Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • We were in San Francisco three times this month, but we didn't visit 525 27th Street. I'm sort of glad we didn't. I looked at it with binoculars, but decided not to subject Keith, who wasn't there, to my memories or myself to what seemed like negative changes.

    I lived there in 1967. It was an incredible spot, nothing like it is now. The house was all redwood, with redwood decks. It had extensive gardens, we called them hanging gardens, with fuchsia, cacti, succulents and walkways throughout.

    I worked as a dancer in North Beach and thought I was rich. I was rich, for me. Rich and lucky. I worked 5 hours a day, took dancing lessons, horse-back riding lessons, and played. I was still a kid with a huge playground.

    The house was the last house on the street and boasted an amazing view of the city. The big buildings shown here (from Google street view) were not there then. Not the ones on top, not the ones underneath. Much of the rest of the hill was wild, with dirt roads (in the middle of San Francisco!) and open fields. I walked those roads with my cats, Ralph and George Osawa, looked out over the city, and imagined I was God.

    My brothers came, my friends. Everyone stayed for free. I had plenty of money; I didn't mind sharing. We laughed. We were young. My brother stood at the edge of the precipice and yelled, "Hip-a-hip-hip-hippies!" out at San Francisco. We stood and watched the city cave in on itself and burn. Building crumbled and went up in flame, people screamed and were consumed. I was petrified with fear, as were my brother and my friends. We all saw it. It went on and on for hours and left us wrung out.

    I decided to leave California before the terrifying vision materialized. I was unsure if we'd tapped into the past or future--or just wild imaginings. But if it was the future, I didn't want to be there for it. So I left.

    I thought about that vision when we visited California for three weeks. I was relieved when there was no earthquake and no fire. The vision seemed so real 45 years ago that I was still a little frightened by it in 2012.

    I'd like to move back to California. The climate there is wonderful, compared to Detroit. A number of obstacles present themselves to moving, not the least of which is that vision.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.