Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I left my heart in SF

When Tony Bennett recorded the song “I left my heart in San Francisco ” he surely must have done so with me in mind. Make no mistake, my favorite teams are the New York Yankees and Oklahoma Sooners, but my favorite place is the city by the bay. No, I don’t mean Tampa , either.

When I entered the Air Force in 1967, the first place I was stationed after basic training at Lackland (San Antonio), was Hamilton AFB in California, and I had to fly to San Francisco, the first time I had been anywhere outside of Oklahoma or Arkansas. To say I was as lost as a fish out of water, is an understatement. Hamilton AFB is about 20 miles north of Frisco, in San Rafael . But I had found where I wanted to be.

I absolutely loved San Francisco , the city with the Golden Gate Bridge , the crookedest street in the world, cable cars and Alcatraz . I liked it so well, I’ve been back a half dozen times, and that doesn’t include my dreams.

My first time was on a vacation in 1986 after flying to San Diego and renting a car to drive up the coast of California on Highway 1 (oh, I also went one time before when I went to Vietnam and had to go back out there for combat training at Travis AFB). I visited many of my old haunts, including the first house my wife and I had lived in, or rented.

I’ve been a couple other times on vacations, too, and once with Cynthia, when she had to go to Oakland , on a business trip. I had been sick and was afraid I wouldn’t get to go with her, but the Lord saw to it that I got well enough just in time.

I told Cynthia He wanted to me to go, too.

The trip to Oakland was close enough for me. Cynthia and I took the subway from Oakland to Frisco under the bay. It seemed funny, because construction of the subway was started in the late ’60s when I was out the there the first time. I had wished I could take her to see many of the places I had visited, but we ran out of time to see all of them.

If I haven't said it before, I can't wait.


At October 22, 2008 at 12:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right, John. San Francisco is a great place to visit. It's just too darned expensive to visit or live there, though. Best way to do it is go on a business trip or visit relatives. That's the only way I got there. I visited an aunt and uncle that lived in San Jose back in the '70s. My cousins took us all over the place, Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge, Candlestick Park, you name it. Didn't get to see my favorite baseball team, the Giants, though. They were out of town, but we did go over to Oakland and see the A's. I love the hilly streets of San Francisco. Even got a picture on my wall at home of one of them. Fantastic! - Jim Patterson

At October 22, 2008 at 7:34 PM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

Beautiful place--sometimes strange people--but the biggest drawback is that it may slide into the Pacific some day. I have visited several times while supporting NASA at Ames.

At November 22, 2008 at 1:41 PM , Blogger Bill Hinds said...

Crooked Street & hills lots of hills. I was there in 1960, a friend and I were shipping over to the Phillipines. We didn't have a lot of cash so instead of renting a Motel we slept in our cars. We parked on one of those hills and he was afraid of someone breaking in on him so he tied a rope around the inside door handles and to himself. In the middle of the nite a cop checked us out and once he learned we were in the Army he let us go back to sleep. Mercy!


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