San Frantastical!

by angeliska on December 3, 2007


Roasting ducks and painted ladies.
I had not visited San Francisco in twenty-one years.
Not since I was seven and I went with my grandparents
who lived in Los Angeles. I remember hills and pretty houses, yes.
We went to my cousin Polly’s wedding and I was the flower-girl.
I was running in the woods after and I saw a white horse.
It came right up to me. It could have been a unicorn.
When it galloped off, I ran to tell someone what I had seen
and I slipped and fell down in my patent leather fancy dress shoes
and fell and skinned my knee and was slightly hysterical
from that and wedding cake and my mother was in Texas dying
so no one believed me about the white horse.
That was the last time my grandfather had visited the Bay Area as well,
so we decided to make a journey and visit friends and family there.
We stayed with my cousin Barbara and her adorable family.
Their house was wonderful- a big 20’s bungalow bedecked in stained glass.

The morning light painted Grampa’s hands blue and gold.

Polly lives right around the corner, in this marvelous Arts + Crafts dollhouse.
This window made my heart shiver. There’s an inglenook, and a persimmon tree!

Their library is the most magical place. I want to live in it forever.
It is a place for hobbits and tibetan lamas and novelists (and me.)

After so many years of wishing,
I finally got to visit Paxton Gate.
It was indeed every bit as amazing as I had expected,
all orchids and foxtails and fossils and delights galore.
I think my favorite objects in the store were
Andy Paiko’s deliriously wonderful glassworks.
The cases of gorgeous insects made my heart feel funny,
happy and sad and ecstatic and screaming-
thinking of short beautiful bug lives,
thinking of Pandora Aurora Rose standing
behind them, excitedly crowing over
each and every one.

It was there that I finally met this lovely lady,
who is autumn leaves on fire and minx-mittens.
She smells like..marzipan + caraway + sambac jasmine
+ cinnamon + tuberose + vanilla + musk + mosses
+ jucarunda + woodsmoke + cloves = delicious.
I felt like we knew each other back when the world was young,
when we were just wee whorls on tree-roots,
tremulous tadpoles swimming in primordial soup.

She took Grampa and I everywhere,
on madcap tours of the town-
to the most important pastry shops
(Oh Miette and Tartine!)
and secret hollows filled with silken tapestries
and tea
and ice cream!
So many moments of beauty to recount,
to try and capture like unstrung pearls..
Drinking elderflower soda on giant stone cats..
Revelations and cackling and secrets!
Dinner with the greenest eyed man and a ravishing redheaded lassie,
dancing and frolicking to Gaucho Gypsy Jazz
and the incredible, marvelous, wonderful
GOLEM!

Lark in The Morning is obscure musical instrument paradise.

See?

Cousin Mouse and the Russian Treasures.

This place sold only Matrioshka Kuklas.
Inside was a flame-haired old lady who appeared to be
partly robotic. She gave an intense soliloquy about them
to us for a long time.

We also visited the Musée Mécanique
and had our fortunes told and pictures taken
over and over by the fantastic machines.

A message from the sea is all strange light,
tinkle and swirl, our faces appear in magic mirrors
we become giants in the ballroom on the Lusitania..

Snakes alive! It’s very late and I must go to sleepy now.
More San Francisco stories soon, I promise-
so many more wonders there!

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