Becki and I Get Together
This picture of me and Becki was taken at a Pauling Institute party at the Stanford Court on Nob Hill San Francisco in November 1986.
Our 1987 Golden Gate Bridge Walk
The best fireworks display we ever saw. Becki is in the Bay Area for the week.
One of our favorite activities in San Francisco was, and still is, walking the Golden Gate Bridge. Whenever my kids who lived in Odessa TX would visit, we would make a point of spending a day in San Francisco and having a date with the Bridge.
(click to enlarge the small pictures)
In May of 1987, I noticed that the 50th anniversary of the bridge was going to be celebrated in the evening with a spectacular fireworks display and a concert at Chrissey Field (near the Presidio) with the bridge lit up in full view for the ocassion. So Becki and I reserved a room at the Stanford Court on Nob Hill (our favorite hotel in SF) for the nights before and after the event. Six months earlier we had spent 5 days at the Court as the guest of Ryoichi Sasakawa, a billionaire Japanese industrialist who was visiting Linus Pauling.
We heard there was going to be a bridge walk starting at 6 AM on Sunday when the bridge would be blocked off to cars. So we got up early to take a cab over to the bridge because of our uncertainty about parking. Becki stood at one block corner and I went to the next corner to hail a cab; but there were no cabs to be found. Then another fellow showed up at my corner and we discussed the surprising fact that there were no cabs. I said to him that I have a car but I’m not sure where I would park. He responded that he was a VIP and had parking tickets for the ocassion. So his family of four and Becki and I piled into my 4-cylinder Mustang, which barely made it up to the top of Nob Hill, to head over to the bridge.
When we got to the parking area next to the bridge, we realized why there were no cabs. Everyone in San Francisco was taking a cab to the bridge. The organizers of the bridge walk had grossly under-estimated the appeal of the ocassion. Several hundred thousand showed up. Becki took the picture below of shadowy figures at about 6AM entering onto the bridge at sunrise.
We were two of the first to make it to the center of the bridge. That’s me on the left making some wisecrack to Becki. Standing next to me is the son of my VIP friend who was representing Bethlehem Steel which provided the steel for construction of the bridge. That family had never been to San Francisco or seen homosexuals before and were concerned about what they might catch. So they kept close to us thinking that we would offer them some protection. That’s Becki below with the hills of Marin County in the background before the crush. As you can see we weren’t crowded at the center at the beginning. We were oblivious of the happening that was developing. Little did we kow that we would be at the center of the bridge until mid-afternoon. A huge crowd was marching toward the center from behind us and in front of us from the Sausalito side.
…But here’s the scene from the sky.
And guess what! The city had not provided porta-potties at the center or at any location on the bridge…and there was no way to go back. At some point bladders had to be relieved for many (except for Becki and me) and so, out of desperation, the crowd tolerated with sympathy many males and females who succumbed to the call of nature off the side of the bridge.
Nevertheless, we and the rest of the crowd were just happy to be there as we viewed the beautiful scenery of the Bay and Alcatraz to the east and the Pacific Ocean and the Farralon Islands to the west.
Finally sometime in the mid afternoon, the brainiacs that organized this affair ushered the 250,000 or so off the bridge to the urinary relief of some. Our VIP friends were exhausted and had had enough. So they gave us their tickets to sit in the VIP stands for the evening fireworks … and we sat in the stands like royalty ’til late into the night watching the fireworks to the 1812 Overture played by the San Francisco Symphony. We finally made it back to the hotel exhausted but ready for a late steak dinner.
My Most Satisfying April Fools Joke
This was on April 1st 1987. Becki and I had moved into our first house in central Palo Alto. We had only a few pieces of furniture but the winter was warm and we were joined by Becki’s beloved German Shepherd Chewbacka and cockatiel JD. Becki for some reason had concluded that JD was a boy, so we were quite surprised to find a small egg in ‘his’ cage a few days before April. JD’s cage was mounted high on the wall so you had to stand on a stool to see the bottom of the cage. So while Becki was not around on the morning of April 1st, I took a chicken egg out of the fridge and placed it in the bottom of the cage. When Becki came into the living room, I got up on the stool, peered into the cage, and reacted like an academy award winning actor … “my God, JD laid another egg!” Becki rushed over and stood up on the stool to see this new wonder. For a second or two the expression on her face was most gratifying. While I was across the room revelling in laughter, Becki reached into the cage, grabbed the egg, and started chasing me around the house… only then, in the frenzy that ensued, did I learn how successful the prank was. Thinking that the egg was raw, I did my best to avoid the curveball that was thrown which I was able to deflect with a flat hand.
…it was hard-boiled. John
Our Special Day
On Sunday February 28th, 1988, Becki and I drove up to the Hyatt at North Lake Tahoe and spent the night at the slots ’till about 2 AM. The next day, Leap Day, we drove over to Carson City NV. We found the local court house and a parking place with a meter that still had 40 minutes on it. There was no line at the wedding license desk so we stepped right up, paid 15 bucks, and headed back to our car with license in hand. Seeing that we still had about 25 minutes left on the meter, we decided to take a stroll a block or two down to the wedding chapel shown below. We knocked on the door and were met with a waft of chicken soup as the door opened up. The owner of the chapel was standing at the door along with her toddler son with broken leg in a cast, and he also seemed a little agitated by the situation. She ushered us in saying that she would call the minister who lived a few minutes away. During that few minutes she insisted in showing us the three optional rooms that were available for our marriage. All the while, as we toured the establishment, we insisted that we weren’t interested in an elaborate wedding – we wanted the $20 version plus $5 for the witness. So this was settled as the minister arrived. I hardly remember the ceremony, but after all, our life together had been splendid already. We thanked all for attending our wedding and headed back to our car. The meter was barely out of time. So we headed back to Tahoe and then on to Palo Alto to finish an otherwise typical spring day (where spring arrives in January and February).