Essie Webb

Essie Webb migrated to San Francisco in 1944, having been sent for by her husband who worked in the shipyard. From a farm in Arkansas to the suburbs of Illinois to wartime housing in San Francisco, Essie shares stories about the places she’s lived, and what each location has taught her.


Essie Webb

95 years old
Came to San Francisco in 1944
Spent young life on a farm in Arkansas

Simpler times in a tight-knit community

Essie fondly remembers her San Francisco neighborhood as one big family. Everyone looked after one another. If it rained, the neighbors would bring in each other’s laundry; if a stranger knocked on the door, the neighbors soon knew about it.

Essie’s children and their friends didn’t have many toys, she recalls, but they made their own from cans, blocks, and sticks. If they misbehaved outside the house, Essie and her husband could be sure that one of the neighbors would dole out an appropriate punishment and send them on their way.

Now, Essie mourns the changes that have taken place in her neighborhood. New neighbors don’t get welcomed when they move in, and the sense of camaraderie she loved as a young adult is gone. But Essie doesn’t think all hope is lost – she feels strongly that with the right education, her neighborhood could become a tight-knit community once again.

“I think when we do that [educate adults], we’ll have a better community.”