29 May 2006

Final day in the Bay Area

I have just returned home.

This morning was spent in Redwood City, San Bruno, and Pacifica, as I tried to walk through Sarah's steps as she left high school and went on to college. As I visited these places, it felt as if Sarah was walking alongside me, asking me to listen to her story and take notes so that I can tell it to the world. These are the places I've been writing about in my current novel class - a class that's been very frustrating for me.

The afternoon was spent driving back to Los Angeles, after a lunch at San Francisco's Japantown.

Here are the pictures.

I first headed for the state superior court, located in Redwood City. This is where Sarah petitioned for her name to be officially changed from Sanford, in 1995, as soon as she turned 18.

Sarah would've gone through these doors to get her business done. With today being a holiday, this was as far as I could follow her steps.

Look at the door closely, and you can see my reflection, complete with my new favorite outfit (white semi-sheer minidress peeking through the jacket, footless tights).

Sarah said that it was a bit uncomfortable walking this path to the law library, dressed in her own tights and mini. But she was grateful to be in that outfit at all, instead of boys' cargo pants. She also described the lovely smell and colors of the flowers; indeed, flowers were blooming on my visit today. Though I felt a bit chilly this morning, unlike Sarah.

Here is the law library across the street from the courthouse. This is where Sarah figured out how to do the legal name change paperwork. She may not have been an honor student in high school, but like most transwomen, she is one smart girl.

My next destination this morning was Skyline College, where I expect Sarah to get a 2-year degree (I still need to think of the details here). Here is the admissions office at Building 2, where Sarah brought her mother for some help and advice.

Skyline is very small as far as community colleges go. Sarah's mother would've remarked something about that too, as she strolled the campus with Sarah.

This is Building 8, with foreign language departments; Sarah could refine her French and German skills here in an official academic setting (or add another language, like Spanish). Right now, this building is closed for a 1-year renovation, but that wouldn't have been the case back in 1995.

Here's Building 1 with social science departments, where Sarah may have found a few classes as well.

My next stop: Oceana High School, which I previously visited, but did not fully explore. Oceana looked pretty gloomy today, just like last time. It was quite windy and chilly too, but fortunately the winds were not strong enough to make my dress fly up again.

Here is one corner I missed the last time: the student parking lot. When Sarah (then Sanford) entered senior year, her mother bought a new car - Ford Contour (partly because I own one too) - and let Sarah use it often, including for coming to school. I might have the jocks taunt Sanford here too, and even threaten to vandalize the new car.

Here is the football field. Now that I've written the graduation day scene, I could picture the graduates and loved ones gathered here. I could almost hear the valedictorian's speech. The valedictorian, Sharon, was a very popular cheerleader, and someone Sanford wanted to emulate, but couldn't, due to a male identity and body.

Here is the hallway. It's surprisingly bright and vibrant, a huge contrast from the rest of the run-down campus. How would Sanford have felt, walking this hallway as an outcast boy?

I previously took the picture of the "Boys Team Room" as the place where Sanford would've been attacked and scarred by Alberto and Roger, two popular jocks, in junior year. But that would be for athletes only. This locker room, connected to the gym, would make more sense as the place of attack. In any case, Sanford would've been unable to come to school for a week.

In front of this is a courtyard with a world map drawn on it. No new pictures, since I had taken a picture of it the last time around. I did want to do one thing though; I wanted to draw in two airplanes over the Korean Peninsula, an F-86 for Sarah's grandfather (a Korean War vet) and a 777 for Sarah herself (a flight attendant).

I found this church near the school. Since the United Church of Christ is a progressive denomination that is accepting of LGBTs, I wonder if this church may have use as a setting for my novel, where Sarah's parents get support and acceptance.

This is it!

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