Re: Streetwise: Summer in the City

07/04/16 - posted by Leif Hatlen

Another excellent article Frank. My summer experiences when growing up were much the same as you wrote about. My friend and I did one thing that you did not mention. I do not think we were the only ones, but when school was out in June, my friend Ronald Rossi and I would gather up our money and off we would go to Chinatown. Our mission was to buy firecrackers. Along Grant Avenue we would somehow meet up with someone selling them and make our purchase, usually in the entry hall of some building. I remember doing this for several years beginning when we were 10 or 11; this would have been in 1950 or so.

Our intention was to have the firecrackers for the 4th of July. However, most years I do not think we could restrain ourselves and started setting them off as soon as we got home. Sometimes I think my backyard became a war zone. And then I remember setting off firecrackers on Strawberry Hill in Golden Gate Park. We must have lived a charmed life, since we never injured ourselves and no one ever caught us.

When I was older another summer activity was swimming at Aquatic Park. There would be thick fog in the Sunset when I would get on the N Judah streetcar at 22nd Ave. To think of going swimming in that climate. But often by the time the streetcar was making the turn at 9th Avenue the fog was beginning to burn off and always by the time we got to Aquatic Park, there was beautiful warm sun. It was something to be there on the beach in the sun, looking out towards the Gate and southern Marin and seeing that fog laying there. Knowing that was what was going to greet us when we got back to the Sunset.

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