Memoirs of a city

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photo by Reynaldo R. Cayetano Jr.

Over in San Francisco, SFist, a local website, is collecting the photographs and anecdotes of natives and long-time residents of the Bay Area in a series called the SFist Memoirs. The stories and photographs give access to places and people from bygone days. In one “memoir”, the writer’s uncle remembers rock and roll parties on the houseboats of Sausalito; in another, a woman remembers the Gentleman Chefs Club, an elite club of Bay Area business owners with a mandate to have “fun” (think visits to the racetrack and trips to Reno). These insider photos and memories are priceless.

Collectively, these personal recollections comprise the memoirs of a city. They remind me of the Echo books that, through the stories of loved ones and admirers, have commemorated the lives of someone special. A city goes through lives and deaths after all, and as poet Muriel Rukeyser said, “TheĀ universeĀ is made of stories, not atoms.”