10/30/10 - posted by Jo Anne Q.
Thanks Kev!!
Snippets keep coming back to me…especially about how diverse and different, yet still connected, The City is…

-Sitting on a bench in West Portal, next to an older Chinese lady, who is yelling (literally) into her cell phone in her native language. Much to my relief, she finally rings off, leans back and starts humming a tune to herself. I suddenly realize it's "The Tennessee Waltz."

-Feeding pigeons on Taraval Street a bit of leftover banana bread I purchased in Stonestown. A lady stops to compliment my humane act and tells me she keeps a pigeon feeder in her back yard. Seems the birds rid her plants and flowers of insects, which she very much appreciates. Turns out, she's originally from Austria.

-Three teen-age girls walking along West Portal Ave., jabbering about their boyfriends. One girl is wearing a Muslim-style headscarf…and speaking with a perfect Valley Girl accent.

-Visiting friends in the Richmond, when down the block comes a young man, singing in Italian - sounded like an opera song. His voice was magnificent.

-Having dinner with a Quinn cousin at the Gold Mirror. The cousin introduces me to another diner, whom he knows. The young man in question is in his late 20's - fourth generation Irish San Franciscan…who speaks with a brogue you could cut with a knife. (His date was a young woman who teaches music at St. Cecilia school.)

-Asking and receiving information regarding #28 bus fare and transfers from a lovely white-haired lady with a thick German accent. (The bus driver was highly amused, and very tolerant of my ignorance.)

-Watching the L car go by, heading west, suddenly stopping and doing some mysterious maneuver which then sets it going east instead - I was mystified. A nice young man (who turned out to be Greek) explains how the cars can do that nowadays. He was fascinated when I told him about how the cars could NOT do that in "the olden days."

-Walking behind an elderly Chinese couple on 19th Avenue. He is ahead, she is a few paces behind, angrily screaming at him in their own language. Lord knows what the man did to incur his wife's wrath, but it proves that marital strife is universal.

-Waiting for the streetcar, a 50-ish man, walks by, talking to himself. He stops, comes back, gives me a few minutes of advice on the proper way to grow sunflowers, and then takes his leave. (I thanked him for the information. If I had been in New York City, I would have ran like hell.)

-The two charming ladies who work in the Castro/Jersey St. salon, "Xcelerate" (which once housed my Grandpa Quinn's grocery store) and kindly gave me a tour of the place, originated from Mexico City and Palestine.

-Searching for the maternal and paternal grandparent family plots at Holy Cross, I, and my companions, get assistance from a Holy Cross Traffic Control Officer, on a motorcycle. Francisco was born in Mexico, but was even more excited than I was at locating the Hennessy family's final resting place.

-San Francisco is a city that has gone to the dogs…everywhere I went, there were at least 5 people going about their business with their canine pals…small, medium and large. (I don't remember seeing this sort of thing when I was a kid.)

-Two of our reunion banquet waitresses at the Irish Cultural Center (in their 20s) attended St. Cecilia. One sported a Celtic band tattoo on her upper arm. A classmate commented, "This is the New-Generation San Francisco Irish."

-Our Principal, 86-year old Sr. Michaeline Mary, turns out to be a huge Giants fan. She cheerfully wore a "Fear The Beard" beard, and had her picture taken with same.

-After our 6th Grade teacher, Miss Patricia Pinnick, was introduced at our initial reception, she faced the group and said, "Yes!! I am still alive!!!"

-Being absolutely shocked to see that the Parkside Theater marquee is GONE, GONE, GONE!!!

-Feeling sad, already knowing that the West Portal tunnel's original façade is now history, and seeing that for myself.

-Being delighted at seeing the Parkside Library not only still in its original state, but getting renovations as well.

-Harboring antiquated visions of traveling up Market St. on the L Car, and viewing the passing scenery. Being rudely jolted into the New Age, traveling underground the whole way instead…

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