The People You Meet

When I started down the road of researching and writing books on San Francisco history, I never imagined all the interesting encounters I’d have with people who had fond memories (and some not-so-fond) they wanted to share…

At one of my first book signings in a small suburban bookstore, I thought maybe 15 people would show up. When I arrived, the store was crowded, and it turned out that word got out among former Emporium employees that the author was signing books, and over 50 people showed up. Some brought memorabilia, wore their Emporium staff badges, or had sheet music from the employee choral group.

City of Paris box

When researching the Ferry Building book, I heard there was a mysterious fellow (who shall remain unnamed) who had some information on some artifacts having to do with the building. BUT he didn’t do email, and he didn’t give out his phone number. I would have to call an organization that he was involved with and ask him to call me. If and when he called, if I didn’t answer, he would not leave a message. So when he called and I was at a noisy event, I did my best to step away and talk to him. Otherwise I would lose my chance…in the end, I’m not sure all the intrigue was worth it, but it was interesting.

At the History Days gathering at the Old Mint, a fellow came up to me clutching a musty scrapbook. He’d heard I was going to be a featured author and went home to get his father’s scrapbook. His father had been a longtime, loyal employee of the Emporium and saved everything, from receipts to employee idea contest entries to newsletters and notes. Such a walk down memory lane.

In other blog posts, I describe meeting Ellen Magnin Newman, a great-granddaughter of Mary Ann Magnin, and my adventures in the Ferry Building clock tower at 2am, watching two antique clock experts change the time to Daylight Savings Time. The adventures continue.

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