This week I celebrated my birthday with my wife and daughters and her sister’s family in Chicago. Even though I was in Chicago, as usual, my thoughts were of San Francisco. Below is a post I wrote on April 4, 2008.
Yesterday was my birthday. It was also the birthday of the late Herb Caen. If you aren’t from San Francisco, you may have missed out on Herb. From 1938-1997, he wrote a column that ran almost every day that was full of what he called “items.” Some of the items involved society people, some were about who had dinner with who, some were just strange things and some were social issues that he cared about. What was most important was that he gave almost everyone in San Francisco a little bit of common ground. You could always make a connection with someone by referring to one of Caen’s recent columns.
When he died in 1997, a little bit of San Francisco died too. Yesterday, a little more of San Francisco died as well, when my grandmother, Lucille Clumeck, (everyone called her Mame) passed away at the age of 95. It was somewhat fitting that she passed on April 3rd. My birthday. Her son’s (my uncle) birthday and Herb’s birthday. Two of the most important things in her life were her love of family, and love of San Francisco. Her family moved there in that late 1890′s. They were living there during the earthquake and fire of 1906, and she grew up in the new San Francisco that sprouted after. She was married at the Fairmont in the 30′s, and after moving to the Peninsula to raise her family, moved back to the City in 1978 after her husband passed. She lived there as long she could.
So, if you find yourself with a glass in your hand this weekend. I would appreciate it if you could raise it to Mame. Raise it to Herb, and raise it to San Francisco.