1 July 2002
I didn't hear a thing once my head touched the pillow and I don't think I moved until 5
a.m. this morning. Even my perennial "bed-back" didn't start stabbing me until
it began to get light out. I tentatively got out of bed and instantly wondered how I was
going to walk at all, let alone the mile and a half of the parade route. I began to wonder
if I'd been wise doing all that walking yesterday.
But I was there. And I was determined I was going to participate in the day, pain or no
By the time I had a shower, got dressed, and had been walking around for awhile, I
started to feel better. The feet never felt good, mind you, but I knew I could make
it through the day.
We walked to Starbucks to get something to eat. Walt, who had come to San Francisco to
go to the opera, called me on my new cell phone and I let him know where we were, so he
joined us briefly, long enough to get some breakfast for himself before he took off back
to the opera house.
Then we headed down to join the crowds on Market St. We had a little bit of
time before we had to meet the PFLAG group, so we stood and watched the fabulous dykes on
bikes, who start the parade. This endless parade of women on motorcycles (a lot of them
bare breasted, which tickled the older gentleman standing in front of me--he and his wife
had just arrived in town for vacation). We were able to catch a glimpse of Grand Marshall
Ian McKellen and co-marshall Sharon Gless, and a fleeting glimpse of mayor Willie Brown.
We heard the gay garbage men and their marching routine, though we didn't really see them,
we passed drag queens on their way to meet up with their own groups to march. We hurried to
Beale St. to meet up with the PFLAG contingent.
PFLAG marched in front of the MECA (Marriage Equality-California) float, on
which Shelly and Ellen were riding, representing a gay couple who had been together for a
long time (28+ years for them). The float called again for equality for gay couples, who
are denied so many rights that are given to straight couples.
I love the PFLAG group. There is so much love and acceptance, watching parents and gay
offspring loving and supporting each other. It tears your heart out when people lining the
parade route call out, as one woman did, "Thank you for doing what my mom can't
(the shirts say "All Familes Have Value")
After standing around in the sun for awhile, we were finally on our way,
turning the corner on Beale St. onto Market St., to the cheers of the crowds. It's a very
energizing thing, the reception that PFLAG gets all long the route. There are cheers and
whistles and people making love signs with their hands. Even if you're tired, or your feet
hurt, or it's hot and you'd give your right arm for a drink of water, the cheering of the
crowd keeps you moving.
However, that doesn't mean you aren't thrilled to see those beautiful words "End
of Parade" as you round Market St. onto 8th.
Of course then you have to GET somewhere, so the walking isn't over. We were meeting
Kathleen's son Ian and his partner Tony and while we waited we watched the other groups
arriving--the MECA float, gay Native Americans dancing Indian dances, Drag Queens who had
done the whole mile and a half in platform shoes with at least 4-inch heels, members of
PAWS (animal rescue) and a group called "Bad Rap," which consisted of lots of
people with pit bulls, more glitter and feathers and sequins and leather. You name it, it
When Ian and Tony arrived, we walked yet another half mile down to Mel's Diner, where
we sank into the vinyl seats of a corner booth, listend to 50s rock and roll music, and
had lunch (everyone had hamburgers; I had a salad. Good Bev!)
The last leg (literally) was the walk back to the hotel, along the streets, now
deserted of parade watchers, and covered with debris. In the street, homeless people with
shopping carts were rummaging through garbage cans to retrieve treasures, doorways were
once again occupied by men sleeping on ragged blankets, and off in the distance, our hotel
loomed, with the car waiting to transport us back to the valley.
Another Pride Festival is now history and I'm not sure how long it will take my feet to
I don't think I'll plan to do the treadmill tomorrow.