03/20/23 - posted by jb
Nostalgia just ain’t what it used to be…

Like the late, great Nat King Cole, I “don’t get around much any more;” however, with the winds howling, the rain pouring and the power out, I’ve decided to stop by here and trip the light fantastic down memory lane, given that I still have a memory to trip over. And no, Nicole, I won’t file a law suit for damages; God knows my memory has been damaged for a while now.

I’m finding, perhaps as many of you, that life is like toilet paper: the closer to the end, the faster it goes. Never thought I’d be old enough to be a “curmudgeon” but it seems like time has given me a wedgie which has grabbed my attention, along with grabbing a few other vital parts.

I’ve not been to The City for a couple of years now and, as of late, restricted my recollections to Crab Cioppino, with mine now reeking a bit closer akin to Gilroy, the Chico of Coyote Valley; may Herb forgive my analogy. Yes, I’ve grown fat, happy and provincial here in Monterey, staying tethered to a short cord since Covid. But I digress..

What was once so familiar to me in SF is now mostly gone and I’m suffering from a chronic adjustment disorder whose cure might be rediscovery. I’m just not sure if I still have the heart for it. And maybe not the nose.

I can still recall the spice and coffee scents as if those were the enticement for traveling south of Market. I can still see those two glamorous high-society women whom I chased down Post Street, captivated by the trail of their perfume. Like the guy in Dirty Harry, “I just gots to know.” Their’s was White Shoulders and to this day, gardenias bring me right back there like the #2-Sutter.

Gardenias, to me, are San Francisco and the cablecar- kiosks on Powell or Stockton were there when my father first taught me that flowers were the way to a woman’s heart. Past dates and wives were recipients of a ritual that touched my heart as much as theirs, recalling how my dad mentored me to be a gentleman when it was so easy to be one in a city of gents and ladies.

I can still smell the popcorn at the downtown movie palaces, where the grandeur of these buildings were as much of the experience as a first-run flick. I remember after seeing “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” wanting an oxygen tank to climb the stairway to the stars at the Fox on Market.

Yes, for me The City was always an olfactory extravaganza like when a door to any North Beach restaurant would open to a cold foggy night. The smell of Ocean Beach and GG Park in the ‘60s when weed and incense were ubiquitous and clandestine. An ironic sign of the times is that my father’s old bar on Haight St. is now a pot shop. Please feel welcomed to share scents that you recall unique to The City. Who nose…this may make for a fun thread here on the Ol’ BB.

Well, if you have gotten this far, thanks for reading the ramblings of kid who blinked and 60 years went by in a heart beat; a heart that will always be in love with San Francisco.

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