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Earlier, Earliest Memories

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Posted by Diane (Carlson) Viale on Friday, July 08, 2005 at 18:09:53 :

My earliest memories are from the early 40's (talk about dating oneself!). I lived on 23rd Ave. near Geary until I was 5. But moving away did not totally remove me from The City by the Bay as I frequently visited and stayed with my grandparents throughout my growing up time. They lived in the Castro district and the majority of my memories come from those visits.

When living on 23rd Ave., I remember some of the effects that WWII had on daily lives such as listening to reports of the war on the radio in a darkened room, my parents giving rides to hitch-hiking military men, and counting the days until my uncle who was a POW returned home.

My fondest memories of that time were, of course, when he DID return, going food shopping with my mom to the different stores (no supermarkets back then!) ending with a visit to the bakery - down the street from where we lived - where I could always count on getting a free cookie of my choice!, and family picnics on some of the local beaches. Oh, and visiting Hunters Point for a paper wrapped package of petite bay shrimp to be de-shelled and de-voured immediately in the car!

My most wonderous memories were trips across the bay bridge at night with all of those animated neon signs, and watching the V-Day parade with a snow storm of confetti falling from the buildings - awed by the thousands of rejoicing people; sitting on my Grandpa's lap and steering a boat in Stowe Lake, riding the Merry-Go-Round and hearing the Sunday concerts while picnicking in GG Park.

Going to the Museum, Playland at the Beach, Fleishacker Zoo and pool, Sutros; going to the 5 & 10 Cent store on Castro St. with its squeaky wooden floor and pondering for what seemed like hours on picking just the right miniature figurine to bring home; bracing against the chill and hearing the muffled echo of our footsteps on a foggy night as we walked back home from a movie at the Castro Theatre; the rythmic click-click click-click sounds of my roller skates crossing the cracks in the sidewalk as I fearlessly flew down the hilly streets; and rolling down the grass "steps" in Dolores Park.

I could go on and on, LOL, but will end this with one of the most thrilling memories to me as a born horse-fanatic: the sound of the clip-clop on the pavement made by that magical being, the junk-man's horse pulling his wagon down the street! I don't know what time period that that phenomenon ended (late 40's?) but it was the most exciting thing this SF girl ever heard or saw in the city.

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