Pict of Shirley Feldman

Shirley Feldman, June 1968

As crystal as today I remember arriving in San Francisco for the very first time.

A small band of our college crew preceded us to the West Coast and we found Shirley's flat, parked and prepared to announce our arrival.

Stepping onto Bessie Street in Bernal Heights I clearly recall spotting a lovely young Latino girl wearing a fringe jacket. Was I more enchanted with the idea of West Coast femininity then this mystery woman herself? I shall never know and I am sorry to say I had no time to ever meet this lady that day or any other, though I looked for her for years on that street. The vision of her with short black hair and that Western Cowboy jacket is still strong and powerful. It always comes up when I think of that great transition in my life.

Bernal Heights would soon become our very important to us. Robert De Niro's painter-father coins the area the "Montmartre of the West." The neighborhood hasn't really changed too much in the last 25 years. Recently David Talbot wrote that Bernal Heights, known formally as "Nanny Goat Hill" is "where middle-aged bohemians, Salvadoran immigrants, lesbian mothers, first-time homeowners and street gangsters all commingle at the local playground in the frantic union of parenthood."

Now Shirley couldn't wait to introduce us to her new friends and we summarily trooped to Winfield Street to meet Barry and Judy. But first we had to pick up Shirl's new boyfriend, Bob Duval.