† ... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The next magnets belong to the fridge of my friend Olivia

Olivia bought this in Australia; she bought one for me too.

* Discussion *

What are your prejudices?

Talk about it here.

Read the forum that was banned by one reader's office computer because it has "sexual content." I must be having more fun than I thought!


The Hammer of Eden
Ken Follett

(I bought this in the Houston airport!)


Inside the Actors' Studio:
Merrell Streep

Pictures from the Cincinnati are now up at Steve's Club Photo page. Our visit with my goddaughter is on MY Club Photo page (called "Lyke Visit").

That's it for today!


23 July 2001

The drug store is closed. The windows are covered with newspaper and there is a "for lease" sign hanging on the door.

It was kind of a shock to see it. I have such fond memories of that store.

The store sits at the intersection of Union St. and Hyde St. in San Francisco, a block from where I grew up. Itís a rather special corner and I have wonderful memories of all four corners.

On one corner sits the original Swensonís Ice Cream parlor. Nowadays (if they even still exist), Swensonís is a chain, the franchise long ago having been sold. But when I was a kid, Earl Swenson opened his parlor and we could go in and watch them making ice cream in the big fats. "See us freeze" was written on the window (we never did actually see him freeze, though we wondered if we would!).

On Halloween, any kid who went into the ice cream store in costume got a free cone from Earl himself, giving us our choice of pumpkin ice cream or licorice ice cream. There was also a photographer there who would take group photos and a few days later we could go back to the parlor and try to find our photo and order prints, or not.

I learned about butter brickle and fresh peach ice cream from Earl Swenson. It was a good thing to have learned! He was also the first person I knew who offered "dipped" cones. One of the joys of life was walking up the Swensonís for a cone dipped in chocolate.

When Jeri was born, one of the things her grandfather wanted most to do was to have her be old enough to walk up to Swensonís for a cone. It was a big day when that finally happened.

Across the street from Swensonís is the Searchlight Market. One of the old mom-and-pop stores that are dying out at a rapid rate, squeezed out by the Safeways and Albertsons and Raleys of this country.

The Searchlight Market was owned by Louis Rosenthal. All I remember about him was that he was bald and that he gave me my first pet. I was home sick with measles, I believe, and Louis brought me a black kitten with white feet, whom we named Socksie.

On another corner--or not quite on the corner, but up the block a bit--is Vernís Shoe store. I think thatís still there. Is there anything more memorable than the smell of leather and shoe polish and the sound of the machines whirring softly in the background? I canít remember the last time I visited a shoe store. Nowadays we live in a disposable society and I wonder how many of us have shoes fixed instead of just going out to buy a new pair.

(Well, I do neither, actually! I just spend a fortune on one pair and wear them for years!)

And finally there was Rexall Drugs. This teeny store, where you could hardly fit two people side by side, was where we had our prescriptions filled, and where I went each week to buy the lastest issue of Photoplay or Modern Screen, where I bought my first box of Kotex, and where I liked trying out new colors of lipstick. When I was young and sick, my mother would run up to the drug store to buy me a comic book.

It was also where I took the film from my old Brownie box camera and returned, with much excitement, a week later to pick up the (black and white) prints. I still remember the day when, with shaking hands, I opened the envelope that contained the photo Iíd taken of Judy Garland, when I met her at the Fairmont Hotel. I just about floated home, on finding that the photo had turned out quite well, despite my shaking hands as I took the photo.

Crossing the street from the shoe store to the drug store, you stepped over the cable car tracks. The Hyde St. cable car ran just a block from my house and when I was in high school, I would ride the cable car to school, transferring at Geary St. to catch the bus up the hill.

It cost me 10 cents to get on the cable car. At that hour of the morning, I always got a seat, and it wasnít full of tourists.

Now I donít even know how much a ride on a cable car costs, but about as much as an amusement park ride, I think. Thatís what itís become, of course. No longer amode of transportation; itís something to amuse the tourists. Itís just about impossible to get on mid-route and they allow women to stand on the outside, which they never did when I was growing up. And you have to queue up to get on...no more standing on the turntable and elbowing a few people out of the way so you can have your own special seat by the window in the front part of the cable car. Theyíve also changed the underground cable, so it doesnít sound right any more.

I suppose itís safer now, but I loved the metallic sound of the cable running under ground and the smell of the oil on the clamps that gripped the cable.

There are a lot of memories, walking around the old neighborhood. But itís not the same. Earl Swenson is dead. Louis Rosenthal is dead. Vern the shoemaker is probably dead. And the Rexall drug is now closed.

Theyíre right--you really canít go home again, no matter how hard you click those ruby slippers together.

One Year Ago:
A Perfect Day

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 7/17/01 by Bev Sykes