Neighbor Ralph lives a few doors down from me in Precitaville, and he’s been here for a long time. His father bought the house he lives in now back in 1943 with money he made working as a laborer at Fort Mason.
Ralph remembers the years after World War II, when San Francisco’s population swelled with returning soldiers and sailors who decided to stay. Everyone had work, he recalled, particularly at the shipyards.”Hunter’s Point was going 24 hours a day,” he says.
Ralph worked for the SFPD as a policeman. He started on the beat, but then spent most of his career “inside” at the Hall of Justice before retiring.
He pointed to my house. “Sam lived there,” he said. That jogged my memory about the census records from 1940. Sam? Sam Piazza? “Yeah, Sam Piazza.” Ralph knew him.
In Ralph’s earliest memories, Bernal Heights was Italian and Irish. Then he remembers Mexicans and Filipinos moving in, and now Ralph notices that the neighborhood is changing again.
This is Neighbor Ralph’s thumbnail history of the last 45 years of Bernal Heights history:
PHOTO: Neighbor Ralph by Telstar Logistics