She worked at Golden Gate National
Bank, corner of Montgomery and Sutter. My bank.
Laurel was a teller and I did my
banking business with her. She was both personable, and attractive.
We became friendly (very platonic). She was about 25 at the time,
a divorcee with a little boy about 5 years old, Christopher.
She lived on California Street just
a block or so from the Jewish Center where I played basketball
one night a week. On occasion, after working out, I’d phone
and pop in her place to check in, see her and visit Christopher,
who now was a "pal.”
At that time I was a volunteer teacher
one morning a week at a "ghetto" school, Daniel Webster
Grammar. I became close to a few of the kids and frequently on
weekends we would get together for outings. Chris, although much
younger than the others, would sometimes hang out with us.
As the years flew by, I lost personal
contact with Chris. I
saw Laurel once in a while. She gave me updates: Chris became
a UPS driver, Chris coached a high school basketball team, and
Chris got married!
About 10 years ago Laurel came to
my office and asked if I had any connections as she was in need
of a job. My first call was to my friend, Sandy Bakar, who immediately
hired Laurel at her employment agency on Geary just off Grant
Ave., just a hoot and a holler from my office.
Now that Laurel was in the neighborhood,
I would run into her occasionally. This particular day she told
me news of Christopher becoming a father, and excitedly showed
me a picture of her first grandchild. Christopher, a Dad! Laurel
a Grandmother! What can one say when a proud Grandma shows you
a picture of her new born grandchild? "Oh boy, he's cute."
or something like that?
Here's where the story gets interesting.
Laurel said that she had never met my wife, and do I have a picture
I pulled a photo packet out of my
suit pocket and showed her the picture of a very, very huge woman
sitting on a bench in front of the Aquarium at Pier 39. Right
over her head was a painting of a giant whale, his nose "touching"
this woman's head.
Laurel starred at the photo. She
stared and stared, didn't lift her eyes, just starred. After a
minute of so, I could no longer keep a straight face, and in fact
broke out in uncontrollable laughter.
She'll never forget or forgive. And
we are still good friends.