….1967: Haight—-& Today: Joel Bratman’s Slideshow of Graffiti on the Haight

While rummaging through the garage, I came across this “drawing” of me, dated 1967, the artist signed off as Joseph Gomez.

I remembered it immediately but the circumstances remain blurry. In 1967 I still lived with my parents in San Francisco; I was attending City College which almost everyone I knew who graduated from Lincoln High School had chosen to do (while they were making up their minds what to do next.)

This was the time of the famous Haight-Asbury, and one night I was there, exploring the streets when I came upon the artist called Joseph Gomez sitting on the sidewalk, drawing pictures of whomever wanted their image on paper.

Here’s mine, and, no, I don’t think I looked anything like that! Tiny head, poo!


To visit Joel Bratman’s (that’s his photo above, thanks Joel) slideshow called “Graffiti on the Haight,” please click here


My childhood friend Lynn Kalajian McCloskey tells me that she, too, had a portrait of her done by a mysterious artist in 1967, the same year Joe Gomez drew my image in the Haight-Asbury.

Here’s Lynn’s account and picture:

City College – PE – Bowling – Castle Lanes – 1967
A guy was watching us bowl when someone on my team said to me, ‘Hey, Lynn, that guy is drawing you.’

I walked over and asked him why he was drawing me. I don’t remember his response, but when he was done, he left it on the counter behind where we were bowling. Then he vanished. His name on the drawing looks like Gus De Bock. I googled him, but couldn’t find anything.

Funny, we should both have one from the same time period. I had it crinkled up in a drawer until about a month ago. I am working at getting the wrinkles out of it, but I think it’s a lost cause.

[Image of Lynn Kalajian, 1967. Email Lynn: [email protected]}

.. Art & Mystery at the Grave of Marcel Marceau in Paris..Story by Lynn Kalajian McCloskey

Story & photos by Lynn Kalajian McCloskey

Email Lynn: [email protected]

It’s chilling….mm2.JPGIt’s New Years Eve and we are spending the day at Cimetiere du Pere
Lachaise. We were wandering off the beaten path when a very odd-looking man
with long curly hair, wearing a stripped shirt, black jacket and tan pants approached us and started telling us about the people who were buried near
by. He was very animated and said to us, “this is my job,” and in his hands he carried a photo journal of the cemetery. Larry and I were thinking that he must want something. After a few minutes of conversation, he turns to me and asks me if I know who Marcel Marceau is. I looked at him dumbfounded andtold him he was one of my favorite mimes. I told him about a painting I own with the four famous mimes that was done by my uncle and was shown in galleries throughout the Monterey and Carmel Area. Like the pied piper he tells us to follow him.


On our journey he gives us the history of Marcel Marceau. He also tells us that no one knows that Marceau is buried at Lachaise because his grave is new and won’t be on the maps for another 6 months. We traipse up a muddy hill, and there it was…..a fairly new grave with flowers and memorabilia. Larry and I start snapping photos and I am babbling on and on. When I turn to thank him, poof, he was gone. We searched everywhere for him, and we never saw him again.

Could he have been the spirit of Marcel – Marcel always wore a stripped shirt………..let your imagination do the rest.

Decades later: Lawton School Reunion…

After a fire (arson) destroyed much of Jefferson Grammar School on Irving Street in San Francisco’s Sunset District– just before I was about to graduate in the late 1950s– the kids were bused to Ulloa Elementary to complete the semester. As you might imagine, it was a difficult transition to go from the familiar to the unfamiliar but new friends were made.

(If you know the Sunset, you remember that the cross streets go in alphabetical order from Irving-to Wawona–therefore Ulloa was a zillion blocks from Irving, new territory for me, mostly residential.)

By then (before the school fire) my childhood friend, Lynn Kalajian McCloskey, had moved to a new house and attended Lawton Elementary. This was a good move because she was now closer to Lincoln High School and all the parents wanted their kids to go Lincoln. Eventually my parents did the same thing, moving two blocks from Lincoln to assure my acceptance there.

And many of the kids at Lawton went on to Lincoln, so I got to know them in high school.

I have to admit that Lynn and I are opposites. She’s very outgoing and I am not–which is why I can sit here for hours working on my blogs!

A couple of weeks ago Lawton Grammar School had a reunion and Lynn was there to cover the story. The teacher drove in from Sacramento….and former students flew in from Texas and other parts of the country…

Here’s a photo of the kids, now very much adults. The faces I see belong to former Lincoln High athletes, song girls, geniuses and highly motivated elected membersr of the school’s student body in the 1960s.


Lawton School – Mr. James Healy’s 1960 6th Grade Class –
Back Row: Glenda Dubour, Janis Grimm, Carol Tomasello, Jeff Liss, Karen Tomasello, Berit Hovde, Maria Cresci, Gary Schaezlein, Bobby Cooper, Jim Minor, Mr. James Healy
Middle Row: Walt Scott, Diane Denhart, Tina Chriss, Marlane Drews
First Row: Jeff Gaynor, Lynn Kalajian, David Gabriel, Darlene Pels, Madeline Karonsky, Billy Wilde


Photo: Reunion organizer David Gabriel gets the party going with a toast.

And here’s the Reunion story by Lynn Kalajian McCloskey

How many people think of having a sixth grade elementary school reunion? I’m sure it’s been done, but one must admit it is rare. On Friday evening, January 18, 2008, a group of classmates from Lawton Elementary School in San Francisco got together for a class reunion at the Beach Chalet Restaurant at Ocean Beach. We all grew up in the Sunset amidst the fog and “dunes.â€? So, the Beach Chalet was a perfect location for this event.

The group came together as a result of a classmate, David, researching, finding and contacting as many students as he could. During the research process, a number of emails went back and forth and one could feel the excitement brewing. The reunion was becoming a reality. People that I thought about over the years were coming back to life as were the fond memories I have of those wonderful days at Lawton in the Sunset District. Out of 36 students, 20 were able to attend. Sadly, one classmate, and a neighbor of mine in the Sunset, passed away in 2002 from brain cancer. Other students were unable to attend due to prior commitments or living out of the area. However, the organizer is living in Colorado and another classmate who attended, Bobby, lives in Texas. The rest of us live in the Bay Area. The biggest surprise of all was an email from David informing us that our teacher, Mr. Healy would be attending. I can honestly say that Mr. Healy was an amazing teacher, and I think all of his student would agree with me. As the day drew near, it was all I could think about. Finally, the day arrived. I went to work as usual, but couldn’t wait for the work day to end. It was a busy Friday, and the day flew by.

One never knows what traffic into the City will be like so we left in plenty of time. Driving from Marin to SF, I was telling my husband stories of the Lawton days that I hadn’t thought about in years. We arrived in the City about 45 minutes early so we drove around our old neighborhoods and reminisced.

At the designated hour, we arrived at the Beach Chalet. As I was getting out of the car, I mentioned to Larry that I was a little nervous. Would anyone remember me, what would I talk about……. I had seen some of my classmates at my 20th high school reunion. With those that went their different ways, it ended the day we were promoted to junior high some 48 years ago. The first person I saw was David and two other classmates, Bobby and Jeff, who I had not seen since our high school days. The nerves melted away as we greeted and hugged one another. One by one everyone arrived and the mood of the evening was electric. Photos were snapped, hugs were exchanged, laughter was filling the room and the smiles spread from ear to ear.

Continue reading “Decades later: Lawton School Reunion…”

In the City: Moraga Stair Walk…

The “Moraga Stairs were not as creative-looking when I was growing up near them in the Sunset District. Lynn Kalajian McCloskey walked up and down them for us and took the great photo.


Lynn’s Spring Kitty

She visits us only in spring and summer. We have no idea where she lives, but she always find her way back to our house. Notice the eyes.

bg.jpg (Photo by Lynn Kalajian McCloskey)

Margie’s Experience at Grace Ball Secretarial School (1960s)

Here’s the link to the original story by Lynn K. McCloskey about the Grace Ball Secretarial School in San Francisco: http://www.halfmoonbaymemories.com/2006/11/08/1287/
And an email from Margie Burns who attended the school in the late 1960s:

I went there, too, met Grace Ball herself and Ruth. Except it was Mrs. Roof “like the roof on a house.”

I remember the typing teacher, though not her name. She, too, was one of the Ancient Ones. Of course we were in our 20s (early, early if that).

I use my shorthand to this day. Have lost a lot but still use it.

I rented my own apartment in San Francisco and rode the cable car to school daily. I had friends who lived in/boarded.

My experience wasn’t as bad as hers . I don’t remember being pinned to the wall by Grace but rather sitting across the desk from her.

The school was directly over an art gallery; the drug store was on the corner of Powell and Sutter. Unfortunately, it didn’t last the entire year I was thre. Popular meting place before and after class, though.

I must have been there 1967, 1968. When did the writer attend? It’s just possible we were in the same class.

From Margie S.

What Was It Like At Grace Ball Secretarial School In San Francisco?

My friend Lynn Kalajian McCloskey tells us:

Lynn.jpg Photo: Lynn Kalajian McCloskey

Do you remember I went to secretarial school in San Francisco- Grace Ball.?…

…Grace Ball (GB) was located at Powell and Sutter above the Owl Drugstore, which had a lunch counter and the best hamburgers.

Grace was a very old woman with extremely bad breath, and when she’d talk to you, she’d pin you up against a wall and her face was about two inches from yours. She
was decrepit.

Her sidekick, Ruth something, was a “little” younger and the drill sergeant type. There were about 100 girls in the school. My class was the rebellious one. We would meet each morning in the shower room and plot our strategy for the day. Nothing really bad ever happened, just prankster type stuff.

Our typing teacher was a small, thin woman – you think nice? Guess again. She was nasty mean and used to walk around with her pointer lightly smacking hands if they were idle. Soone day we took her smacking pointer and threw it in the garbage. She didn’t
know what to do, and we told her the custodians must have accidentally
thrown it away. That’s just one example. Most of the other teachers were
pretty nice.

Grace Ball was a secretarial school but we also took accounting classes.

I hated it there–so did everybody else. I only liked going to GB because I met some great people. Most everyone boarded there, but there were a few of us who lived in the City or on the Peninsula. We disliked it– but had fun flaunting the rules. We were

You probably wonder why were we there.. we were biding our time waiting for something better to come along….