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Re: Earliest Memory

[Post Followup] [San Francisco Memories Board]

Posted by John Best on Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 18:35:55 :

In Reply to: Earliest Memory posted by Ron Filion on Thursday, July 07, 2005 at 16:47:56 :

My earliest memory was the 1939 World's Fair at Treasure Island. It was a sight to see. I was 3 years old.

A couple of years later our dad took us to the Crissy Field? where they had some kind of military event. I remember a soldier with a blanket spread on the ground and he showed us how to take apart a 45 caliber pistol. That really stuck in my mind.

During the war we often visited my aunt in San Mateo. There was a shipyard along the Bayshore Highway in South San Francisco and I believe it was a Bethlehem Steel plant. One night coming back from San Mateo we saw the most awesome sight. There must have been a dozen Liberty ships being built. Each ship had a huge scaffolding and there were hundreds of lights and hundreds of men and probably women welding with sparks flying. What a sight for a little kid.

When we visited my grandfather in Los Altos, we would pass Mills Field (now SF International). It was so tiny. I remember a tiny control tower with a rotating beacon, first white then green.

During the war my grandfather worked in the supply section at Moffet Field. One day he took us through the huge hangar and inside the cabin of one of the blimps. I understand his boss had words with him over that. The blimps were used for subamrine patrol off the coast.

I have so many old memories of San Francisco from the war years. I remember they had a submarine net under the Golden Gate Bridge. We lived on Shotwell Street in the Mission and my parents used to have friends over to play cards once a week. We used to have airraid drills at night and my parents wanted to continue to play cards but the air raid wardens made them turn off the lights. My dad, who was very resourceful, made a couple of wooden frames and covered them with black tar paper and inserted them in the two windows in our kitchen and voila, they could continue playing cards. Our German Shephard used to howl when the siren went off. The siren was on top Bernal Heights and was so loud that you
had to cover your ears.

My brother and I attended Hawthorne Elementary on 22nd and Shotwell and I believe it was in school they passed out cards with shapes of Japanese planes just in case we saw one. Every once in awhile I would see squadrons of war planes heading west.

So many memories, so little time.

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