Stonestown Memories 1950's

11/06/01 - posted by Virginia Southas - virginia.southas<at>alstom.esca.com

The Stonestown Apartments on Buckingham Way were my first home after my birth at Children's Hospital. We occupied the third floor apartment and the living room windows faced east overlooking the parking spaces below. There were no elevators then and no baby backpacks. When my mother had todo the laundry, which required her to make a trip down two flights of stairs, she would drop the laundry basket and its contents out the living room window and carry me down the stairs. The neighbors who witnessed our family laundry plummeting past their windows to the lawn below reacted either with amused understanding to a mother's predicament or with indignation at "the nerve of such a thing." My mother didn't care. But how she got the clean laundry and me up the stairs again I have no idea. I can only assume she must have carried me up first and then went down to retrieve the laundry.

Just north across the street was the Stonestown Mall. At south end of the mall was the QFI Market. Inside was a small pizza counter where you could buy Pizza Pups which was a hotdog wrapped in a slice of pizza. In the market Dad would buy ice cream in these little 2.5 x 2.5 inch carton squares. You would just peel down the sides and eat the ice cream with a spoon.

Further inside the mall was Blums with the best strawberry milkshake I ever tasted. The paper straws didn't last very long and soon you were asking your waitress for a long spoon so you could finish your shake. The inside was a light blue decor and very smart looking. There was a counter with swivel chairs or stools.

The record shop was a favourite place to go. It was located on the east side of the mall facing the parking lot. In those days you could bring the record you were contemplating purchasing into a soundproof booth and listen to it before buying it. It was a great place to pass the time while my mother was shopping but you couldn't do it too often as the clerks would get wise to you.

At the very north end of the mall was the Emporium which is where Macy's is now located. Christmas would bring the roof rides such as the ferris wheel, octopus, scrambler and other carnival-like fun. Inside would be Santa Claus sitting on his big throne and children queuing up to sit on his lap to tell him what they wanted to find under their Christmas tree. Bright and sparkling decorations would be everywhere to admire and to bring home.

St. Stephen's Catholic Church on Eucalyptus Ave where I was baptized is now the social hall and the new church I remember being built when I was attending school there is no more either. I remember the "new" church had a tall tower and everytime I took the Marin Airporter along 19th Ave from SFO to Larkspur I looked for that tower. Finally, on one of my visits to my folks in Marin County I took a drive to the church to investigate. I found church had been rebuilt/remodeled again and is now in the style of a Spanish Mission with white walls and a clay tile roof. Anyone remember Father Donworth? He was the pastor there and a lovely man although I couldn't understand him for the Irish brogue.

I continune to watch with interest the ongoing changes taking place along 19th Ave like condo's going up where the Shriners Children's Hospital use to be, a Starbucks on the corner of 19th and Irving, houses north of Stern Grove undergoing remodeling, etc. The only constant, at least from the outside, is the medical building next to St.Stephen's School. Made many trips there to my orthodontist, Dr. C. Ray.

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