My tenure there included the Harvey Milk and George Moscone Assassinations as well as much of the coming of age of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
During these years, thousands, including myself, have come to San Francisco from all parts of the United States to seek community and seek a home. This was a time for Gay Liberation in San Francisco.
This is a time when I could explore myself, where I could not while living in Lewiston, Maine a conservative Catholic Maine mill town.
The 1970's were also long before I acquired the long portfolio of hobbies that I have now (glass art, metal art, sewing, electronics, light art, and learing such arcane crafts as TIG welding bronze to stainless steel or sewing fiber optics into clear plastic garments.
Which meant that I had lots more time to go to theatres and watch movies than I do now. When I was living in San Francisco, I would average about three or four movies per week. Right now, in Bellingham, Washington with all my hobies, I am lucky to see one movie every three or four months.
One of the theatres that I went to most often, because it was very cheap, was the Strand Theatre on Market Street near the Civic Center.
Almost as soon as I started to go there, I had noticed this lonely man in a raincoat, no matter what the weather was outside.
I also noticed this man was there whenever I entered the theatre and he was still there when I had left. He wore that raincoat even if it was sunny outside with the temperature in the balmy sevently degrees.
At one point in time, I began to be aware that the man would get up, leave the theater for a few minutes to get refreshments, and then come back in, but sitting a little closer to me. After a few months of this, I noticed that he was sitting in the same row; about three or four seats from me.
Then one day, without saying anything to me, the man sat right next to me. I started to feel creeped out, but he never touched me nor did he even acknowledge that I was there.
I did finally notice that the raincoat was transparent and he was wearing an old dark suit underneath it. He was also wearing a shower cap for a rain hat over his head.
In the lobby one day, the man did finally say softly to me something like "thank you for letting me sit next to you. I am very shy and lonely".
I got the courage to ask him why he was wearing the raincoat all the time and he said softly in my year that he wanted to feel protected yet let himself be seen.
From then on, we sat next to each other whenever I went to the Strand.
The picture here is myself posing as he did close to 40 years ago. As I do not own a suit, I am wearing pieces of my home made clothing that closely resemble what the man was wearing. The raincoat and shower cap that I am wearing are what I see as I try to go deep into my mind and picture what that man was wearing in the dark theater 40 years ago. The few times when I saw the man in the brighter light of the lobby were of great help.
If you are the man who met me at the Strand Theatre in San Francisco in the fall of 1978, please send me an email to allyn (at) well.com and lets chat. I need to share with you how I now love to shine!