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This Day in My History

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16 July 2005

Thanks to mrsandman for a great article from the San Francisco Chronicle, which talks about "ghosts" of our past:

San Franciscans acquire a lost city as soon as they've stayed long enough to remember what used to be in this niche in their neighborhood or that former industrial site South of Market. Then they join the locals whose hallmarks are nostalgia and suspicion of change, maybe because the city changes so much and much is lost in the endless transitions. Or maybe because we love the ghosts, the used-to-bes and if-you-were-here-thens.

Ghosts enrich a place, and the longer you stay, the more the ghosts -- of your own past, of the cafe that used to be a burrito place after it was a doughnut shop, of a whole different tone to boulevards and neighborhoods -- come to populate your own private city. But being rich in ghosts begets melancholy.

The article immediately brought to mind so many "ghosts" from my San Francisco past -- lot on the corner of Jones and Green where my friends and I used to climb and play, now the location of a tall high rise; St. Brigid Church when it was an operating church, before earthquake damage that has rendered it unsafe to use;  Sutro Baths, where I learned to ice skate.  My father learned to swim there, but the swimming pools had been closed off by the time I came along and there was an ice rink in their place.  Later the whole historic building burned down and now all that is left is the foundation.  I'm sure someday that, too, will be the location of some high rise with a gorgeous view out to the ocean. 

There are ghosts of all the restaurants I used to visit with Gilbert.   One by one, since 1986, when he died, I have watched them either shut down or change hands, the resulting change never being quite as good as the original (Kirin is the perfect example.   The very best Chinese restaurant with a Japanese name run by a Korean family.   The ultimate "Oriental retaurant!  The menu is still similar, but the food isn't nearly as good as it was twenty years ago.  We used to make a special effort to go all the way out to 25th and Geary to eat at Kirin, but now, it's not worth the drive.

Many, many San Francisco ghosts, but the thing that surprised me as I thought about these ghosts of my distant past was that the first "ghosts" that came into my head were the gosts of our years here in Davis.

I can't even remember how we got into Davis before Highway 113 was completed, but we did it for a couple of years.  I also can't remember what it looked like before the Veterans Memorial Theatre was built, or before they erected St. James Church across the street.  I remember that we used to attend mass in the all purpose parish hall, which doubled as the place where we gathered for Sunday suppers.  The hall became part of the school they built recently and then was torn down completely.

I remember when the Hattie Weber Mansion (once the library for Davis, named after Davis' first paid librarian) sat on land near the railroad tracks, where David made his debut as rock singer with a group called "The Circumcisions."   "Don't come, Mom," he told me, knowing that I would probably find the music offensive.  Now the mansion is the Hattie Weber Museum, moved several blocks away to sit on the land of Central Park.  Paul and Jeri auditioned for roles in The Music Man here.

I remember the "Arden-Mayfair Lot," which was so named because at one time an Arden-Mayfair store was to have been built on the site, but it never was.   When we arrived in Davis in 1973, the lot was empty (I don't know what was there originally) and for years after, everybody knew about the Arden-Mayfair Lot.  Now, finally, Central Park has been extended so that it connects with the lot and a teen center is build on one corner of the lot and a farmer's market on another.  The term "Arden-Mayfair lot" has finally gone out of usage, but its ghost remains.

The longer you live in a place, the more ghosts you collect.  If you're very lucky, they are mostly all friendly ghosts.

Puppy Crisis.  What do you do with 3 hungry puppies and an empty can of formula, when Petco doesn't open for three hours?  I miscalculated and thought I had enough formula to last until this morning, but the puppies were little barracudas yesterday and when they had their last feeding I looked in the can and realized that there wasn't enough for another feeding.  I hoped they'd sleep until I could get out to the store (which doesn't open until 9), but they woke up earlier than usual this morning and so there I was--3 hungry puppies and no formula.

So I decided to try them on some puppy mash--it was the only thing I could do to get food into their stomaches.

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(Note that I have now figured out that it's cleaner to feed them outside!   They still make a mess but Kimba cleans it up and what's left can be hosed down)

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They didn't exactly take to it intuitively.  They'll be ready in another day or so, but not today, though they did get enough to put something in their stomachs.  But mostly they just crawled around in it.

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Harry gave his editorial comment about what he tasted.

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They weren't happy at being put back in the cage, after they lost interest in the food and were crying again.

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Harry, Weasley, Hagrid

But at least they eventually stopped crying and went back to sleep, which allowed me to shower and get to Petco when the doors opened!



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I got mine!


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