San Francisco dream

My wife, Mary, and I went to kindergarten together in 1964, on 42nd Avenue and Kirkham Street. This is three blocks from Golden Gate Park and seven blocks from the Pacific Ocean. This is the Sunset District of San Francisco and for generations was a middle-class, blue-collar part of the city. Our friends’ parents were city workers, teachers, plumbers and painters. Many of the families in the ’60s and ’70s had parents, grandparents and great-grandparents that grew up in San Francisco and were very proud to say they were from the City. My brothers and I graduated from Sacred Heart High School, which opened in 1876. My graduating class in 1977 was made up of around 190 young men and many of these guys were following the “Sacred Heart Fighting Irish” tradition established by, in some cases, great-great-grandpas prior to the 1906 earthquake. The San Francisco Dream for my generation was to get a job, get married, buy a house and raise our kids in the same neighborhood we happily experienced in our youth. The houses in the Sunset are modest two- and three-bedroom homes with one bathroom on mostly 3,000- to 3,500-square-foot lots and most are two to three inches apart. Mary Porter grew up on 42nd Avenue with awesome foster parents that purchased their home in the late-1950s for $17,000. My folks bought our family home in 1969 for $33,000 and my dad was scared and hesitant on signing for the $28,000 mortgage at the title company. I looked up a house in the 1400 block of 42nd Avenue today for this column and the real estate agent describes the property on Zillow as being located in the “Hyper hip Outer Sunset District” and the 1,300-square-foot house sold in November 2015 for $1,220,000. It is now worth $1,350,000. The San Francisco Dream died in the ’80s and ’90s. Ninety percent of my generation now lives in the suburbs and our kids didn’t continue in the footsteps of our parents and grandparents. This may sound sad but the City isn’t the same city it was back then and although the Sunset District is only a five-minute ride to the Haight Ashbury, my blue-collar friends never considered living in the City a “Hyper Hip” lifestyle. We cheered for the Warriors, Giants and the team of the ’80s, San Francisco 49ers, and we just thought we were cooler than the kids from the burbs. We lived in the fog 10 months per year and experienced our coldest winters in July and August. Mary and I have 14 brothers and sisters and only three still live in the city. Mary’s two foster sisters still live in their late parents’ home and my CPA brother, Greg, bought my parents’ house back in 1992. Those early San Francisco years taught me a lot about real estate and going for your dreams. With the help of a trusted and experienced mortgage professional even the seemingly unattainable just might be possible.