Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pride March, 6/29/13

The other day I was on the Metro near a couple with southern accents and about my age. They looked very disconsolate. She said, "Paris is a very big city, not like home." He said, "Yes, it's big." And they both sighed and looked as though they wanted to be anywhere but where they were.

The lefties were there

But I just love that I can wake up one morning (late one morning), look out my window and see people creating their floats for the Pride March! (Or last week's pro-livestock parade.) I have to be honest. In forty-three years in and near San Francisco, I've never been to the march in SF. No excuses this time.

Same sex marriage now legal in France

I imagine that the march is huge in SF (probably happening right now) because of the Supreme Court decision. Same sex marriage was legalized in France this year, so it was quite a hoopla here. It took almost two hours for the parade to go past my apartment - though I was down in the street by then.

Bride and groom?

I didn't see any trouble. There were police, but not as many as I expected, not because of the marchers, but because of the riot last month when same-sex marriage was legalized.

Pride March, Paris, 2013

Ellen, Halloween, SF, 1983
(I sew better than that guy)

I've read the book Sarah's Key since I've been in this apartment (didn't see the movie). There is a copy of it in the apartment and the narrator lives on this street - somewhere within a few blocks, but across the street. She complains about the noise (so many sirens) generated by the three hospitals in the neighborhood. She's certainly right! In the book she is moving to a quiet older neighborhood and she has mixed feelings.

Pride March, Paris, 2013

She is looking forward to the quiet, though. I have loved being in the middle of everything. The noise hasn't bothered me a bit. If it's warm enough, I throw open the windows to hear it better. It doesn't affect my sleep at all, which surprises me since Santa Rosa is so quiet at night. It used to bother me a lot when I was kid and would visit (Great) Aunt Helen on W. 18th in Manhattan. I was sure I'd never get to sleep on "the barge" (her combo guest bed/couch) - though the humidity was often as much to blame for that.

Aunt Helen (before I knew her)

I said it before, but I am so much happier down here than up on Montmartre. Ellen said she wished I'd still been up there when they came to visit. I'm really glad that an old area is preserved like that, but this feels like real life without feeling like the U.S. Yes, despite the Century 21 across the street and the McDonald's around the corner.

Always a good slogan

My next neighborhood - the Bastille - is also a noisy active area, but it feels less like everyday life and more like a party - a much higher concentration of young people. It will be interesting to see how I feel there. But no matter where I am, I'm never more than two blocks from a Starbuck's! Which I don't frequent.

Multi-issue march - of course!

The Pride March was headed to the Place de la Bastille - quite a walk. I imagine they are still celebrating. The sanitation department came in right on the tail of the march and cleaned up immediately, but they missed these balloons.

After the party

And I had lunch out and met this lovely little dog.

Aldo wants some Croque Monsieur

Late in the afternoon, I went back to Bourdelle Museum - just a couple of blocks away. Last time I went, Bourdelle's studio was closed for a lecture and I love that room.

Antoine Bourdelle's studio

I spent almost my whole time in that room taking pictures.

Antoine Bourdelle's studio

They've built a whole museum around Bourdelle's studio and living quarters and the guard seemed very concerned that I was going to miss it (it was close to closing time).

More studio

He didn't speak any English and I think he was expressing concern - I can't be sure. And then I tried to explain to him that I'd been to the museum several times and had already seen the other parts. I think he understood - maybe.

And more studio

I don't come to this museum for the art - much of it I don't like - mostly the later stuff that is in the new museum part. I go there for the atmosphere and spend my time in the studio and the gardens. There is sometimes a cat - I have pictures from 1986 - but kids scared it away this time.

Medusa and the garden

Then I just headed out for an early evening stroll, since it was such a nice day - finally. This building was down the street from the museum. It is made of glass panels that go from red to orange to yellow.

Glass building

Today I read a very poignant little book that I picked up at the Abbey Bookstore. The bookstore has been around for twenty years - owned by a Canadian - and it makes Treehorn look positively light and spacious. You can barely move in it and most of the books are impossible to see. And you get to the bathroom by moving the poetry bookshelf (which is heavy). The book is The Crofter& The Laird by John McPhee.

Pasteur Metro station

When I brought it to the counter (I'd found it hidden away in the basement down very steep steps with no railing), the owner said, "Oh I knew someone would want that some day!" John McPhee is in his 80's and I think still teaching journalism at Princeton. He is credited as one of the founders of "creative nonfiction." He is descended from Scots from the Isle of Colonsay. He went to live there for a while and tell the story of how things have changed and how people are barely hanging on (it was written in 1969, so I'm going to have to look up the island and see how it is faring). 

Rose in a hidden garden

He tells how the English cleared Scotland of people in the 18th and 19th centuries - how his ancestors came to the U.S. just a few years after mine - and how they moved to Ohio - just like mine. And then he tells the story of the few who stayed - their personal lives and the politics behind their situation. Chuck's grandparents were ones who stayed (his grandmother from Mull) an additional fifty years.

Building detail just down the street

I'll be spending ten days on the west coast of Scotland and a couple of islands, including Mull, in July. It's kind of a crazy trip - trying to see too many places - too much time spent on trains, buses, and ferries - quite a switch from my slow life here. I'll be seeing places that relate to my Scottish/Campbell heritage, but nothing related to direct ancestors - though I will be seeing my grandmother-in-law's island.

More building details

Just like the Bourdelle Museum, I'm going for the atmosphere. Don't know where it will lead.

James and Rachel (Hutchinson) Campbell came to the U.S. in the 1850s and I have a photo of my great-grandmother, Isabelle (their daughter - the one who became a suffragist), taken near the end of the Civil War. 

Isabelle Campbell

We think a couple of generations lived in Northern Ireland - sometimes a stepping stone after leaving Scotland and before coming to the U.S. After Ohio, they ended up in Iowa.

All of James and Rachel's children -
Isabelle upper left

If I could triple the time and slow the trip down, I'd be a lot happier, but I'm looking forward to it anyway and the book whetted my appetite.


Despite all the peeling paint, this hotel gets three stars. Must be because of all the angels.

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