Some backstories - Flight A (start at top)
Editor's note: Tom lives beside the steps. His gift of the dragonfly element was one of the first to give impetus to funding the Hidden Garden Steps.
This is Tom Hall's family. On the dragonfly's body are the names of his parents. On the wings, his sisters and brother, their spouses and children. On the tail are the children's spouses and their children (i.e., in-laws and children comprising the third generation). The family is still growing; two infants have been born since the tiles were finished.(A2-7)
"My husband and I live in the neighborhood, and I especially enjoy walking the steps. We moved into the neighborhood when the first set of stairs were being tiled. Both stair cases are a welcome addition to stair walking. The name Alkatoush means two things to us. First off it's a mash up of both of our names in Russian. My husband Alex and Katousha, the diminutive of Kathryn. The name Alkatoush is also the name of our former 22-foot sailboat. As we no longer have the boat, it seemed fitting to remember the boat by having its name on the tile."
"This is our family name. Our two kids Avery and Cooper were born and growing up in the Inner Sunset neighborhood. What is your connection to the steps? We love them because they add to our already beautiful neighborhood. We're hoping that our kids can enjoy the steps and the view for years to come."
"The Godfreys are dear friends of mine who have lived in the neighborhood for over 60 years. I got involved because I sponsored a tile on the first project (16/moraga) & have enjoyed meeting u all & helping with clean ups (as well as donating some plants from my yard...)."
"As her mom, I grew up in the Sunset. She was only 1 when we knew we wanted to dedicate this tile to her. This is her stamp in this city we love. As a matter of fact - she now has a sister who will be incredibly jealous she doesn't have a tile...do you have future stair tile projects that will allow for us to donate?" (A4)
Editor's Note: Yes, probably. Efforts are underway, but too early to say when or where.
"Our tile is dedicated to my mother and step-father. My mom was a third generation San Franciscan (who lived for a time on 10th Ave before she moved to 38th Ave) and my step-father was an immigrant from Mexico who lived in SF. Actually, when my daughter was born, we were a ‘five-generation-family’ in SF! Although I now live in Dublin, CA, we often come into the city My brother was visiting from Virginia, and he, our sister and I were out hiking, and the Moraga tiled steps were a destination. Someone there gave us a Hidden Garden Steps brochure. Right on the steps we decided to donate a tile for our parents. In fact, someone took a photo of my sister and I sitting by our tile which for some time I used on my Facebook page. The steps merge the city that I love with the history of my family." (A5)
John & Louise Wentzel acquired Aladdin Radio in 1946 when it was in West Portal. They bought a place on Irving Street in 1950, lived upstairs from the shop, and raised two boys there. As technology moved onward, John stayed with vacuum tubes. Louise died a few years ago in her nineties, but John still lives there.
"We put our two cats in kitty heaven on the tiles. We live in the neighborhood and love to contribute to amazing people who are doing amazing things to make the Inner Sunset even better! I was there last week and was amazed by the crowd at the steps. It is quite the hot spot!"
"They are the names and birth-dates of our two grandchildren. As they live in Texas, we want to link them to the neighborhood where their mother grew up. We have lived on 16th avenue since before our children were born. Our granddaughter Maya spent her first Christmas in San Francisco, and her family walked on the (then) brand new Moraga steps. Our grandson Zac and Maya both went up and down both sets of tiled steps multiple times when they visited San Francisco this past summer." (A6 & A8)
"We live in the neighborhood and have been in a committed relationship for some 6 years (we are both in our 70s) - although I (Bill) still live in Minnesota half of the time. We love to exercise by climbing up to the top of Grand View Mountain (we also call it Turtle Mountain). We love the idea of beautifying the neighborhood with projects like the tiles on the Hidden Garden Steps so were happy to make a donation. The results were stunning. It's what makes San Francisco unique!"
"We are five women who meet for an hour on the third Thursday of the month at 7 AM in the morning (hence we’ve been dubbed the Early Christians). Although we met each other at St. John of God church (on the corner of Irving and 5th Ave), each is on a unique journey to find meaning in life and to make the world a better place. Our discussions start with readings from the Bible and from Buddhist writers, followed by silent meditation. From there, the discussion goes wherever our spirits take us. The tile on the steps reminds us to keep searching, living the questions and not the answers."
"PJ and Adam Abrinko are the two young sons of Monika Eckfield and Paul Abrinko, who met and fell in love in the Inner Sunset neighborhood and live near the Hidden Garden Steps. Paul and Monika often took walks up the tiled stairs at Moraga and 16th Avenue. After they married and started a family they brought their two sons, Paul Joubert "PJ" and Adam to the Moraga steps to practice crawling up and down, pointing to the animals, flowers, and letters they found. When Monika and Paul learned about the Hidden Garden Steps project, they knew they wanted to be a part of it by adding PJ and Adam's names to the steps so they'll always be a part of the neighborhood where their parents fell in love and where they spent their childhood." (A7)
"I was born and raised on 16th Ave. I wanted to be part of the beautiful Hidden Garden Steps project because I walked the steps 1000 times, at least, to visit my best friend!"
"The tile that reads Dolly and Curly...that is my mom and dad ..my family grew up in the Sunset..18th and Taraval and I have not told them I have done this..they will love this memory..if you happen to find where Dolly and Curly are residing on the steps..would you mind letting me know?...i have not visited them yet..thanks so much and take care."
"it was so exciting to see the tile ..i love it..Dolly and Curly have passed away ..but their names will always be a part of San Francisco..a city we all love..thank you"
"sent your website and info to my family ...they are so excited and thrilled by the Beauty of the stairs and the memorial tile of our parents and grandparents ...thank you from the bottom of my heart❤️" (A8)
"Jim (John Wentzel's younger son) and his wife Carol live just below the steps on 16th Avenue. While Jim is likely to be found tinkering in the garage, Carol is probably tending to their garden. They try to eat homegrown fruits and veggies as much as possible. Carol is a retired nurse, Jim is a retired maintenance mechanic. Their daughter and granddaughter live in Marin County."
"The tiles celebrate my children and grandchildren. Michael and Dan are my two sons. Michael and his wife Moira have two sons: Tyler and Cody, my two grandsons. Dan and his wife Hannah have two daughters: Samantha and Ariela, my two granddaughters."
(A9 & A10)
"This tile represents the mother and daughter pair, Liz and Jill Pixley. Liz lives in Denver and is a retired high school advisor and special education teacher. Jill lives in SF, is a personal trainer at UCSF and is working toward licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Her fabulous personal training client, Liz McLoughlin, told her the story of the Hidden Garden Steps and she was immediately hooked!"