When Maria was born, San Francisco was still recovering from the 1906 Earthquake. Few families had telephones, the first radio broadcast had just happened and tv wouldn’t be invented for another 20 years. Cars were new too – the streets were still filled with horse-drawn carriages – and there were no planes in the sky. It was a totally different world.
“People didn’t travel much back then,” Maria told us. “My family would spend time at a summer resort, but we never even considered traipsing through Europe like backpackers do today. When we traveled to Italy, we took a steamship there and got around in a Fiat… and we even had to pay one of our Italian cousins to drive, since none of us knew how!”pagebreak
Tripping with Maria
Two Trippers, Apo from Switzerland and Jose from Mexico, recently visited Maria in the hopes of learning what San Francisco was like 100 years ago. They spent the afternoon together, talking and sharing stories. Luckily for us, a camera was rolling and Jose just created this great video:
È un Piccolo Mondo / It’s a Small World
It turned out that Apo and Maria’s family were from the same part of Switzerland! They chatted in Italian and Maria told them about the adventures she had while traveling across Italy in the 30s. Apo later told us that Maria speaks an old dialect that hasn’t been heard in Lugano for generations.
A Friend to Everyone
This is our favorite part of the video:
When Maria was 7 years old, her father explained that her school would soon be filled with children of different races and cultural backgrounds. Like most schools at the time, her school had only white children and so Maria didn’t believe him. But her father could see where society was heading and insisted:
“You go to school now and all the children look like you. But someday – maybe tomorrow maybe in 10 years – you will see a black child come to your school. And when those children come…I want you to be a friend to everyone.”
It was a lesson that has stayed with Maria throughout her life. “We may come from different cultures and countries,” she told us, “but deep down we’re all the same.”
We couldn’t agree more. And if you’re headed to San Francisco, stop by and visit Maria. You’ll have a memorable visit and we’re sure she’d love to meet you too.