Jan 22

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Portolans for Life: Celebrating 50 Years Of Friendship in the Neighborhood they Love

The group of 10 friends from grammar school at St. Elizabeth

Back in 1968, ten girls met in grade school and formed a friendship that is as strong today as it was then. Rosanne Field, formerly Rosie Maffei, reached out to us wanting to share the story of the group’s friendship and their bond with the Portola.  Rosanne, who now resides in Lincoln, CA surrounded by her sisters, son and.new grandson Carsen Anthony, still has a brother and plenty of friends here in the neighborhood.  She recently organized a reunion of the “Portola Girls” to reunite her group of childhood friends and sent us this story of friendship and community in the Portola, enjoy!


The Never-ending Story/Friendship Take 2…

On Friday, November 17th, a handful of friends got together to walk the Portola neighborhood to reminisce and take pictures in front of our childhood homes.  The thought of doing this came to mind when I had come to visit my brother Tom who resides in the home I grew up in on Sweeny Street. My friend Mariana still lives in the neighborhood so her and I decided to take a late night walk through the Portola and in doing so, checked out some of our friend’s homes to see how they fared after all these years.  We thought it would be fun to send random text messages to our tight knit group and see if they recognized their old haunts; this is when the idea was born to do a get together as a whole, walk the neighborhood and then hit the FDR Brewery on San Bruno Avenue to bring a close to what would surely be a perfect day. 


When the day arrived, it began with Lynn, Mariana and I grabbing a bite at Tiffany’s.  My Dad, who attended Commerce High School and grew up both in the Marina and Bayview, was a regular there for many years.  At one point his picture hung on the wall with the name “Rocky” (inside joke).  While the photo is now gone, we are so happy that the restaurant has stood the test of time and continues to promote a community atmosphere; not to mention feel good food.


Taking photos in front of our childhood homes

Once we met up with the rest of the group, parts of our route consisted of checking out the Library, the Avenue Theater, Portola Park (now Palega, but still Portola to us) and McLaren Park. We even weaseled our way into the old St. Elizabeth’s school site where our friendship initially began and shared our stories of Catholic school girl high jinks with the current teachers.  As we strolled past ER Taylor, Lynn yelled out to one of our friends in the school “Judy, come out and play”, but unfortunately, she was busy teaching so she couldn’t slip away. 


Getting back into our old classroom

If you were fortunate to grow up in the Portola District, you can bet that anywhere you go in the city, you will know someone.  Even with the many years that have passed, we couldn’t walk the neighborhood without running into an old friend.  A special shout out to Tony Meeks for indulging his former classmates and letting us bend his ear as we caught him working on his old mustang in his garage.  That pit stop was a great send off to the remainder of our day in the neighborhood filled with old friends and familiar places.


We caught Tony working on his classic Mustang, we always run into an old friend in the neighborhood

Some of us may have since wandered out of the city limits, but we keep a close tab on our neighborhood and find joy that others who have come after us take pride in it as much as we do.   We are all a young 56 years of age and attended St. Elizabeth’s grammar school (class of 1975).  We are third generation San Franciscans and will always be “Portola Girls”.  While not all of us could attend, those who did relived long ago moments in our lives and how lucky we are to have remained so close through thick and thin.  


Ending the day at F.D.R. Brewery

In closing, I’d like to say its friendships such as ours and neighborhoods like this that thrive on positivity and growth, that continue to bring hope and happiness into our lives.   While some of us may have left, we will always have our friendship and a bond with the Portola.

P.S. Go Niners, Go Giants, Go Warriors… yep, thought I wouldn’t *smile*!

– Rosanne Field

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2018/01/portolans-life-celebrating-50-years-friendship-neighborhood-love/


  1. Chris

    What a great story and great idea to do. Love that you stayed in touch .

  2. Bob Darling

    That was a good story about friendship and our community. As an alum of St Elizabeth (class of 63) and still living in the Portola, I can relate to some of their feelings.

  3. Tim Ryan

    Have to check out The FDR with some Fellow
    Portola boys.

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