Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Grandy and Grandpa

Lost a couple of the greats these last couple of months. Here's a handful of thoughts.

So they started a family - they had 6 kids. Four of them had 2 kids, and one had 4. You can't give them full credit for each grandkid, but give them half, and they're directly responsible for adding 12 people to the human race (and counting!)
- is that the story of the 20th century? Going from 1 billion to 7 billion? Is this a one time blip? Like, we're going to level off at 9 or 10 billion (or have a pretty bad time), so this kind of multiplying won't keep happening for generations.
- is that arguably a good strategy for making a mark on the world?
- they made a great impact on their world. ("their world" being their family and friends.) Arguably not a huge impact on the Whole World - they didn't cure cancer or whatever. I am coming around to the idea that that is ok. Hmm.

Man, they really friggin' did it! Born to coal miners and ... I forget what Grandy's parents did. But they came up to Cleveland, defended the country, owned a house, had a bunch of kids, who all went on to become doctors or lawyers or equally successful things, who now have their own families - like, that is not necessarily our dream today - we don't say "ok, you had a family and a house, therefore a great life" - but to them it was! and they did it!

We all know the male history of our family more than the female history. I know Giuseppe Tassi came from Offida, Italy; I don't know where Mary came from. Mary... Nucci? Something like that. And Grandy's parents - the Warcabas - beats me. I imagine this is not an isolated case. I imagine part of that is because of the name. I hope that this doesn't happen to our kids as much; I want them to know Tati's history as much as mine. Also, naming strategies for kids. This will be interesting.

I barely even knew what Grandpa did. Grandy didn't have a job outside the home (five kids is work enough.) He was an HR director for Hauserman Inc, which made movable interior walls. Huh. Every company out there, every office or factory you pass, like Fortney and Weygandt Inc which I sometimes pass on the way to my parents' house, has people doing all sorts of various things, and they all have big ol' families like this. Sonder.

I'll miss 'em! It was nice growing up with them around. They were always super excited to see Cheryl and me, and we them. Even when we started rolling our eyes and saying stuff like "man, they really love the Old Country Buffet, don't they"... there's a deep current of love under there that we knew and appreciated.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

(The Mission/Lawrenceville/Capitol Hill) isn't dead. It's changing.

This NY times editorial is maybe the first one in the last five years that includes musings about New York or San Francisco neighborhoods that I'm glad I've read.

In short: you think the city/neighborhood/whatever was best at some imaginary time in the past, probably when you were young and cool and an "insider", whatever that means. (It probably includes a small circle of close friends and a rich circle of diverse secondary friends, and probably a connection to some kind of arts scene that's too obscure to google.)

See also Midnight in Paris; see also everyone who travels who wants to see "the real London/SF/Mumbai, not the tourist stuff", who probably just wants to feel like an insider there.

Look, I remember when Ritual Coffee in the Mission was a kinda dark place you could work on laptops. I remember when Capitol Hill had a Museum of the Mysteries and Bailey/Coy Books, and Coca Cafe in Lawrenceville was a new trendy thing. This all places me "back in the day", and maybe "way past back in the day", depending on who you are. Now they are not quite that anymore! Now on Valencia you can buy $5 coffee and $5000 furniture. That Capitol Hill apartment that had no doorbell so I rigged up a shoe connected to a string, it costs twice as much now.

But in the Mission you can still buy some good books, eat great Mexican food, see a tabla master in concert, join a secret society, discuss philosophy or play Magic cards over okay Turkish coffee, get a sweet haircut, see an underground arts fair or a street carnival, etc etc. It's changing, sure, but A. change happens slowly, and B. it's not always bad.

Maybe all our money now is going not to rich suburbs or rich fat cat neighborhoods (your Pac Heightses and Midtown Manhattans, right?) but rich yet active mid-city dense neighborhoods. That's not without its problems - we have to figure out how to avoid pushing out lower-income people, and how the lower-income people who do get pushed out don't end up in awful underfunded sprawled-out suburbs - but it's a better vision than white flight, anyway. Eh, we're trying.