Come See My View

When I walked past the open door, she stood inside, her arms loaded with damp towels and unlaundered sheets. I felt a pang. I was headed out to explore San Francisco with my husband and grandsons. And she would spend her day in the hotel, cleaning up after us and other vacationers.

Just before I pushed the elevator button, I heard a voice behind me.


I turned, and she stood back the hallway, her arms now free of towels and sheets. Before she spoke again, she searched my face.

“Ma’am,” she said. “Come see my view.”

And in case I didn’t understand her accent, she beckoned me into the room and over to the window.

“Look,” she said, “what I see every day.

And from that window, she gave me a tour of the city.

We marveled together over the Golden Gate Bridge, shrouded in fog, and the hills that define the city and Alcatraz Island squatting in the bay and pelicans flying over the water. Her voice took a tone of reverence.

“See there,” she said, “the Palace of Fine Arts.”

Squinting I could see a domed rotunda with golden colonnades. And I decided to convince my grandsons to visit this taste of Rome. She pointed toward Coit Tower, stretching straight and tall into the clouds. And we looked together at the blue-tinged mountains beyond the bay.

“My view every day,” she said, as she turned back to the towels and sheets. “Thank you for looking with me.”

But my thanks was to her. All day this conversation followed me. I didn’t forget it the next day, or the next. This is a conversation I’ll carry with me, hoping to remember especially when I need to widen my view.

4 Replies to “Come See My View”

  1. A beautiful vignette. Reminds me to stop and enjoy the view. I just finished Yoder Schoolhouse, a book with a style that kept me engrossed! I think we stayed at your house in Flint in 1971, when we came to visit my brother, Linford Stoll, who was fulfilling his 1-W obligations. I remember sleeping in your room where you also had a friend staying over. I enjoyed that visit very much! Enjoyed learning more about your perspective on Flint. Thanks for writing! Kathy (Stoll) Lu


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