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This 'n' That
By Laura McHale Holland
If you were to ask 21-month-old Noah David the best way to spend a summer day, he'd say something like, "Bugs! Find them!" Then, if you helped him turn over some rocks in his back yard, he'd pick up a roly-poly, watch it wiggle in his palm, and say, "Poly tickle!"
This, for such a little tyke, is quite an articulate response. In fact, Noah is a natural born storyteller, says his mom, Tiffany David. "He came back from the zoo after seeing the two baby lion cubs, and he ran in the door and yelled, 'Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Baby roar, two of them!'
"He does this with every outing we go on," Tiffany says, warming to her subject. "He's very verbal. He's counting. He's singing the ABC song. He's so much fun to be around, a little character. My sister-in-law says we might be spending time with a future president of the United States because he has so much charisma!"
Noah was one of those rare babies who was actually born on his due date, Oct. 22, 2001. He weighed in at 5 pounds, 14 ounces. "He was just a little peanut," Mom says.
Tiffany went into labor when she and Noah's dad, Todd David, were strolling from their Valley Street home to Mitchell's Ice Cream on San Jose Avenue. So far, though, the ice cream connection has not taken hold. Noah has more of a taste for smoothies than for ice cream, which is a good thing since Tiffany and Todd have a part-time business called Smoothie Shack. Todd also works as an options trader, a job with early hours so he is able to spend many afternoons with his family.
It's a good thing he's around too because Tiffany has been surprised at how much work there is, now that Noah is her primary concern. "I've been appreciating my mom so much more now. She had four kids, and I have one, and I don't know how she got anything done."
Tiffany is not complaining, however. "I get to slide down slides and I get to be a kid too. That's been really fun for me."
Recently, Tiffany and Noah went to Philadelphia to visit Noah's grandparents. There he enjoyed playing with his extended family. "I can tell Noah needs a brother or sister, he was having so much fun playing with his cousins. I'm hoping when he has a sibling he'll continue loving babies and learn how to play with them gently. He tends to tackle and hug right now," Tiffany says.
To give him practice being gentle, Tiffany has taken Noah to visit "L.G.," a gopher snake at the Randall Museum. "Two very nice people at the museum brought the snake out for him and showed him how to touch it gently with two fingers. That was probably a month ago."
Since then, guess what Noah's been busy doing? Telling everyone who will listen the story of L.G. the snake, of course.
John Lehrack, who founded the Bethany Theatre Project at Bethany United Methodist Church on Sanchez Street, has been busy as well, but not with storytelling. He's been driving to Florida because he accepted a full-time position as music director and program manager for the Miami Stage Company. He recently sent us this update via e-mail.
"I found the job quite by accident. My partner and I were visiting a friend in Ft. Lauderdale at the beginning of April and contemplating moving from the Bay Area sometime in the next two years. We both love San Francisco...but after eight years in the Bay Area, I was weary of wondering how I would pay the bills each month.
"At any rate, we came for a visit, and one thing happened after the other. Our friend is dating a realtor who showed us at least 20 houses, all well under $400,000. Condos start at about $80,000. We prequalified for a loan and returned to San Francisco. The next day, I thought I would just browse the Ft. Lauderdale paper online, and found this job. The day after that, I had an offer for an interview.
"It is especially hard for me to leave behind Na Leo Nahenahe, which is a Hawaiian chorus that I founded in 1999. [Lehrack is an experienced choral director who earned his master's in music from the University of Hawaii.] The group meets weekly at Bethany Church from 7:30 to 9 p.m., and has found a new leader in Darren Hochstedler.
"The Bethany Theatre Project has also been a very hard thing to leave. After putting so much energy and life's blood into it, to abandon the project was unthinkable. We had our first real success with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum this past March. While I am still uncertain about the future for BTP, I have been in discussion with someone to take over the reins of the theater and will certainly let you know when that happens."
Unfortunately, Lehrack is not the only one who is leaving the neighborhood. William "Metz" Metzler and Barbara Bedell, a married couple who have worked as dental hygienists for Drs. Barry Kinney and Coragene Savio in their 24th Street office for a combined total of 30 years, are retiring. Bedell has already stopped reporting to the office, and Metzler will clean his last set of teeth at the end of July. And they already have a place in Rio Vista in Solano County.
The early retirement came about because Bedell developed a problem with her hands that made it hard for her to continue working. Metzler says Bedell is not thrilled with this turn of events. "She is not going 'Yippee! Yippee! I'm retired.' She's actually feeling sad because this happened abruptly. She has a lot of patients, and she hasn't had a chance to say goodbye to them," reports Metzler.
Metzler and Bedell have many happy memories of working together in Noe Valley, though. "It's been great fun. We're great pals, and it's a wonderful office in which to work. It was kind of 'all in the family' dentistry because the dentists [Kinney and Savio] were married and the hygienists were married to each other too. I worked upstairs and Barbara worked downstairs, so we would not see each other overly much, but it afforded us the opportunity to have lunch together," Metzler recalls.
As far as their choice of Solano County goes, Metzler says, "We've decided to become certified old farts, I guess. We're moving to an active adult community for people 55 or older. Barbara is only 53, but she can live there because she's married to me. I'm 56. She now refers to herself as my 'trophy bride.' This place affords us indoor and outdoor swimming pools, yoga and tai chi classes every morning, and there are lots of activities to do."
Metzler and Bedell are going to miss the neighborhood, however. "We've been able to find some coffee [in Rio Vista], but we haven't been able to find bagels yet. That's going to be a real problem," Metzler says. But mostly they're going to miss the people of Noe Valley. "I'd just like to thank everybody," he adds. "Noe Valley will always have a place in my heart."
Now for some corrections to last month's column: Salvadoran poet Claudia Lars wrote 14, not four, books of poetry. And the professor who asked Florence Beers Araujo what method she used to translate Lars' book Land of Childhood was from Northern Arizona University, not University of New Mexico.
Well, that's all of This and That for the summer. What news or invention will you send our way for the September issue? A new baby in the house? A marriage made in heaven? An artistic or other achievement? E-mail your milestones to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop a note to the Noe Valley Voice, 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. You can also leave a phone message at 821-3324.