Thursday, September 18, 2008

My City Was Gone

My cousin Becky, who lives in Dallas and vacations in Galveston every summer just wrote an excellent blog about post-Hurricane Ike Galveston, wondering if the character of the town she loves will be lost forever.

This made me think of Santa Cruz, where I lived from 1984 to 1991. I moved away very briefly in 1989, and while I was away, the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck, 7.1 on the Richter scale and epicentered in nearby San Francisco.

Someday I will try to describe the my main Santa Cruz hang-out to you, the Pacific Garden Mall. More than a mall, it was a cultural center, open-air, tree-shaded, full of quaint shops, cafes and beer gardens, peopled by musicians, performers, hippies, street people, apocalyptic evangelists, surfers, punks, etc. I knew it like the back of my hand.
It looked something like this (picture me behind that guitar):

But when I got back from Seattle, here is what I found:

It was so disorienting. I'll try to find more pics of before and after. They did finally rebuild, but it was different. Nice, but different. And it took YEARS!

Like any other street in any other town. *yawn*


beachcomber said...

Santa Cruz is still my hometown though I'm approaching a milestone where I will have been gone as long as I lived there. Very heartbreaking. I grew up there when Pacific Avenue was, get this, two way! Then they created the Pacific Garden Mall. We were there shortly after Loma Prieta to visit my family and a few times since. It just isn't the same, is it? My family has even left for greener pastures. It's funny how Humboldt feels so much like SC used to. Home away from home for me.

Indie said...

Yes, I went back this past spring and felt nothing at all about the mall. It was any other mall. Bookshop Santa Cruz is just a hole in the ground, still!

On the other hand, the Boardwalk, which I had eschewed as too touristy back in the '80s was suddenly charming to me.