Day Cabbie

San Francisco taxi stories from one of the very rare female drivers

Pat Montandon

On my first day of taxi school in March 2006, there was this guy in my class who had been a San Francisco taxi driver before. He told us that he had once had “the richest woman in San Francisco” in his cab, “Pat Matadawn” is what he called her. He didn't really tell us much about that experience, just that she lived on the crooked block of Lombard Street and that she was “Pat Matadawn, the richest woman in San Francisco.” He kept repeating that. “Pat Matadawn, the richest woman in San Francisco.” “Yeah, Pat Matadawn, the richest woman in San Francisco.” “Yeah, it was Pat Matadawn, the richest woman in San Francisco.”

Recently a friend recommended the book
Oh the Glory of It All, a memoir by Sean Wilsey. This is what the back of the book says:

Sean's blond bombshell mother regularly entertains Black Panthers and movie stars in the family's marble and glass penthouse. His enigmatic father uses a jet helicopter to drop Sean off at the video arcade. The three live happily together “eight-hundred feet in the air above San Francisco, in an apartment at the top of a building at the top of a hill: full of light, full of voices, full of windows full of water and bridges and hills.” But when his father divorces his mother and marries her best friend, Sean's life blows apart. His memoir shows us how he survived, spinning out a “deliriously searing and convincing” portrait of a wicked stepmother (The New York Times Book Review), a meeting with the pope, disastrous sexual awakenings, and a tour of “the planets' most interesting reform schools” (Details).

In the first chapter of the book it was revealed that the author's “blond bombshell mother” has the last name Montandon. I thought “Huh, that sounds familiar.” After the name sank in for a few moments, I thought “Could that be who the guy in taxi school had been referring to?” I concluded that it was very likely.

On page 23 I came across the following:

She changed the pronunciation of her last name “back to French.” From “Mawntandun” to “Moan-tan-dawn.”

“Yep!” I thought. “Matadawn, Moan-tan-dawn, it's the same thing. That's it!” I continued reading:

She had a date every night. She met and wed her second husband [...]. The moved into a beautiful apartment, on the crooked block of Lombard. Six months later the marriage was over. He moved out and Mom kept the lease on the apartment.

The apartment on the crooked part of Lombard settled it for me. This book's author's mother was the same woman as the one the guy in taxi school had been talking about. “Neat,” I thought.

However, the “marble and glass penthouse” in which the author lived with his parents before they got divorced was not on the crooked block of Lombard Street. It was on the top of Russian Hill. In chapter nine I found out that the penthouse is at Green and Jones. And in chapter seventeen I found out the exact location of this very tall building, which is 999 Green Street.

So one day recently, while driving my taxi, I decided to drive by 999 Green Street. I wanted to see this building because it's fun to connect literature with reality.

And when I drove by it, I realized that hey, this is the building where I had picked up the character from one of my own stories, Panic. Taxis and Pat Montandon had brought me full circle back to my own life.


At 4/05/2007 02:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vera darling, try working for her. I did, and what an experience. I'm currently reading her son's book, which just confirms my perceptions of her when I worked with her.
Pat is all about Pat. Its amazing that those people with money are often so delluded. But she's a victim of her surroundings, and was promptly ejected by it when the socialite world of SF found they had no further use for her. Poor Pat. I actually have sympathy for her, especially for her son. Narcissitic in the extreme, she's trodding on forward with her absurd "Children as the Peacemakers" scam (as if anyone takes THAT seriously)?
I find it all utterly fascinating, and for a few months eons ago, was right smack in the middle of her world. David Lynch would have loved it. Nuff said!

At 4/06/2007 08:07:00 PM, Blogger erik said...

When I was a messenger in the mid 80s at US MESS there was a guy 51 ? that pat would always request..well he didnt care for her the way she cared for him and he didnt like going up the hill so she could admire him and slowly give him the day he got his chance a big dog poo rioght near 999 green..I think she got rid of the white shag carpet after that..but us still had the account..

At 5/03/2007 03:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck, I remember Pat when she was the weather girl on channel 7 (KGO) here, then she spread her legs more and actually got her own talk show.

My mother hated her....

At 7/11/2008 06:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow ,what a country. Being a cottnpicker and ending up where she is.

At 7/18/2013 09:06:00 AM, Blogger roja assi said...

That's great! feeling Pat Montando and good reading Crooked over all to see..lombard taxi Lombard Taxi services to and from Midway, O'Hare and the Loop


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