Growing Up in San Francisco in the ’40s

Recently, I went by 154 Ulloa Street, San Francisco, the old family home. I lived there until age 16. There were 26 kids on the block, and we played street games, baseball, football, rode Flexi racers. No parental supervision, no Little League.

During WW2, we had a big communal “victory garden” next to the house. I think we paid $9,000 for it new.

I used to put on a dish towel for a cape, swim trunks over Levis, and play Superman by jumping off the balcony to the grass below.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

4 Responses to Growing Up in San Francisco in the ’40s

  1. Beautiful home. Your folks paid 9000$…wow…what would it be worth now? 2 million?

    and that jumping off balcony..Yikes. (was there no cement/pavement there then?)….Apparently (and lucky for us) you
    survived. Any broken bones? That looks to be a fair height.

  2. I am thrilled to see you, my hero still in so many ways as I see you from my view at 63, the inspiration to keep growing my career in publishing now that I have eased back on my building Tiny Texas Houses… stopped being an employer over two years ago since my son passed away and I had no stewards or heirs besides the government. I do however still hope to inspire the younger kids to break out and use the salvage to build sustainably and Salvage, Texas, a model for what could be done is now my focus. To help fund that I am going to publish a series of card decks to show how to construct, salvage, terminology, and a board game using the tiny motif for a playing card deck, collector deck, flash card teaching deck, though on a regular playing card format with spades, hearts, clubs, and diamonds, the pictures, the parts, the flash card value, the composition of houses in frames on a board game that allows for mix and match to build houses, and even poker chips for the playing cards that will have barter value for the vast inventories I need to find owners for well before I reach your age. 100,000 sq ft of parts, doors, windows, flooring, etc still sitting around and my plan is to use it to fund small businesses of kids that are honest, hard working, and will take the break and run with it rather than just turn and ask for more.
    You have inspired me so much, given me a new perspective of what I might do after my son passed away and I started to think of myself as getting old and perhaps losing my direction. Instead, your skateboarding at 73, your book which you asked for my Mascot to honor the cover on, and the inspiration of seeing you and your wife find happiness for so long as I have not seen in my life… Keep on going so I can keep being inspired.
    You have helped me find my youth again, seriously, dropping down to do the splits and show off that a broken back is not a gamebreaker… losing hope is.
    Thanks again. Oh yes, my idea with the card decks, thinking of self-publishing but having been involved with selling the novelty of the Pet Crabs the year after the Pet Rock and learning how we had to supply and get paid later, I think I will need a backer/publisher to get it all done for the Seasonal rush if there is one this year, for the holidays.
    Love you and thank you for being you.

    Brad Kittel
    Tiny Texas Houses (RIP)
    Salvage, Texas
    Lost your numbers 512-636-6756 mine

  3. Dear Brad,

    Well, THANK YOU! I am thrilled to get such feedback. Makes it all seem worthwhile.

    Good luck on your future ventures.

    Love to you too,


    PS Skateboarding at 84…

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