On my way today as I was walking up 21st, I ran into Ana García, who was at the corner of Capp Street waiting for someone who would have enough patience to stop and walk with her to Mission and 21st. “I like to walk, but today it’s just so windy,”she said, holding on to my arm with one hand and to her empty cart with the other hand.
Ana García is 85 years old and is originally from El Salvador. She has lived in the neighborhood for 36 years.
She made me remember my grandmother, Emilia, whom I used to go on walks with when I was a teen in Mexico City. My grandma is now 88 but unable to walk anymore, let alone get up from her bed. I call her on the phone and she recognizes my voice, but we are far away from having a conversation again.
Mrs. García, however, looked healthy and eager to chat. I asked her if she was just taking a walk or if she was going somewhere. She said both, since she had run out of certain items and also enjoyed going to 24th and Mission. “It’s far for me, but I still manage with the help of people along the way.” She enjoys walking a block or two, and then taking the bus on Mission Street to her destination.
Mrs. García reminisced about when her grandfather used to tell her that when you are old, every minute that goes by is treasured like gold. “I never understood why he said that, because I was young and running around everywhere. You eat, you walk, you enjoy life. There’s no time to think about getting sick,”she said as the 49 bus approached.
Her advice to me: “Take your photo quick, because my bus is coming,” she said.