I remember. I remember lots of things, actually.
Many of my fonder memories of my childhood were spending time with my grandmother. She lived in San Francisco. The City, not the suburbs. We lived in the suburbs. She lived in The City. And while the 1980s was a hell of a time (cocaine's a hell of a drug), and The City wasn't exactly the safest place for a kid and his grandma, we got out and about a lot.
She never drove - she couldn't, being legally blind in one eye - but SF's bus and streetcar system took us everywhere. I loved riding the buses and trains, and they always took us somewhere fascinating. We walked up and down the streets of Russian Hill, made our way down Lombard Street and up to Coit Tower. We'd wander around downtown, sometimes stepping over the drug addicts around Civic Center on the way to the public library, other times dodging cable cars around Union Square to see the Christmas displays at the department store.
I learned more than even I can realize - many times my reflections of days past bring to light another lesson secretly taught by my Yiayia. I was incredibly independent because I learned how to get around on public transit with her. And my love of arts and sciences comes from our trips to museums. I consider myself to be fairly creative (though lacking much talent), thanks to the building blocks, crayons, and other toys available to me.
We weren't rich, certainly, though I know we weren't poor. I never traveled internationally but I learned lots of culture just by going places around town.
Each card below represents another story in my childhood. Not directly; these cards are too new for that! But in an odd six-degrees-of-separation sort of way. Except simpler and less interesting.
Usually, though, we went to this little shop in the basement of a house that was somewhere around 17th and Irving, in San Francisco. That's where the Canseco was. And that's where I got several single cards. Of course there were plenty of packs at every supermarket and convenience store we stopped at... okay, we rarely went to convenience stores but I remember going to the grocery store pretty often.
Generally, it was your typical stuffy stuffed-animal science museum, with rocks, skeletons, and fish behind glass. But I loved going, and we'd hang out in the courtyard in the afternoon. There was always something going on, though I can't remember what. Perhaps we fed the goldfish or watched some of the living creatures in their cages - they had an aquarium too.
The Academy of Science underwent a major reconstruction awhile back, and now is a trendy hot-spot in addition to being a great science museum. I think it lost some of its appeal to real science buffs in the process, but it's definitely gained popularity (and hopefully educated a few more visitors) since the reopening.
Finally, the plate.
That doesn't mean we never checked out San Francisco's dining options. In the 1980s, it really wasn't much. But she and I would stop at Mel's Diner on Geary, usually after she dragged me along to a doctor's appointment nearby. I don't remember what she had, but I'm sure it was a nice burger. I definitely got my fill with a cheeseburger and french fries. I know she and I both had fun drinks with our meals. I think we'd alternate between root beer floats and chocolate milkshakes. Or maybe both. And for dessert, it was ice cream for her, and a banana split for me. I loved banana splits (still do!), and it wasn't until years later that I realized just how much she loved ice cream.
I wasn't a picky eater, but I do remember going to another burger restaurant from time to time, too. West Portal has a diner of its own, where we would do the burgers, fries, and shakes thing. I think Yiayia knew someone who worked there... or maybe she just ran into an old friend once. Manor Coffee Shop still exists, with spotty service and iffy prices. But I was a kid, and a burger was a burger. Eventually, we started going to a Mexican place nearby (El Toreador).
Ahh, memories. San Francisco still has so many great memories to be made, and food to eat. But I guess the childhood ones are more important, right?
The printing plate was a pickup from Yahoo Japan Auctions, while the other cards were freebies tossed in by the seller. A great little bunch of cards to get in my mailbox!