Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cars, Then and Now

My granddaughter, Ashley, has an assignment to find out about "Cars: Then and Now."
She has to answer three questions about cars in her life, and she asked me to answer 
the same questions about cars in my life when I was a child. 

We lived in San Francisco in the 1940s and 1950s. Ashley lives in a city in New Hampshire.
I hope to post Ashley's answers eventually, too.

Five places we regularly drove to when I was a child:

1. The zoo
2. Swimming lessons at Fleischhacker Pool, which was then the largest swimming pool 
in the world. See pix here.
3. The Safeway grocery store, which was around 12 blocks away
4. The Stonestown Mall, which was the first mall we had ever heard of. 
You can see an old postcard picture here.
5. To our rich cousin's place in southern California for summer vacations. (He bought a 
house once owned by The Beach Boys, and we loved taking showers in the Beach Boys' 

Five places I regularly walked to when I was a child: 

1. My school, Francis Scott Key (Annex). Pictures here. It was six blocks away.
2. Golden Gate Park. It was just three blocks away.
3. Playland at the Beach, a creepy/fun place. Pictures here.
4. Ocean Beach, just a block and a half from our house.
5. The movie theater, and the ice skating rink, both just a couple of blocks away.

How my childhood would have been different if there hadn't been any cars:

My childhood wouldn't have been much different. We could walk to lots of stuff nearby; 
or we could take the streetcar, which would take us downtown for shopping, or to Fisherman's 
Wharf to buy fresh crabs. I learned to take the streetcar up to the public library on 19th Ave. 
by myself--a distance of about 30 city blocks. 

The big difference would have been that we wouldn't have had a car to take annual two 
week summer vacations, but then we would have taken the train, instead. In fact, my mom 
took me on the train when I was just three years old, and we traveled from San Francisco 
to Maine. I still have the menus. (You can read about it at A Train Trip With My Mother).