A grandmother’s Tales of the City

My great-grandmother arrived from Ireland after the Gold Rush (1848) and in time for the great 1906 Earthquake.

A wee lass of a gal (according to her colorful legendary account) when the earthquake hit-in an Unsinkable Molly Brown wave of bravado- she stood atop a sea of hat boxes that fell from the closet, and rode them like a surfboard.

After the quake, the mere slip of a girl went from room to room  in the boarding house and rescued each of the elderly (in their 20’s and 30’s) borders.

In later years, her tale morphed into an account of her as a Search and Rescue Superstar. And as fate would have it, she was wearing a red jumper with a yellow star when the quake hit- a self-appointed superstar heroine.

The women in the boarding house adored my great-grandmother and lavished thanks and gifts upon her.

For many years, the girls reunited at Tadich Grill. One by one, the boarding house gals married and moved away and their reunions were less frequent.

In 1966, on the 60th anniversary the Quake, there was a large celebration. The Fairmont Hotel opened its door to celebrate in 1906 survivors. My great- grandmother organized a pre-party at the Mark Hopkins – our family attended-in full force-all of us wore red shirts with yellow super star emblazoned on the front.

Always the life of the party, with her indomitable Irish spirit and love of storytelling, she recounted the event of 1906 and peppered her presentation with her classic phrases: “Dang be nab it!” “Bless and save us!” “Jesus Mary Joseph!”   “And, wouldn’t ye know…” “Tra la la la.” 

All of this, having grown up hearing these phrases have, Tra la la, incorporated them into our daily conversations, dang be nab it!


“Here’s to me, and here’s to you. And here’s to love and laughter. I’ll be true as long as you. And not one moment after.”

“There are only two kinds of people in the world, The Irish and those who wish they were.”




This entry was posted in 39 forever, Relationship, San Francisco, single in Marin, Wordpress Reader and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A grandmother’s Tales of the City

  1. Roos Ruse says:

    I nominated your blog for the Spirit Animal Blog Award. Here’s a quick link for details: https://roosruse.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/spirit-animal-blog-award/ Síocháin.

  2. Pl says:

    Reblogged this on Suddenly Single in Marin and commented:

    Sweet Memories of one hot, historical, Grandmother

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