This topic has been bothering me for awhile when I see people who are bloggers and journalists and sometimes both talking about being from San Francisco. Most of these people are in their 30’s or 40’s and have moved here maybe in the 90’s. They never seemed to be San Franciscans to me and the reason why finally came to me today.
It’s not that you have to be old to call yourself a San Franciscan. My daughter is only six and she’s a San Franciscan. She was born at Children’s Hospital like me and my mother. Then it hit me. You pretty much have to have gone through puberty in San Francisco to qualify as a San Franciscan. What’s so special about puberty? Well I’ll leave the jokes out along with the gray haired old ladies that were hip and with it who taught sex ed and scarred us for life. It’s more than that.
Going through puberty in San Francisco means that you went to elementary school and high school here. Even today if you are currently going through that it will change you and leave a mark on you that everyone will notice. It does in part have to do with what part of the city you’ve grown up in provided that you aren’t moving every couple of years. You should stay in the same place for at least 10 years. I’ve figured 10 years is a good length of time because by then you’ve spent enough time in one place where you can qualitatively say things like, remember when we… or gee this place had gone to crap. People who are always moving around in the city have never spent enough time to see the place change. I on the other hand have been in the same neighborhood for so long I’ve seen it change and change again a number of times. Why I remember when I could go by my neighbor’s house to get lumpia and not have to drive to Daly City. Oh, there I go. I remember when the only people without kids in the Sunset district were elderly drunks. Ah, that’s a good one I had almost forgotten.
There are a few people this doesn’t really apply to, but they still can call themselves San Franciscans. Willie Brown started here by going to San Francisco State in 1951 before serving as Mayor and Tony Bennett was a New Yorker who got his claim to fame by writing I left my heart in San Francisco which sort of gives him status. [Note to Willie and Tony: Can I get an interview?] I suppose people like this would come under the category of leaving your mark on San Francisco in a big way. I’m sure though that there are others who left their mark in a big way that some might dispute, but I think you get my idea.
If you’re wishing that you could have the old San Francisco back and you’re talking about the 90’s you aren’t a real San Franciscan unless you’re 20.
— Eric I remember when a successful start up mean you could drive to the store. Kauschen