Civilian Memories: 1980s to the Present

Posted: José Ramos
E-mail address: cobornforaa@yahoom
Year(s): 2006
Age at the time: 34
Did not live on the post
Was a civilian

Most vivid Presidio Memories: It was fantastic and I enjoyed the weather that surrounds the Presidio. I loved the view in every angle.

Humorous memories: We went on a field trip with Kipp San Antonio, Texas, it was so much fun to give some of our most precious time to a good cause. I personally loved the place there and the warmth of the atmosphere.

Other Memories: The beaches and the Golden Bridge that accompanies the Presidio.


Posted:23-Oct-08
Contributed by: James Bond Perleth
e-mail address: jamesperlieth@yahoo.com
Year(s): 1992
Age at the time: 53
Civilian: GS-13, Commissary Officer

Most vivid Presidio Memories: The overall beauty of the installation. Standing on the rear receiving dock of the Commissary looking at the Golden Gate Bridge and seeing the top of it peak up thru the fog. No matter how blue one felt the beauty of that moment raised the spirits.

Other Memories: Trying to drive off the installation in the massive traffic jam after the July 4th fireworks.




Posted: 26-Oct-08
Contributed by: Phillip D. Saam
e-mail address: philsaam@sbcglobal.net
Year(s): 1991
Age at the time: 37
Civilian

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Visiting the officers attached to General Harrison’s command HQ-Major Hibbert-Col. Litney-Provost Marshall Maj. Lafey-Sgt. Harrell-who invited me to bible studies.

Humorous memories: Allowed to interact with all personnel--esp the military police and giving them my respect and offering to volunteer time to any activity serving the needs of the Presidio.

Other Memories: I remember being assigned responsibility for putting all personnel in order and controlling the start and running of the military parade tribute to the success of Desert Storm.




Posted: 14-Aug-08
Contributed by: Janet Kazmierczak Dickinson
e-mail address: jkdickinson@charter.net
Year(s): 1978-1981
Age at the time: 12-15
Lived on the Presidio: 1328 A Kobbe Ave
Civilian: Army Dependent

Most vivid Presidio Memories: My Father was a Lieutenant Commander stationed at the Presidio, working at LAMC. I have many wonderful memories of living on the Presidio. We lived in a beautiful house on Kobbe Ave and My brothers and I loved the two staircases going from the first floor to the second floor. We spent many hours playing basketball with our friends in the alley behind our house. We also had fun walking through the Post cemetery on our way to the post theatre on the weekends to see a movie. My best friend and I strung a piece of yarn from the second story porch railing from my house to hers (1326 and 1328 Kobbe Ave) and attached a Secrets box. We would put notes in the box and send it back and forth between our houses. We would walk up Kobbe Ave to the beach. To this day whenever I smell eucalyptus it reminds me of the many Eucalyptus trees on the Presidio, their scent would fill the air. My most favorite memory of all is falling asleep in my attic bedroom, as the fog “rolled in” and the fog horn on the Golden Gate Bridge blew its warning.


Posted: 01-Feb-08
Contributed by: Delmy Jaghab
Your e-mail address: ddjaghab@comcast.net
Years: 1994-1996
Age at the time: 23
Lived on the Presidio at: 524 D Compton Road
Civilian: Spouse My husband was station to the recruiting command.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: For me the best memory was having my first baby in 1995. My husband traveled all of the time, and it was great taking walks in such beautiful place with my baby girl. I always tell her that she is my California girl.

Other Memories: Working down town, and eating the great food every where we went.





Posted: 31-Dec-07
Contributed by: Bede Ryan
Your e-mail address: Bedehockeymom@aol.com
Years: 1991-1993
Age at the time: 35-37
Lived on the Presidio at: 1304-A Kobbe Avenue, Ft. Scott
Civilian: My husband was stationed at (LAIR) Letterman Army Institute of Research.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Despite my husband having had the luxury of being a (single) Orthopedic surgical resident, in the 1970's, and thus having his own personal memories ... I, too, have many wonderful memories of living on the Presidio; as an army spouse. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to have lived on the Presidio, (however short our stay) during our numerous/various military moves. Of the many wonderful memories however, just driving thru post - each and everyday - after taking our boys to and from school (St. Vincent de Paul and Cathedral School for Boys), I felt like I was "coming home". Also, like many others have stated previously, the Presidio SF was (by far) the very best assignment one could be granted. When we got the assignment (after my husband just returned from Desert Storm), I felt as if we were being rewarded.

Humorous memories: One of my first humorous memories of moving to SF was when we first arrived on post (with three young boys aged 5,3, and infant). We were living in temporary quarters, at Ft. Baker, and because our household goods were still in storage ... awaiting housing ... we had to borrow a play pen/crib from the "lending closet". However, when we opened the crib, a mouse jumped out. Needless to say, the two older boys thought having their own personal mouse was, very cool.

Other Memories: Finding favorite local restaurants, movie theaters, and just being able to live in the city, while at the same time, having the luxury (and safety) of living in a beautiful park ... with an awesome view. Of, course, with this privilege, came work: Of all the military assignments, the Presidio, SF brought the most "guests", but I would trade the small "cons" for the numerous "pros", in a New York minute!




Posted: 04-Dec-07
Contributed by: Julie Ryan
E-mail address: jryan61@yahoo.com
What year: 1981
Age at the time: 19
Civilian: A dependant. My father was Joseph W. Ryan. We didn’t live on the post.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Letterman Hospitalmy son was born Feb. 11 1981 the medical staff were wonderful.

Humorous memories: Trying to find a parking place.

Other Memories: I used to go (on base) with my dad when I was a young child on Saturdays. He was a retired Navy man and very proud to have privileges. He shared many stories from his 20yr. career in the Navy.




Posted: 01-Jul-07
Email address: creedjema@hotmail.com
Year(s): 1997-1999
Age at the time: 6-8
Lived on the Presidio at: 1295A Story Ave.
Military or civilian status: Son of serviceman.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: My dad used to take me hiking in the woods in the Presidio. I remember climbing on these little worn down sheds and they were hidden under hills in the woods and my dad told me that it was where army people had hid during war times. I always thought it was so cool to jump inside them and walk around. I remember looking around and everything looked so old and dusty and the walls were all wearing down with age. I just tried to imagine what it was like when it was in actual use, if people really tried to hide there and how scared they might have been. It felt like I was walking back into history.

Humorous memories: The Presidio was filled (or still is?) with raccoons and skunks. One time at night my family and I came home from the movies. I was about to get out of the car but there was a skunk standing right outside my car door and I screamed, the skunk must've gotten scared cause it sprayed the car with its stink smell. Weeks later we sold the car.

Other Memories: I always thought my house was haunted. At night my family thought we could hear a cabinet crashing to the floor. By the time my parents went downstairs the noise stopped and nothing was moved or broken. There were also times when someone in our family would walk past the fire place and swear we heard someone giggling from inside but it was impossible because when we moved into the house the fireplace had been cemented over with bricks.




Posted: 04-Jan-07
Contributed By: Peg Lawson
Email address: lawsonjpmj@juno.com
Year(s):1997 - 2000
Age at the time: 43 - 46
Lived on the Presidio at: 339 Infantry Terrace
Civilian: I was the spouse of an active duty soldier, who worked at Ft. Baker with a reserve unit.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: We were the last military family to live in our set of quarters as all the housing was gradually being turned over to the NPS. It is the biggest and nicest house we have ever lived in, 3 stories and a basement. By then the only military facilities left operating on post were the commissary and the PX, the bowling alley (my son's first job), and the post chapel was still holding services. The hospital had already been closed down but still standing, and the Officer's Club was closed but we'd peek through the windows and see lots of furniture. Many of the buildings that housed various family activities were vacant. I remember feeling sad that we didn't live there earlier when it was an active post. We (my neighbors) all knew what a special place this had been. We respected the history and were very protective. We did not regard gawking "strangers" very highly! I have to mention the calla lilies that grew wild throughout post, beautiful.

Humorous memories: My son occupied the third floor and his bathroom window had an excellent and very clear (but narrow) view of the bay, due to a break in the trees. We always joked that we would sneak out in the middle of the night to chop down enough trees to give us a better view! Plus, just months before everyone on Infantry Terrace had to leave, a crew came in to re-do our kitchens, a job that had to be completed before the turnover because of a contract. So we got gorgeous kitchens for about 2 months. No telling how long all our homes remained vacant, maybe they still are. Also, the attic on the third floor smelled like chocolate to me - it must have been the wood.

Other Memories: I got my dog from the Marin animal shelter in 1998, and I took her to Crissy Field on the beach nearly every day to run with the other dogs since it was a designated dog play area. That was a highlight of my time there, to experience the view walking down the hill to the beach, and meeting so many nice dog owners, and listening to the foghorn under the bridge. My daughter graduated from Wallenburg HS while we were there, and my son went to Marina Middle and then on to Washington HS. They also have fond memories of the Presidio and SF.


Posted: 26-Dec-06
Contributed By: Jack A. Hershel
Email address: DPresidio@aol.com
Year(s): 12/91
- 10/92
Age at the time: 44
CIVILIAN: Civilian employee at Letterman Hospital + retired MSgt, USAF

Most vivid Presidio Memories: The view of the Golden Gate Bridge every day I went to work. The smell of the ocean and the trees at the Presidio. The people I work with at Information Management Division at Letterman. Walking up and down the beach near Crissy Field.

Other Memories: Walking down to the beach with Capt. Wren and his family to watch the ships come in during fleet week and seeing the Blue Angels show. Looking at the Golden Gate Bridge while eating a hamburger at Burger King.


Posted: 29-Nov-04
Year(s): 1980-1982
Age at the time: 25
Lived on the post
Connection with the Presidio: My husband was in the Military

Most vivid Presidio Memories: My memories most of all are after I married my husband and he was transferred to the Presidio. His rank was an E5. My home was used as a home for every soldier in my husband's unit that was away from home. I would cook for everyone and I truly appreciated my husbands peers, they enjoyed my meals. I would cook 3 times a week and everyone was welcome. I enjoyed them enjoying my meals. I miss all that I have grown to love and appreciate. There was two marriages ceremonies held in my home. This was my first experience in housing and I must admit I enjoyed every minute at the Presidio.


Posted: 17-Jan-05
Contributed by: Prof. K. Douglas Cook
Year(s): 1980 - 1982
Age at the time: 35
Lived off the post
Was a DoD Civilian serving as Chief of Command Information (Public Affairs)

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Having been reassigned from Fort Bragg, the rather slow pace of the post was, at first, unnerving. One of my responsibilities was to publish the "Star Presidian," the post newspaper, located in building 37. I remember several major events to include: the reunion of the 442 Infantry Regiment (All Japanese) from World War II; the almost weekly shooting of commercials and motion pictures on the post; the semi-annual parade of Hari Krishna followers who would walk through post dressed in yellow robes to spread feelings of peace; the fact that the Soldiers who worked for me mostly lived in the old barracks on the hill in what were formerly horse stables on the bottom floor; a former Secretary of Defense calling the post commander and chewing him out for having trees pruned at the edge of the golf course, thus ruining the view of residents who lived across the street; and the absolutely marvelous food served at the Officer's Club!

Humorous memories: There was a civilian who worked in the Finance and Accounting office who always wore a tuxedo to work each day. The "argument" between the Army and the Navy when an old WWII mine would float up to the surface after all the years. If it stayed in the water, it was the Navy's job to take care of it. If it came to shore, it became our job. We sincerely believed the Navy would run their craft back and forth, using the wake of their craft to push the mine ashore on Baker Beach! The very real rumor that the post museum, formerly the old post hospital, was so haunted that no one would dare stay in there after dark by themselves. Finally, the waiter named Charlie at the Officer's Club who'd been there for 30 plus years in the same job and, if you ordered something he didn't like, he'd say, "You can't have that!" It did no good to argue with him. A great character.

Other Memories: While I was intent on getting reassigned to a post with more activity, I was also honored to serve under Lt. Gen. David Grange, now retired, who was the Commanding General of the Sixth U.S. Army and had his headquarters on main post. One of the finest Rangers to wear three stars and "Lead The Way!"


Posted: 05-May-05
Contributed by: Ellen Crosby Greene
E-mail address: ellenrc@yahoo.com
Year(s): 1984-85
Age at the time: 25
Connection with the Presidio: was a Navy wife who was patient at Letterman Army Hospital

Most vivid Presidio Memories: My former husband was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy. I badly needed surgery and we were stationed at Pt. Sur, which had only one corpsman for medical treatment. I had my surgery at Letterman, and unfortunately, developed a life-threatening wound infection. I stayed in the hospital from July through the end of October in 1984 under the care of some of the most wonderful doctors I have ever encountered. Dr. David Cryns was primarily responsible for my recovery. I spent many of my nights and days in that hospital looking out the window in the visitors lounge at beautiful San Francisco Bay. I had to return in March of 1985 for reconstructive surgery. I met many wonderful people in that hospital and will never forget them.


Posted: 03-Jan-05
Year(s):
1984-1987
Age at the time: 5-8
Lived on the post on: Kobbe Avenue
Was a family member of active duty military
Connection with the Presidio: My dad was stationed there. I lived there for 3 years.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: People in the Presidio had interesting appetites; I remember at one of my friends' houses being treated to "blueberry milk" which we were to stir with a banana while eating sugar cookies! My brothers and sisters and I would play in the little playground across from our home on Kobbe Avenue. There was an old dried up fountain my sister and I would plan our futures by. I remember most vividly the wild plants near an old greenhouse. There was wild aniseed growing near "blackberry hill" (a little mound of dirt covered in blackberry vines) that we would snack on all day long. Wild honeysuckle and "pickle plants" grew there as well. "Pickle plants" were small green herbs that we would eat. I don't know the official name for them. The most exciting place to lay and think was also in our play area, of course. I would always climb the "cherry tree" from which someone had attached a swing that reached far out over a grove of bay leaves when the wind was on my side. Oh, Presidio will always be a magical place to me. It is full of eucalyptus from another part of the world along with people from another part of the world. My innocence, creativity, and dreams will always be linked to Presidio, my special, secret place.

Humorous memories: There was a dense group of trees we thought was the forest; we would lay booby traps for our older brothers in their "tree forts". When I would walk down to the post store from my home on Kobbe Avenue, I always thought the long painted letters of STOP on the road were some form of art or hopscotch; imagine how silly I felt when someone explained to me about the letters. Because my birthday is near Christmas, I never was allowed to have a birthday party with my friends. As a consolation, my family arranged a "Valentine's party" for me one year. I remember being on the balcony with all my friends listening to them talk about how cute and cool my brothers both were and about how cool Whitney Houston was. My birthday party was extremely successful, and it became the best matchmaking party I ever went to in elementary school :).

Other Memories: I remember buying a red plastic strawberry shortcake umbrella from my friend at a yard sale. I fell in love with windsocks after watching the bright orange windsock blowing so bravely in the wind on the main base. All of the neighborhood kids and I went to John Swett Alternative School and had millions of adventures including; publishing a nature guide illustrated by the "gifted and talented" art classes and a student teaching intern, meeting a Filipino dignitary, meeting the puppeteers of "Labyrinth", and dancing.


Posted: 7/9/04
Contributed by: Marie Romero
Year(s): around 1984-1987
Age at the time: mid 20's
Lived on the post at: Pershing Drive
Was a civilian with husband was in the military

Your most vivid Presidio Memories:
The incredible views...Golden Gate and Baker Beach. All the crab feeds from a few hours of fun at Fort Point.

Humorous memories:
All of my failed attempts at keeping the hardwood floors from being scratched.

Other Memories:
I went back to Presidio today (6/23/04). It brought back lots of great memories. I'll never forget my time spent on Pershing Drive...the friends I made and the views that are permanently imprinted on my mind.


Posted: 03-Jan-05
Year(s): 1984-1987
Age at the time: 5-8
Lived on the post on Kobbe Avenue
Was a family member of active duty military

Most vivid Presidio Memories: People in Presidio had interesting appetites; I remember at one of my friends' houses being treated to "blueberry milk" which we were to stir with a banana while eating sugar cookies! My brothers and sisters and I would play in the little playground across from our home on Kobbe Avenue. There was an old dried up fountain my sister and I would plan our futures by. I remember most vividly the wild plants near an old greenhouse. There was wild aniseed growing near "blackberry hill" (a little mound of dirt covered in blackberry vines) that we would snack on all day long. Wild honeysuckle and "pickle plants" grew there as well. "Pickle plants" were small green herbs that we would eat. I don't know the official name for them. The most exciting place to lay and think was also in our play area, of course. I would always climb the "cherry tree" from which someone had attached a swing that reached far out over a grove of bay leaves when the wind was on my side. Oh, Presidio will always be a magical place to me. It is full of eucalyptus from another part of the world along with people from another part of the world. My innocence, creativity, and dreams will always be linked to Presidio, my special, secret place.

Humorous memories: There was a dense group of trees we thought was the forest; we would lay booby traps for our older brothers in their "tree forts." When I would walk down to the post store from my home on Kobbe Avenue, I always thought the long painted letters of STOP on the road were some form of art or hopscotch; imagine how silly I felt when someone explained to me about the letters. Because my birthday is near Christmas, I never was allowed to have a birthday party with my friends. As a consolation, my family arranged a "Valentine's party" for me one year. I remember being on the balcony with all my friends listening to them talk about how cute and cool my brothers both were and about how cool Whitney Houston was. My birthday party was extremely successful, and it became the best matchmaking party I ever went to in elementary school.

Other Memories: I remember buying a red plastic strawberry shortcake umbrella from my friend at a yard sale. I fell in love with windsocks after watching the bright orange windsock blowing so bravely in the wind on the main base. All of the neighborhood kids and I went to John Swett Alternative School and had millions of adventures including; publishing a nature guide illustrated by the "gifted and talented" art classes and a student teaching intern, meeting a Filipino dignitary, meeting the puppeteers of "Labyrinth", and dancing.


Posted: 18-Apr-05
Contributed by: Dana
E-mail address: queenie_911@hotmail.com
Year(s): 1984 - 1992
Age at the time: 4 - 12
Lived on the post at 863-D Wallen Ct.
Was a child of a soldier with a rank of E6

Most vivid Presidio Memories: I remember going behind my house hiking into the woods with my dad and brother. We loved it back there. I also remember going down to the end of McArthur Ave. and playing at the park there, and we would go to the circle where the well was and a tree that had a huge slit in it I can recall the kids in the neighborhood making up stories of the tree and why it was split, some say it was like a Venus Fly trap but for kids :) The kids also used to climb the big grass hill from Portola St. down to McArthur and slide down on cardboard. SO MUCH FUN!!

Other Memories: My dad worked at Letterman and we were there for the closing of the base. We loved it there. How many families get to spend as much time I we did there? I remember going to the 4th floor of Letterman and hanging out with my dad before he got off of work! I miss all of it, who wouldn't!! I really miss the museum of fine arts what a wonderful place to go and learn. Who knew learning would be so much fun. I wish I could take my kids to a place like that. One day I'll go back and visit. I wonder what they did with the housing all the time.


Posted: 03-May-05
Contributed by: Will
E-mail address: wajari24@hotmail.com
Year(s): 1985-1988
Age at the time: 12-15
Lived on the post on Washington Blvd. (East)
Was a dependant of a someone in the military

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Like everyone else who has ever lived there, I remember my years on the Presidio with incredible fondness and nostalgia... I was part of a late 80's teenage Presidio kid culture. We all had friends from school and elsewhere, most of them from the Marina district... we all meshed into one big crowd. I've been away for years and it still feels like home.

I had a huge crush on one of our crowd that I didn't pursue or act on, and regretted it for years. For some reason I held back, still not really sure why.

Last year we found each other through the Internet. We are engaged to be married in 2006. We've found a lot of our old comrades, resumed old friendships. It's a beautiful, wonderful life. So my Presidio memories... telling old stories, living old memories and now, after all these years, making new ones. Life is such a trip.

Other Memories: We lived off of Washington Blvd. East. Behind our houses were the most amazing woods... we used to spend hours and hours back there... exploring, wandering, imagining. The place really is magical... there's just no other word for it. It's amazing to me that to this day all of my old friends from those days... all of them, feel the same way I do. There's just something about the Presidio that makes it like no other place on Earth.


Posted: 12-Dec-04
Contributed by: Karen Knight
E-mail address: kknight1964@yahoo.com
Year(s): 1986-1990
Age at the time: Early 20's
Lived on the post at 1515c Pershing then 857a Mac Arthur
Was an Army wife with small children

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Beautiful views everyday
Roasting marshmallows at night on Baker Beach
The fog horns at night
4th of July fireworks at Crissy Field
The birth of my son @ LAMC 18 yrs ago
The earthquake: I was in the PX at the time. Very scary! Everyone came together after the quake, all families waited in lines at the mess hall for meals that weekend due to no gas, power, or clean water. Presidio also housed all of the homeless civilians after the quake in old barracks near the parade grounds.
I remember when the new commissary and the Burger King were built, what a view from the inside of the Burger King!

Other Memories: My kids safely played at the park at the circle end of MacArthur Ave. We have always missed living there and plan to go back to visit some day.


Posted: 6/12/04
Contributed by:
Carolyne Jackson
E-mail: carolynesjackson@bellsouth.net
Year(s): 1987 - 1993
Age at the time: 25-31
Lived at: Fort Baker
Was a civilian
Connection with the Presidio: worked at Letterman Army Medical Center

Most vivid Presidio Memories: It was the most beautiful military post I have ever seen. I used to love to watch the Blue Angels fly during Fleet Week and I will never forget the people of Presidio, whether they were military or their dependents, or civilian employees.




Posted: 6/12/04
Contributed by:
John Hirst
Year(s): 1989-1992
Age at the time: 24 years old
Lived on the post at: NCO Quarters near Letterman.
Was a Sergeant in the US Army
Connection with the Presidio: Military police.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: The beauty of the area. Fog rolling over from the Baker Beach side to the Bay. The eucalyptus trees. The silent, noble monuments in the veteran's cemetery.

Humorous memories: During flag-raising in the morning the MP station would play over the post loudspeakers reveille and more than once, unfortunately our timing was off for the ending of the song and the roar of the cannon. We'd stand at attention waiting for the cannon to go off hoping that no officers were present but inevitably, the desk sergeant would get a telephone call.

Other Memories: As a member of Presidio Special Reaction Team we used to train late at night moving through the golf course and then practice room-to-room movements deep in the old World War II bunkers. It was surreal at times. Very serene and peaceful at times but here we were practicing for combat. I have very good memories of my time at the Presidio.



Posted: 6/12/04
Year(s):
1990-1992
Age at the time: 11
Lived on the post at: 852B MacArthur Ave.
Was a Army dependant

Most vivid Presidio Memories: The fog rolling over the hills near our house, and the foghorns. I still hear them in my mind. I loved venturing into the wooded hills behind the housing area, and there was a spring near the circle at the end of the road that I loved to visit.

Humorous memories: My youngest sister was born at UCSF during our time at the Presidio. I had another sister just 11 months older than the baby, and I would proudly walk them everywhere in a double stroller. I was just 12, but everyone talked to me and seemed to think they were my children!

Other Memories: My family's time at the Presidio were not the easiest times, but my memories are some of the happiest. I made lifelong friends there, as well as unforgettable memories. I miss riding down Lincoln Bvld., that incredible view of the Golden Gate. It's still so amazing that such a huge bridge, so majestic, can still be completely shrouded in that dense blanket of fog. I hope to see it all again someday...


Posted: 6/12/04
Year(s):
1992-95
Age at the time: 6 when I moved there. 9 when I left.
Lived on the post at: the housing near baker beach.
Dad was in the navy
Connection with the Presidio: Just a military brat.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: I remember just going down to Baker Beach when it was warm outside. Or just going down there to go fishing.

Humorous memories: I remember I had to walk from the housing development to the Burger King near the Exchange. Now that was a far walk. Haha.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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