The April message about GETS is SO evocative of what it was like way back when...the last paragraph listing all the particular experiences one had growing up in the Sunset/Parkside decades ago was so sweet!
Growing up in the Parkside had a lot of downsides and I am much more quick to disaparage the area for other qualities I feel it had - it contained (contains?) a lot of lonely, grumpy, racist adults living in a lot of very, very ugly houses. I grew up way 'outside,' a few blocks from Ocean Beach and the Zoo, so perhaps my opinions of the whole area are affected too much by my narrow experience. Bad bars ("The Oar House"!!) and really mean 20-30 -something adults acting like teenagers, a nazi bookstore opening across the street from a synogogue (remember?), and lots and lots and lots of drinking by parents inside and the kids (very much including myself) in the tunnels at Sloat, Taraval, and Judah, in the Sutro Ruins caves, and etc.
Someday I would like to write (I never will) an essay about the strange saddness of that area, only because it is so contrary to the image the world has of San Francisco in general.
BUT years ago Sunset/Parkside kids could enjoy some amazing and fun experiences such as the ones described by Josie@AOL.com. There really was a small town feel to the neighborhood. Doing things like like, at 10 years old, going with a best friend to (the humorously uncreatively-named) Ocean Beach during a storm and watching the incredible Pacific Ocean heave up against the shore; having GG Park as a relatively safe playground, playing in an actual jet by Larsen Pool, feeling lost anywhere east or south of West Portal, travelling downtown on the streetcar while they built BART and looking out and straight down from the streetcar window and seeing a really, really deep pit running right along the tracks, etc etc. The Parkside Theater!