Some backstories - Flight F (just below the turn)
This quarter of a passion flower is also a gratitude element, whose other half is on the flight just above the dogleg turn. Again, we are enormously grateful to these organizations who helped create this tiled staircase. We thank: Heath Ceramics; the SF Department of Public Works; Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association (GGHNA); Sunset Heights Association of Responsible People (SHARP); 22nd & Irving Market; SF Supervisor Sean Elsbernd & staff; Inner Sunset Park Neighbors (ISPN); 828 Market (Irving Street); SF Botanical Gardens.
Each in its unique way helped create these steps, and all who climb the steps remember their generosity.
"This Mission Blue butterfly honors my birth family. We are the McLoughlin’s, originally from Brooklyn, NY & Cohasset, MA, although now I live at the top of the steps. My parents Maurice and Lucille & sister Martha, all deceased, are on one wing, surrounded by the four remaining siblings, spouses, families, and the Hornby children and grandchildren. Lucy (living in Beijing China) Hornby’s tile is darker because the artists had to hold off until daughter Myra Mei Peng was born in April, 2013. My nephew Rob Hornby suggested: “To those who went before and to those who will come after”. Food for thought!" (F59-65)
"A big thank-you to the Blodgett-Hall-Whitfield-Richardson families for donating this California Poppy element to the steps. The poppy itself stands out as colorful and substantial yet ephemeral, catching the eye as one looks up at the steps. So does this family, now mostly in California, but starting out on the other coast in Massachusetts. The siblings thank their parents and maternal grandparents for their start in life. Tom, the eldest, lives at the top of the steps, Peg in Briones, Ding in Los Angeles and John in Jerusalem. Spread out in life, they come together on the Hidden Garden Steps."
"I bought my tile because I don't have a close family, except my grandparents back in Minnesota. I miss them terribly, and it's nice to have a little tile in their honor to visit. They loved the gift!"
"We live close by and loved the idea of pitching in to help make this beautiful landmark. These are the names of our two sons, who have hyphenated last names (the S-J stands for Salomon-Jacob). They were in elementary school when the tiles were done. We liked the idea of giving them something to look for – i.e., their names – in the stairs."
"The name is for Kevin Nead and his fiancée Mackenzie. They attended Stanford Medical School together.
Our connection to the steps was that when we came to visit them we stayed in the area around the steps and frequently climbed the steps to sightsee. We also did all the "Steps of San Francisco" from a book we picked up during one visit."
"Also my sister's, but this one has a funny story. The tile is Vladimir RIP and it commemorates my nephew Tom's iguana Vladimir, who drowned in the bathtub on my sister's watch—the old syndrome of grown children leaving their pets to their parents to take care of—and clearly she's felt guilty ever since. I chose the last tile on the lizard's tail for Vladdy."
Editor: The sister in question is the sister of Colette Crutcher, one of the two artists who created the steps. She gave me the backstory.
"My wife and I bought a house in this neighborhood in 1970 when she was eight months plus pregnant with our first daughter. We raised two daughters in the neighborhood and still live in the same house. During the 40+ years we lived here we have watch the neighborhood go through various phases from an offshoot of the Haight Ashbury to the rather upscale neighborhood it is today. Each had certain things that were good and we enjoyed very much. When we heard that the steps were going to be decorated we wanted to be a part of the project. This neighborhood has meant a lot to us and it was nice to have a permanent memorial to us through the steps and its inscription. We chose Burton Meyer Family because in future generations who knows who who will look at it. We could have named each a member of the family but that would sort of exclude grandchildren and great-grandchildren as the steps will long outlast us. Thank you for the opportunity to touch on our thoughts. Burton Sandra Hyla and Marissa." (F67)
"This is our family and we have lived in the neighborhood for nearly all of our son's life! We are an integral part of the neighborhood and it is an integral part of our family!
We moved to San Francisco in 2002 and bought a house in Forest Hill. We love walking in the city. My parents got a tile with our son's name on the Moraga and 16th steps. That project was such a beautiful one and focused a lot of attention on building community. Thus, when we saw that the Hidden Garden Project was underway, we wanted to help make it happen and to have a small imprint on our wonderful neighborhood! Thus, we got ourselves a family tile." (F69)
"This is in memory of a family member who was an active supporter of public projects in San Francisco. Muriel Leff created San Francisco's first mini-park. As a recent Hoodline article mentions, "In 1961 Muriel Leff, a community activist and resident of Inner Richmond, wanted to transform a neglected lot on 7th Avenue behind the Richmond District police station into a neighborhood park. Owned by the city police department and formerly used to stable horses, the small lot had become an eyesore overgrown with weeds, covered with sand and strewn with garbage and abandoned trailers."" http://hoodline.com/2016/04/secretly-awesome-the-muriel-leff-mini-park (F69)
"My wife Janet and I have lived in the Sunset District for more than 25 years and raised our daughter Rebecca (now called Lee) here. I remember seeing the fundraising effort for the Moraga Steps, but never thought it would actually succeed, so did not participate. When the opportunity came to have a tile on the Hidden Garden Steps, we didn't hesitate. The idea of having our names on neighborhood stairs whose beauty will last was irresistible. However, we had a couple too many characters to do "Janet, Marshall and Lee," so instead made it "Janet + Marshall = Lee." In truth, it tells our story better." (F70)
"My sister and I have been traveling around the world together for over 40 years. We sometimes call ourselves the Traveling Sues which is where I got the name to put on the tile. Her birthday is 2 weeks before my birthday and she was going to be 65 and I was going to be 60 on our birthdays in 2012, hence the 65/60. I wanted to give her something more unique for her 65th birthday and I thought a tile would be perfect. ... We tend to travel in the summer because she is a retired teacher and I am still a teacher. Six weeks after I had a hip replacement at the beginning of summer 2011, I felt we should stay in the US and not go overseas just in case there was a problem with my "new" hip. So we spent some time in San Francisco house sitting for a friend. Luckily while driving from San Jose to SF, we heard on a local SF radio station about these hidden steps and searched them out once we got to SF. We found the amazing steps at 16th Avenue and we climbed the steps which was a wonderful accomplishment for me having had surgery 6 weeks prior and I was also moving better than I had for 15+ years. Hooray! As we continued to research the various steps around the city, we found out that y'all were starting this new project. To celebrate our birthdays and honor the fortunate life we have, I got a tile. I think it's such a wonderful project." (F71)
"Hi ! I donated a tile & put my dear wife's name on it with a kiss & hug & kiss & hug because she is such a lovely human being. I love the colors & patterns of the steps. I walk the steps weekday evenings on my way home from work, and on weekend neighborhood walks. The steps make me happy & proud to live in 16th Ave. Thanks to Coleen & Aileen for their artistry, and to the tile guys who laid them down so well, and to everyone who made these steps a reality. Cheers!"
"When I decided to make a donation I put my dog's name on the tile, Gracie Poodle. Why ? We don't walk up and down those steps but we do pass by on our walks as we live on 15th Avenue and Kirkham. The lovely steps just make the walk even more pleasant."
averyfrancisprince is my son’s name. He was born the day after Christmas, 2011. I decided to give my partner Katherine his name on a tile as a Valentine Day present in 2013. My son is almost three now, and I have taken him to see “his” tile several times. I am a manager at Park Chow on 9th Avenue in the Inner Sunset. Although I live in Oakland now, I think it is a wonderful way to honor my son in the place where he was born.
"Several years ago, Mike and I came across the Moraga tiled steps accidentally. We were wonderstruck by the beauty of the tiles and the strong community involvement. When we heard we could participate in a new tiled staircase, we jumped at the chance. As a Master Gardener volunteer in Santa Clara County, I was delighted with the Hidden Garden theme and chose the inscription "Bloom!" We live in San Jose but visit San Francisco frequently."
"Lucy and Kody are my two children and i hope they grow up to be as vibrant, celebratory, and harmonious as the images on the steps! also,when my husband and i got married, we sponsored a tile on the Moraga St. steps to celebrate, and it seemed fitting to do something similar for our two kids. ...congratulations on the glorious and gorgeous steps!"
"Our tile represents our young family. We purchased our tile right after our youngest son, Brooks, was born. Although we are not connected directly to the steps as we live in Marin, we were introduced to the project by Cori Holland (Steps Planning Committee member) and her passion for the steps inspired us to be a part of it."