Ilumin, David

Klick on A Brick Story

755 Commercial Street between Kearny and Grant, crossroads for west coast visitors from far north as Seattle to far south as Seattle, and all the in between cities of Stockton, Sac, Vallejo. The bricks on Commercial Street, and buildings. The I-Hotel was a 5 minute stroll away. When you visited Commercial Street you were on the way to or coming from the I-Hotel. Living in Manilatown as an 18 year old, you hustled to eat a breakfast of pork bun and OJ, a $1.65 rice plate if you had a few bucks or treat yourself to an Orange Julius with whatever $ you had left. Got a 1 day job unloading a truck full of wintermelons on Jackson Street one winter morning. I can smell the liquored breath of my fellow lifters and the fresh baked Cha siu bao baking nearby. Manilatown/Chinatown wakes up early. The city comes alive here first, to catch the worm and is the last to close the lights. I eat Pilipno food at the Mabuhay Restaurant. Adobo not made by mom or Auntie; pancit outside the home but still for my stomach. Kearny Street, an extension of our kitchens, our living rooms. The hotel, a lifeline to generations of families and immigrants to this country. This city, this hotel, a bridge from our past to our future. Generation to generation will build an share a history of manongs of the past to the boomer manongs.