09.30.14

Billy and the Beer Bottle

This was mother’s favorite story, and she told it to anyone who would listen:  

Right after medical school, Dad was shipped to the Marine Hospital in San Francisco to begin his residency. He was not at home when I was born in September, but Mother and I joined him in San Francisco three months later. We lived on the top floor of a three-story apartment building at 355
15th Avenue. Mom remembered hauling my stroller up and down three flights of stairs to walk me on the street. The building in 1944 and in 2014, below:

 

Mom and Dad were on a tight budget, so limited that they had to share a beer, Rainier Ale. (Rainier Ale still exists, but the company changed hands and the beer no longer tastes good, if it ever did.)

When the beer was finished, they put the empty bottle into my playpen, where according to Mom,
I sucked it dry. (We may have a photo of me hugging the bottle, supporting it with my hands and feet, just like the bear above.) This may have begun my lifelong love of good beer, especially microbrews like Samuel Adams.

Mother said our time in San Francisco was one of the happiest in her life. She had survived the hardships of the great Depression, and her father’s early death at age 59 (she was 16). She had graduated nursing school, married a doctor, and had her first child. Even though WWII was on, it was a new beginning for Ruth. And San Francisco is a beautiful city.

William S. Frank with Rainier Ale—1945