1480 Waller

When I met Stephen in 1980 I lived at 1480 Waller Street in San Francisco. Later that year we moved in together. We were a match made in heaven.

At the time, we read to each other. The book that left a big impression on us was Helter Skelter. Apparently Manson had lived in our building or a few houses down from ours, but this was the Haight Ashbury and it seems every house had its myth.

But back to Helter Skelter. In our impressionable 20s it was quite a story, and living on the first floor, though with bars across the windows, and bars across Manson himself, we nevertheless freaked out when we heard a noise.

For whatever reason, imagination rampant, we were convinced someone was trying to get into the apartment from the hallway window or perhaps the kitchen door that led to a garbage area via some stairs. The door had a big wooden bolt across it, a la castles in the 1800s. And perhaps we forgot to bolt it? Or was the little hallway window left open? Damn if either of us volunteered to check it out, mere babes we were.

Instead we devised a plan where we took turns staying awake and protecting each other. I wonder what we thought we would be able to do should an intruder surprise us. We never found out because we fell asleep on the job.

When we checked out the situation in the morning, it turns out that the hallway window had bars and the big wooden bar across the door was secure. The noises we had heard through the night were raccoons in the garbage.

Forward almost 42 years later. Stephen posts a song from the Ace of Cups on his Facebook page. A friend comments with a video of the band. As Stephen is watching the video, he gets all excited and shouts 1480 Waller, they lived at 1480 Waller!

He does a little research and finds the dark sides of 1480 Waller, too. And very dark they are. When reading this article one can see the sociological changes for women from then. Though times seem to be going backward right now, the horrors of this story in the courts make me sick. Read and weep.

The victim is called promiscuous, taking drugs, having tattoos and a hippie lifestyle. The gang rape was called an orgy in the SF Chronicle headlines. Our block of Waller was called “Terror Terrace.” The detectives working on the case were the same ones that worked the Zodiac killings.

We had no idea how many ghosts were in our building, on our block. We might not have fallen asleep that night.