Although my family lived on the Irish block of South Ozone Park, we attended the Italian church, St. Anthony of Padua. Much as I liked the corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day, I preferred the cannoli from Stallone’s Bakery on the Feast of San Gennaro. Or the gifts from La Belfana on Epiphany Eve. One Columbus Day, Margie Carbone taught Nurse Vivian how to bake lasagna and it became my mother’s “exotic” specialty.
But at some point, everyone leaves New York. In a very dry August in the summer of 1991, my husband Brian and I (and five Pekingese pups) drove across the country in a rented truck from Jersey City to San Francisco, where we would Our first home was a rental on Fair Oaks Street, three houses away from Armistead Maupin, and because he had been a Chronicle columnist, we felt like we had met royalty.