San Francisco: one man’s story
He shopped at Brooks Brothers, never at Wilkes Bashford.
At one time, he was a Trader Vic’s, Ernie’s, Doro’s kind of a guy. Vanessis was his go-to place for a bowl of minestrone at the counter. Tadich’s at the counter was preferable to Sam’s.
His kids went to Burke’s and Cathedral.
His wife had a 10:30 am standing hair appointment, Fridays with Mr. Lee.
He ran with the big dogs (F Lee Bailey, Alioto, and a cadre of men from the PU Club.) He preferred the company of his dominoes and golf buddies from the downtown Olympic Club.
His best buddy, John the restaurateur, played tennis with Herb Caen twice a week for two years and Caen never mentioned the place. Old Mr. San Francisco could be a real prick.
The Bank America building event was his biggest case. The trial took two years and he won a huge settlement: hence, the new Jaguar. His wife was not easily assuaged by his long hours and working-weekends and club dates with the boys.
He played golf at the Olympic Club -said he preferred tennis -and got his son a junior membership at the Club when the boy was 12.
They moved out of the Jackson Street address and moved to Marin County.
Then, with the kids gone, and work booming, his wife did what every other attorney’s wife in the suburbs did – she filed for divorce.
His neighbor’s wife, with the empty nest and empty hot tub, bonked the pool boy got a facelift, did EST, and went to Morocco, all in one year. Those were the days of peacock feathers, incense, hot tubs and musical spouses.
Often times, he worked long hours and stayed in the City at the Clift Hotel.
His soon-to-be ex-signed up for the Werner Erhard Seminars and became a mentor in the About Sex seminar. Funny that: in 25 years she never wanted to talk about sex.
And so it goes.
He ended up living alone in the San Rafael home with a swimming pool, the vast art collection and a huge wine cellar. His ex-wife had remarried and moved to Los Altos.
The kids were prone to stay with her for the holidays- he schlepped to her house. Family gatherings were surprisingly fun. He always felt empty, driving home over the bridge after Christmas, Thanksgiving, and big parties.
His friends had fought cancer – some won – some didn’t. In a million years he never thought he would get sick and die in one month. And he did.
The obit in the San Francisco Chronicle blew people away. Very few knew about his quiet, altruistic ventures or his involvement in the myriad organizations and boards.
He was a San Francisco legend no one remembers.