Archive for May, 2012

A Folk History of Hayes Valley

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Folk, common, local, whatever, history is a fascinating thing (no surprise then, that I grew up listening to This American Life). I’m convinced that there is no place you can find that is not interesting, especially if you happen to live in a large city.

I live in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. While it does seem neat, clean, and nice, if you pull things back and look beyond the gentrification, the boutiques, the parks, the disappeared freeway, and the earthquake – back into the 80’s – you would find the identity and experience of this neighborhood completely foreign. Back then the neighborhood (but, honestly, most parts of most cities) was pretty edgy. Indeed, in 1979, Chris Pirsig (from ZAMM) was murdered a few blocks away from my apartment.

However, despite all of the drama of the moment, in history, most events are forgotten and stories remain untold. I’d reserve judgment on whether or not this is a good thing, but, good or bad, this does make the discovery of those stories, regardless of provenance, something precious.

Anyways, not to make to too much of it, a while ago I dug up a short story about growing up in this neighborhood – way before I ever stepped foot in it – and I think it’s pretty interesting:

Chronicles Of A True Hustler: Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, Pt. 6