It used to drive my husband and kids crazy that I would run into people I know all over the city. I told the boys if you stay in San Francisco, the same thing will happen to you. San Francisco is a world class city, but it is not a huge place. If you grew up here and stayed here like I did, you know a lot of people, especially if you are part of a smaller community within the city. I am a part of several smaller communities including the community of disabled children and special education. I have met countless people through Maggie. But that cannot hold a candle to the San Francisco Catholic school connection.
I went through the Catholic schools as did all six of my siblings, my parents and most of my cousins. Many people move away, but like many who stay in the City I sent my boys through them too. That just multiplies the effect as the next generation of connections is made. It is an enormous group of people but you can make a connection in less than 30 seconds. If you didn't actually go to school with them you knew their brother or lived next door to their cousin or something. Even though we move on and meet new people and socialize with friends we've met as adults, those childhood connections are strong. Even stronger if you have kids doing the same thing. We are basically raising our kids just as we were raised.
On of those people is my friend Nancy Hayden Crowley. I have known her since I was in the 5th grade and she was in the 2nd grade. She was a hilarious kid and is a hilarious adult. As a kid she was friends with my sister Ellen, though as we got older and age differences didn't matter any more we all hung out together. She has a son Maggie's age and a daughter a bit younger, but it is not the kids that connect us. It is so many years of knowing each other so well. It takes you back. Whenever I run into her, which is often, I instantly feel like I am wearing my middy and tie in the St. Stephen's school yard. She lives in the house she grew up in, sent her kids to St. Stephens and remains an active member of that neighborhood and community. Now her husband FX Crowley is running for supervisor of District 7.
I drove past her house the other day and she was organizing her husbands campaign workers as they canvassed the District. I stopped and she ran over to the car to talk to me and say hello to Maggie. She gave us campaign buttons and offered donuts, even though we live in District 1. We laughed through our entire conversation, which was only about 10 minutes because she had to get back to work.
As I drove away I thought to myself, I cannot pretend I am on the school yard anymore. Of course I know other people in City government but this is different. If FX Crowley wins this election Nancy will be the first lady of District 7. I don't think San Francisco supervisors host too many State Dinners in their districts, but I would love to see Nancy presiding over one.
Middys and ties will be de rigueur.
my 6th grade class picture from St. Stephens