Monday, June 10, 2013


Deja vu
I just came back from a few days
in the Rome of the west. I first
visited San Francisco in the early
eighties and frequented the city
often during that decade. Back
then Mr. Hitchcock's beloved
Vertigo burg was alive and well.
Over the top
I stayed at The Fairmont which
still had a Barbary Coast quality
due to a lobby decorated by
Dorothy Draper. My room was
in the old building and had
soaring ceilings, a gigantic
vintage bath, and huge windows
that overlooked the Bay.
God it was magnificent!
Lost in time
At that point in my life the only
definition of gay I knew was
happy! Back then I never visited
the Castro nor was even aware
that it existed. Rather, I reveled
in a city where Gumps still had
multiple stories and glitterati
sipped Hurricanes in the posh
Tonga Room at the St. Francis.
What a ride...
Imagine not loving those hills
or cable cars! Could there be any
more charming conveyance? In
those days the locals actually
rode this magical transit to work.
Sadly downtown San Francisco
now seems to be populated by
tourists and street people. Rather
than a whiff of salt air, a musty
odor of neglect hangs over it.
Parfum de reves
A favorite landmark of those
days were the street side flower
stands throughout the city. One
sunny afternoon I bought my
wife a gardenia. Somehow the
idea of wearing a corsage still
seemed chic in that city where
time seemed to stand still. Long
faded and far away, I still cherish
the memory of that distant day.
Dinner at eight
I'll never forget dinner at Ernie's.
It's Gay 90's decor had nothing
to do with being gay. Rather it
celebrated the history and
panache of the city. We wined
and dined on Chateau Margaux,
Chateaubriand, and Creme
Brulee. Those were the days!
Matters of the heart
While appropriately foggy, my
memories of those early visits
actually remain quite vivid.
I truly fell in love with the city
on the bay. On my recent visit
I was haunted by memories of
times past. Much has changed,
yet I still leave my heart in San
Francisco every time I depart.