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The Whole in Each Part: Facilities Manager

Doing the Opposite of What You Thought You Ought to Be Doing



My great-aunt married such a man. His name was Leroy Goode. Leroy traveled the rails far a wide; and when he returned he would tell tales of his travels. One tale he told more than once was the story of San Francisco.

Aunt had a cafe where men of the rails met and ate in Fifth Ward in Houston, Texas. My grandmother and her husband worked there and over time developed the dream of living in San Francisco. As the family story goes, one day grandmother and her daughter jump a coach with the help of Leroy traveling west, leaving her husband to follow later.


Eventually they settle in San Francisco and open a small bar and restaurant of their own in the Fillmore district of the City. Especially in the 1940's and 50's the Fillmore is a vibrant Negro community with many of the businesses black owned. It was in this setting my parents met and married.


It was also in this setting my elders began preparing me for employment. They teach me how to clean and mop. How stock inventory, empty trash, dust, iron, make beds and perform minor carpentry. Learning to cook was reserved for my brother. Later when I'm older I work stocking the concession stands at football games.


I wasn't conscious of it then, but unconsciously I had decided that manual labor wasn't going to be the height of my aspirations. One of my inner selves must have rebelled, screaming," Don't call me George!" I believe this occurred when I was in high school. Fortunately when it did the Unconscious created two events that opened other opportunities.


First was an elective I decided to take, technical drafting. I liked it. The second was a field trip I was invited to attend. The trip was to the University of California at Berkeley campus. I walked where I would later attend the halls of CED, the College of environmental Design. I even set foot in a space that would later become my graduate studio. After that field trip I knew I would attend UCB. I was sixteen years old.


But it wasn't until I graduated from high school that another "chance" happening pointed to architecture. My mother was hired as receptionist at a major architectural firm in the City. One day I paid her a visit. She walked me through the office and I met one of the principals, William Wurster. I believe that was the day I unconsciously decided to become an architect.

So much for history...

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