Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

How I Came to New York

In how?, where, Who on February 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm

San Francisco, CA, USA

Carol West

March 21, 2004

I lived in San Francisco for six months in 1979, when my husband was renting a seat on the Stock Exchange. Anything that could go wrong, did. The wind off the Bay never stopped, and I always had to wear a heavy sweater. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the coldest summer I ever spent was my entire stay in San Francisco.

That year there was a gas shortage nationwide and instead of visiting outlying areas, you sat in your car for hours in gas lines. For short drives to the beach or up the coast, if you had gas, you couldn’t find a parking space. My husband did not spend money. Not on eating out. No handicrafts or magnificent bottles of California wine. We drank water at zero cost.

I lived on New York time in California. My husband was at the exchange by seven a.m. and left at one p.m. when his day was over. We went to sleep at nine o’clock at night. I was always thinking ahead three hours. I dreamed of the East Coast.

We lived in a nice little garden apartment that many people mistook for the super’s place. My bell was always ringing. We averaged one earthquake a  month. One night while I watched TV on the futon, the floor gently shook. It was like touching a bowl of Jell-O – 1.5 on the Richter scale. It was the last straw.

I got up, packed everything, sold our furniture, and within three days I was ready to move back to Manhattan – with or without my husband. He saw how serious I was and started packing our cream-colored Camero. We left at four the next morning, the last thing we did on California time.


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