San Francisco 1965


San Francisco’s cable car. I understand it’s still working. Back then in 1965, to the little boy that I was, fresh out of Africa, it was very cool. Note the hairdos on the women, and the white socks and black jeans on one of the passengers pushing the car. (Elvis wasn’t very far)


The streets of San Francisco. Alcatraz, still in operation back then, is in the background, centre.


The Golden Gate bridge. Don’t know why, I always – wrongly – associate the bridge to the song, a few years later,  by Country Joe MacDonald and the fish at Woodstock: “Next stop (is VietNam)”. “And it’s five, six, seven, open up the (pearly) gates”. The rest of the lyrics is restricted to mature audiences only. (Fab’ song, though)


The All-American diner. En route to San Diego. An endless car trip from Frisco to SD, along the seemingly eternal highway, punctuated by stops at a diner like this one. French toast: $.59; T-Bone steack for $1.69. (How much’s a T-bone steak worth now? Do tell, dear E-friends) That is where I heard Edith Piaf’s “Allez venez, Milord” for the first time. Probably a courtesy by the owner hearing us speak French. Foreground, right: my mother. Soo Sixties.

A rare, “bilingual” version. 5mn or something. Well worth the time.

Christmas ’65 saw us fly to Frisco from Amsterdam, where we lived in between two African posts. We went to visit a friend who taught at Berkeley. Visited a bit of SF, and then she took us to the most boring road trip (highway trip, the beat generation was still just a few years ahead) to San Diego. Endless hours in the car. Diners and motels. Till we reached San Diego, saw the harbour and turned back! My parents were a bit p.o’ed, and managed to squeeze a stop at Disneyland and Yosemite for us kids. 🙂

Text and photo (c) BMO and Equinoxio.

All photos were taken on an Instamatic. My second camera, graduating from a brownie box. 🙂

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, And Feliz Año Nuevo to all.

55 thoughts on “San Francisco 1965

    • Hi Adrienne, that shows how good your mother’s taste was. 🙂
      ‘Hope this post (and unusual video) brought back fond memories.
      I trust the end of year festivities went well?
      Bonne année to you and loved ones.

    • Hey Dragos! An nou fericit! (I hope this is correct)
      I hope the end of year was a pleasant one and that 2016 will be nice to you and your loved ones.
      Be good.
      (Or bad, whatever suits you)

      • Wow, you’ve already learned Romanian! 😛
        Yes, that is absolutely correct. 🙂

        Since 2015 has been a terrible year, let’s hope this one will at least not be as bad. 🙂 I know high hopes bring deep dissapointments so… 😉

        Be safe, good man! 🙂

      • I’ll do my best. Sometime one has to reach the bottom of the water, kick the sand (or pool-floor) in order to go back to the surface. In a way, I’m glad 2015 was a crappy year. 🙂 2016 has to better right?
        Take care.

      • Trouble is we’re swimming in deep waters and we haven’t yet reached the bottom. We can only hope for the best trying to be optimistic, but need I remind you the joke with the optimist and the pessimist? 🙄 🙂

        Cheers to a (much) better year! |_|

      • Deep and bloody waters indeed. 😦
        My version of the optimist and pessimist is that neither is realistic. 🙂
        So here comes another saying: always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Lol!

    • N’est-ce pas? Edith Piaf en anglais c’est drôle.
      Elle venait de mourir l’année précédente. Je me rappelle encore la couverture de Paris-Match, et moi demandant à ma mère:
      “C’est qui la dame qui est morte?”
      Tout va bien?

  1. This is so cool, Brian! Did you take those pictures? Haha, I hear you, food is so much more these days. Watch the price tags in the early twilight zone episodes 😉

  2. Love it. Edith must have been for you speaking French because you don’t hear much French music anymore and I can only imagine back then even less. My German friend just sent me some Edith P music for Xmas that I am enjoying. I have liked her ever since that movie came out about her some ten years ago or so.

    And I am sorry about the traffic. If it makes you feel better it is 1000 times worse now a days.

  3. Your photos took me back to our lovely visit to San Fran in the early 1990’s. It was great to ride one of the trams. American road trips are the best and I love the diners. Those prices are unbelievable! 🙂

  4. Fabulously nostalgic photos and memories. I know that long road. Must have been excruciating for a young kid, but at least you got to see Disneyland and Yosemite. 🙂

    • Hey Indah (means beautiful, right?) sooo good to hear from you. A happy new year to you too. How was your trip home last year? And, yes, San Francisco is fabulous. Selamat malam…

      • Thats correct 😊 know some Indonesian words now. The trip went well, we liked it and i still have to write about it 😊
        I am moving to the US now, for three years. So hopefully before returning to Europe, I will be able to visit SF..

      • I’ve been learning Malay with Tiffany. Started as a game. Now we regularly exchange some words or even full sentences in Malay. Which I understand is close to Indonesian. So your move to the US would be “kabar baik”? Where will you be? New York? DC? What will you do?

  5. What beautiful memories… I absolutely love the late 50s and 60s … The swing coats and bouffant hairstyles & all that fabulousness. So much fun to enlarge these photos and catch all the little details!

    Sounds like you’ve led a truly rich fascinating life. I’m jealous of your bilingual (trilingual??) upbringing and all the culture and history you’ve surely witnessed in so many interesting places.

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. j’y étais le mois dernier… pour la 2e fois! j’en ai profité pour refaire un tour à Napa Valley, Bodega Bay et l’Université de Berkeley… long story, short: I love Frisco! 🙂

  7. At my age now I would truly love a trip through California. But as a child I would most likely have dreaded that loooonggggg trip.

    The cost of a steak at a dinner is probably about $18-20 nowith but more at your better diners.

  8. Your cable car picture is a slice of history indeed.
    I love the song. When I visited Edit Piaf’s grave at Pere Lachaise, I could not hold my tears, and this song was in my head.

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