Skip to content

Month: February 2014

Yesterday’s heroes (and a prison pen pal)

Bertha, the craziest friend from my childhood, once introduced me to Tanya, the only child of a very wealthy lawyer couple that had an apartment in a Pacific Heights skyrise and a home in Atherton.  Tanya walked around clutching Bay City Roller albums and had sewn plaid onto the bottom hems of her flooded semi-bell bottom pants.  She was the first autograph chaser of my acquaintance, and her quiet demeanor hid a rather crafty streak that plotted out times, dates and ways to meet her favorite teeny-bopper idol.  Tanya was also skilled at meeting other teenaged autograph hunters, and they would plot their strategy to recognize and corner a famous person.  Her plans, of course, always worked.

San Francisco Stories: Julie, do you love me?

When our family moved from the Western Addition to the more sedate Richmond District, I made my first best-friend-for-the-summer after I stole her little brother’s Hot Wheel car as we played on the front steps.  Julie, a lithe blonde haired/blue eyed girl who was so unlike anyone from my old African American neighborhood or my Japanese American Catholic School, asked me why I stole her brother’s car.  With no valid excuse to offer, I surrendered the car over to Julie.  We continued to play together until the evening, then began again the next morning.

I prefer my father Batman dancing


There are very few childhood memories of my father, a man who was already rushing towards old age by the time I was born.  At 50, he was already overweight, working the graveyard shift at the old Joseph Magnin department store in San Francisco.  He was always asleep by the time I got home from school, and I was ready for bed by the time he was getting ready for work.