands pun!) as to the year they closed, I think approximately a bit over a decade after the big Safeway was built on Fulton behind the vacated site of Playland.

I remember that it was an intriguing challenge to accompany Mom to the store to attempt to influence her on the choices of what she bought. Fat chance! She guarded her purse and budget with the ferocity of a hockey goalie. We lived down the hill on 43rd between Balboa and Anza yet our mom would trek up those two steep blocks to shop and hand carry a bag of groceries or haul a couple bags home in a folding wire shopping cart. This was back in the time of one car per household and Muni or foot travel supplemented getting around. Such conditions made for quieter, less trafficked life in the Avenues. Kids could play curbside games, and play ball, or bike ride in the streets and, with moderate alertness, remain assured that theyíd not become a hood ornament on the front grill of zooming automobiles.

The big deal for kids who lived on the hills of the City was how you adopted different rules and moves for playing games on a slope. It didnít take long for any kid who was used to living in the flats that hill play wasnít for sissies. Most of the time any error in play meant that anything that had wheels or could roll (marbles, balls, skates, wagons, wheeled toys, etc.) kept going and going until something blocked it or gravity and inertia stopped it. Such condition made for really quick thinking, reflexes, and flexibility in the rules of the games we played.

Thus, it wasnít a mystery to us kids on the block when one very foggy summer day cans of pumpkin, cling peaches, beets, string beans, and what came rolling down our hill from out of the dense white curtain that blanketed our street. A delivery truck that had just labored up the hill and passed us amidst our enactment of a Giants vs. Dodger ballgame had lost itís load up the next block and rained canned goods on us. We called the game and helped the trucker pick up his cargo. A few of us discreetly gathered some of the fruit cans as our bootie. Our Moms were curious, but didnít pursue us far with questions.

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