……………as Tony Bennett sang in his timeless and romantic homage to “my city by the bay.”
Built like ancient Rome on little hills with epic views, post World War II San Francisco in 1949 was a kaleidoscope of exquisite world class cuisine, sparkling new edifices, a bustling Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and a growing Bohemian Jazz culture.
It was to this “underground” marijuana smoking environment that my father ~ now the conductor of his own 26 piece band, was attracted to.
The featured opening act for renowned heavyweight Latin Kings Perez Prado and Xavier Cugat, my father would play almost every night at the top night clubs in The Bay Area.
A new arrival to San Francisco in 1943, my Mom lived with her parents and sister at my Great Aunt Amalia’s gorgeous residence in the San Carlos hills ~ just 30 miles south of “The City” and on the outskirts of what is now Silicone Valley.
Blessed with European craftsman & trade skills, my grandfather and grandmother were immediately employed as a piano finisher/cabinet maker and finishing seamstress respectively, in downtown San Francisco.
Taking the train to work every day with my Aunt Amalia and Aunt Christina who worked as embroiderers at the prestigious I. Magnin department store on Union Square, this over-the-top family togetherness would soon lead to its ugly undoing.