|Spectacular San Mateo Bridge (Richard Eriksson photo)|
- Brian Williams, Morris MN
My sense of the macro world was driven by a hobby in my youth. I subscribed to a publication full of contributions from youth who lived all over the U.S. Such an experience can be like a geography lesson. Where is San Mateo, California? What a wonderful name for a community. It's where the co-publishers of the hobby journal lived. Those guys weren't much older than me. They were two brothers, last name of Gaydos.
I learned that San Mateo was a sunny community in California. I might suggest it's a wonderful place to live, but I suppose earthquakes are a worry. It's in the San Francisco Bay area. The Golden Gate Bridge is breathtaking. There's another bridge with the San Mateo name that is quite the impressive structure too.
San Mateo doesn't seem like a famous city but it's certainly substantial. It has a population of just under 100,000. It's in the high-tech enclave of Silicon Valley. It's one of the larger suburbs on the San Francisco peninsula. The Mediterranean type of climate would seem quite pleasant. The typical weather fare calls for warm, dry summers and mild, damp winters. I could certainly pine for such a setting given that as I write this, we're on the cusp of another Minnesota winter! Our last winter tested our resilience for living here.
I can close my eyes and think of wonderful San Mateo CA. They do deal with winds there, due to a gap in the mountains west of the College of San Mateo. Wind? I would be quite acclimated already. The wind brings fog toward San Mateo in late afternoon through early morning in summer.
I saw an update on the Gaydos boys - Ron and Len - a few years ago in the dying days of the publication they founded. Dying days? Well of course, silly rabbit, the Internet has wiped out the need for most hobby-oriented print publications.
The Gaydos boys launched their adventure, their publication, in the days well before desktop publishing, therefore they had special hurdles to surmount. And of course, the publication had a crude (quaint, viewed from today) look. Oh, but it was charming and appealing to the hobbyists. OK, what was that hobby? It was APBA simulation baseball, a tabletop game using dice and game boards. Far out!
Madden Football wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eyes yet. Those were the "analog" days of using systems that could be cumbersome, slow and taxing. We didn't know any different. We loved it. I think we learned discipline that might escape the youth of today, who take so much for granted. APBA baseball was slow. But we vividly saw how the whole system was set up. We saw its underbelly. It made us analyze mathematically. It complemented our formal education. Certainly we had to be astute with numbers. You needed an organized mind. The only "electric" component to the game might be a table lamp.
The APBA Journal connected the community of APBA baseball hobbyists from all around the U.S. I bought my game in 1970. I only played it for 4-5 years, then I moved on to other interests, but I have never forgotten about APBA, the "APBA Journal" and the Gaydos boys. The Gaydos boys of San Mateo CA.
"San Mateo" is Spanish for "Saint Matthew." By car - the car has almost divine importance in California - San Mateo is 30 minutes from downtown San Jose and 25 miles from downtown San Francisco.
You'll probably get on State Route 92 which might be the "San Mateo Freeway" that I write about in my original song. State Route 92 traverses the spectacular San Mateo Bridge. It meets State Route 35.
San Mateo has one of the larger, well-developed, more prominent suburban downtowns in the San Francisco Bay area. You'll want to visit Hillsdale Mall to be sure. The economy of the city is diverse with jobs in tech, health care, financial services, government and retail trade. The College of San Mateo has over 10,000 students, and is located in the western foothills, affording a panoramic view of San Francisco Bay. The chorus of my song ends with a reference to glorious "San Francisco Bay!"
San Mateo cares about its overall environment and has 15-plus parks scattered around. "Coyote Point Park" is a rock outcropped peninsula that juts out into San Francisco Bay. What a place!
How wonderful it would be to visit San Mateo CA, assuming no earthquake is looming! I hope the "Gaydos boys" remain happy and healthy. Good luck, guys. I'm happy to have written a song about your stomping grounds!
"San Mateo Freeway. . .It's taking me where I want to be. . ."