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SAN FRANCISCO CABLE CAR #516

In 1968 Bill and Lora Stephenson traveled from Winterset, Iowa, to Sacramento, California, to visit us -- their son and daughter-in-law, Cliff and Norma Stephenson -- and to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. We looked for places to go and things to do, and one of those ideas was to go to San Francisco for an afternoon and evening. After Dad saw the cable cars, he wanted to ride on every one that was operating. AND we did with much glee and laughter.

Fast forward a couple of years. Norma's eldest brother and his wife, Derwin and Elizabeth Myhr, stopped in Sacramento on the way from their home on Orcus Island, Washington, to visit a son in the Los Angeles area. They agreed that a short trip to San Francisco would give them a chance to see "The City By The Bay." While going through the gift shops, Elizabeth bought a deck of cards with a San Francisco scene to send to Mom Myhr in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Hit the fast forward again. This time many years have elapsed. Cliff and Norma came back from California to Clear Lake to celebrate Mom Myhr's 100th birthday.

While we were sitting in Mom's apartment she tossed a deck of cards on the table and said to Cliff, "I got these years ago from Elizabeth. See if you can win a game of solitaire." I don't remember if I won or not because the discovery I made completely astounded me. The photo on the back of each card was a picture of San Francisco’s cable car #516 with people hanging on the sides. I stared at the scene and even used a magnifying glass. I was looking at myself (in the cowboy hat) and Norma (in her cool weather coat) supporting Mother, and my daughter Karen had her face pressed against the window. My dad, son and eldest daughter were not caught in this picture. Mom Myhr gave me that deck of cards to keep.

About six years later I was shopping at a used goods store in Clear Lake and saw a pen and ink drawing of this very same picture. What a great buy for 50 cents! The drawing now hangs on my fireplace wall along with a card from the deck.

Cliff and Norma Stephenson - Clear Lake, Iowa

Bruce Sanford would really like to see cable car #516 resurrected so he could take his bride, Karen, for a ride on their 30th wedding anniversary. Oh, by the way, Cliff would take his bride, Norma, for a ride to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. What a thrill!!!

- Cliff
Note: Many thanks to Bruce Sanford of Raymond, Maine, who married Karen -- the girl with her face pressed against the cable car window -- ten years after the picture was snapped. His letter (about the deck of cards) to a San Francisco newspaper caught my attention. Bruce put me in touch with the Stephensons who graciously filled in some blanks and provided the photo. You can find some history of San Francisco cable cars and other info links at http://www.streetcar.org/mim/cable/index.html
- Jane Allen
A LOVE STORY FROM THE DIVINE PLAN
I was living in Santa Monica, California, in 1963 and in 1967 flew back to Caracas, Venezuela, my homeland, for vacation. I met lots of young guys and a cousin who was so warm and handsome. Summer vacation was over, and I was 15 years old, and he was 17. We wrote back and forth for a year, and then I never heard of him again. I married and divorced and in 1995 left with my two children for Europe, living in Germany and France. While in Paris I received an email from an unknown address and suddenly realized that it was from my cousin. What a surprise after 35 years to have that pop up on the screen!
What happened: he was suddenly confronted -- as he listened to music from the 60's, especially “California Dreaming” -- by my image appearing in front of him several times and his heart went into high beating. He found my email address and wrote, not knowing where I was. Our correspondence began, and six months later he asked the Universe whether or not to visit me in Paris, and he asked for two signs. He got up early the next morning and on the TV saw two images: first, a pub in Paris and Charles De Gaulle airport with a woman going up the stairs and “California Dreaming” playing in the background; the second image was the Eiffel Tower. He got dressed and went off to a tourist agency to buy an airplane ticket and was in Paris the next day.
Since then the falcon bird continues to appear in the sky as we walk along the path of co-creating a loving partnership with its departure and returns... Caracas-Paris, Paris-Caracas....
- Teresa

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