Saturday, July 2, 2016

1710 Cabrillo Street

I lived at 1710 Cabrillo Street from when I was 11 until I moved away to college at 18, and my family continued to live there; when my dad died he had been there for 34 years. It is very sad to me to say goodbye to that home. But I am grateful to the landlords, who gave my family a solid base for decades, and never hassled my father about anything, and had to live with renting at probably 20% of market rate for a long time. (Rent control in SF is very strong, especially for seniors.) This will not be a comprehensive record of my former home by any means - just some pictures I snapped while we were down there moving out in April.

The house is in the Richmond District of San Francisco at the corner of 18th and Cabrillo, one block north of Golden Gate Park. It's what San Franciscans call a "flat," which means a two-unit apartment building (duplex?) with the apartments one on top of the other. The garage is on street level.

I always wondered what my dad would do about these stairs when he got old and frail; it seemed like they might be a reason for him to move to Seattle eventually. These stairs prevented my grandmother (his mother) from visiting the house for the last decade or two of her life. My mom used to keep potted plants on the side of the stairs. Dale and I put non-skid strips on them a couple years ago.

 The door straight ahead is the neighbor's apartment; Dad's is on the left.
The front door had a trick to it that if you turned the key the wrong way, you would lock the deadbolt and then be totally unable to unlock it. A few years ago I drew an arrow on the lock with a sharpie so that we visitors could stop messing things up.
 The living room, with Aaron reading a book. All the furniture is stuff my parents inherited from friends.
 Coat hooks by the front door, but if you hung too many coats on it it fell down.
Front hall. The carpets were not replaced in the 34 years my dad lived there, and he would not have wanted them to be; neither of my parents cared about material things at all, and both disliked any kind of fuss or waste. That table on the right I still think of as the "telephone table" even though it's been many years since telephones needed tables. In this picture the living room is behind you, the dining room to the left, the kitchen is ahead and to the left (that light coming into the hallway is from the kitchen), and the long hall leads to the back of the house, with three bedrooms. The floor plan of the house is very typical of the neighborhood - I had many friends as a kid who lived in houses with the same floor plan, and we ourselves moved from one house with this floor plan to another when I was 11. (We just put everything in the same place!)

It's really a fantastic floor plan - it makes great use of the space, everything is connected in just the way you would expect, and there is a surprising amount of privacy, with the bedrooms so far away from the front of the house. The boys loved the long hall; whenever we went there, their first activity was hall soccer.

Like the carpets, the kitchen had never been updated. It had the original dragging-wood drawers, cabinets whose doors were always popping open, no dishwasher. Normally one would have the refrigerator in the kitchen but for some reason we did not; instead, we had a desk that served as the main countertop, and the refrigerator in the pantry. 

There were Fillmore concert posters on the cabinets, including Joan Baez and Wavy Gravy.

Decades ago my dad asked my mom if she wanted a new stove, and she said no, this one was fine. He said, "How about a new oven handle?" and she again said no, the stub of the old handle was sufficient. 

 They had the worst knives of anyone I ever knew. We kept the biggest one, which my mother's grandmother brought over from Poland.
Here's the pantry (utility room?) with the refrigerator in it. I always called this the "cat room" because when we had cats, their boxes were here.

All the doors had these old glass doorknobs. The bathroom floors had that miniature hexagonal tile. 

My dad was a simple guy who liked his systems and wanted guests to be comfortable in as unfussy a way as possible. He made this awesome sign to tell people the little quirks and necessities of the house. Read it! Don't you think your house should have one of these too? It's really a very good idea.

 He liked to have guests, and he kept a drink menu in the living room.
 The back room used to be my mom's storage/hobby/plant room, but we cleaned it out when the boys were born to be their bedroom, and they loved it dearly. It was so hard to say goodbye to this place.

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