Letters to the editor

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday June 21, 2023
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Letters to the editor

Remembering SOMA of the early 1980s

I moved to SF back in 1982 after graduating from college. I had taken a job with a financial firm, and as soon as I was settled, I went to the Castro. This was when the "Castro Clone" look was in full swing. And for a 21-year-old closeted gay man, I was in heaven.

I soon discovered the leather scene in the South of Market neighborhood, and I went all out. FeBe's, The Ambush, The Slot, the Handball Express, Folsom Hotel, The Eagle, as well as cruising at "Hibernia Beach" on 18th Street in the Castro.

It truly was a great time for me, but that's when the AIDS epidemic was starting as well, and unfortunately, I lost many friends, including my first boyfriend. Somehow I survived, and lived to tell the tale.

Those wonderful, carefree days are long gone, and occasionally in my mind's eye those ghosts from the past appear like the fleeting fog that creeps over the San Francisco hills in the late afternoon.

The reason for this convoluted email was the article that was done on the old Ambush Bar (https://www.ebar.com/story.php?ch=bartab&sc=nightlife&id=143109).

I'd go up to the restaurant on the second floor and have a bowl of delicious Bill's Beans, then head up to the third floor and buy a couple bottles of the real poppers and some lube just in case.

Now, I'm 62 and trying to figure out just where in the hell those years went to. And it truly breaks my heart to see what has become of my once beautiful and vibrant city.

I moved away back in 2005, and it was really difficult to do so. And a lot of my friends have either moved away as well, or have passed.

But seeing that article brought back a flood of bittersweet memories. Thanks

Dave Hanson

Peoria, Illinois

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