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Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:36 PM

Famous San Francisco twin Vivian Brown dies

Source: Seattlepi

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) San Francisco residents are mourning the passing of Vivian Brown, who along with her twin sister, became a local celebrity by walking through the city's streets in matching high-end outfits, identical hairdos and cheerful smiles.

The 85-year-old Brown died in her sleep on Wednesday at an assisted care facility in the city, Barbara Farber, director of development for Jewish Family and Children's Services, told the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/WOxyf3 ).

For 40 years, the Brown twins could be seen walking along San Francisco's streets, greeting tourists and locals alike. Standing 5-foot-1 and about 100 pounds apiece, the twins were also seen in commercials, made cameo appearances in films, appeared on talk shows and frequented civic events.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement saying Brown was a "truly remarkable woman who represented the best of our city."






Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/us/article/Famous-San-Francisco-twin-Vivian-Brown-dies-4189144.php



I remember these twins! You'd see them downtown during the day usually, all dressed up to the tee and everyone was always gawking at them. They seemed very odd to me, very obscure and obsolete. I always thought they were Natives but it seems they were from Kalamazoo, Michigan!

In any event, I hope that Ms. Vivian Brown rests in peace and I hope that her twin is not horribly lonely, although I know she must be as they were always together, shopping downtown and hanging out around Union Square.

Ah those were the days in the City by the Bay. I rather think I left my heart in San Francisco!



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Reply Famous San Francisco twin Vivian Brown dies (Original post)
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 OP
Mrs. Overall Jan 2013 #1
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 #2
Mrs. Overall Jan 2013 #4
ReRe Jan 2013 #3
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 #5
lara_raymond Jan 2013 #6
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 #7
roguevalley Jan 2013 #8
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 #9
roguevalley Jan 2013 #14
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 #17
Wernothelpless Jan 2013 #10
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 #12
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 #18
smirkymonkey Jan 2013 #24
mulsh Jan 2013 #11
southernyankeebelle Jan 2013 #13
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 #16
southernyankeebelle Jan 2013 #23
Gormy Cuss Jan 2013 #15
The Second Stone Jan 2013 #19
spiderpig Jan 2013 #20
Justice Jan 2013 #21
Trascoli Jan 2013 #22

Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:41 PM

1. Oh no! I would often see them strolling arm in arm around San Francisco when I lived there--

they were absolutely adorable!

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Response to Mrs. Overall (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:48 PM

2. yep, that was them!

They could frequently be seen at the entrance to my favorite store of all time, and that is Macy's in San Francisco on Union Square!

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:01 PM

4. Yes! I saw them often on Union Square, too! I also posted the news in General Discussion

to see if we could flush out more San Franciscans who might remember them.

They were truly part of the City!

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:54 PM

3. Thank you for posting this sad news...

... dear CountAllVotes. What darlings they were for so many years. Something tells me it won't be long until her sister follows. That's usually what happens when one of two close siblings, husband/wife, friends pass on at this age. I'm sure they will never be forgotten in San Francisco.
Rest in peace, Vivian Brown, a great little American. I salute you.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:06 PM

5. you are quite welcome!!




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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:12 PM

6. Spam deleted by azurnoir (MIR Team)

 

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:25 PM

7. Herb Caen's three dot journalism

>>San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen was another fan of "the oft-photographed-by-tourists Brown twins," whom he described as "petite and demure." In a mid-'90s three-dotter, Caen wrote, "The Brown Twins, Vivian and Marian, celebrated their 70th last wk. at Planet Hollywood, where they were waited on by identical 22-yr-old twins, Valen and Tyree West. Much merriment ensued. Take my word for it ..."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Vivian-A-Brown-distinguished-twin-dies-4188316.php#ixzz2Ho4bSaHU

Miss you too Mr. "DON'T CALL IT FRISCO " Herb Caen!!!



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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:14 PM

8. Herb Caen. All of that time was my favorite time. I think I am sorry for the kids

these days who missed that world.

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Response to roguevalley (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:33 PM

9. yes it was like living in a fantasy

and I thought it would never end and then came ...

WE'D BE BETTER OFF WITH BONZO eh?

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:38 PM

14. I think he yanked us into a darker parallel dimension. I am glad I lived half my life in that

century. so far, this one sucks.

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Response to roguevalley (Reply #14)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:03 AM

17. agree

sadly.



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Response to roguevalley (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:00 PM

10. Those were the days ...

My Mom would take my sisters shopping at Macys on Union Square and I'd find some way to make an excuse to get out of it ... tell her I wanted to go check on Dad in Dewey's in the St. Francis ... I'd tap on the window where he sat with the rest of the men drinking their day away, wave, and then duck down and run up the street to China Town and then down Market Street ... freeeeeee to run like the wind all over town ...

You're right, kids these days will never know the kind of freedom we had in SF back in the day ...

My heart is there still .... sigh ...

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Response to Wernothelpless (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:20 PM

12. That is a great Macy's

Eight floors high if I remember right. I'd start there and work my way over to the Emporium, from there back to Liberty House then off to Joseph Magnin's for the final blow to the pocket book that did not exist! lol ...

It was a different time indeed. I loved every second of it.

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Response to Wernothelpless (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:19 AM

18. That sounds like my Dad

He'd take my brother and I over to "The City" for the day and give each of us $1.00 to spend. We'd spend the day strolling the streets of Chinatown going to all of the little shops and stores and looking at all of the interesting things they had.

Dad would magically appear later (probably was at some pub somewhere knowing him ) and we roamed all over Chinatown and North Beach as young kids, I'm talking like 7 and 8 years old.

There were no murders going on and people were not afraid of being shot in broad daylight in those days. You'd get on the cable car and the conductor would say, "Ladies watch your handbags please!".

Dad would then take us home w/fresh sponge cakes in hand knowing that my Mother would be waiting for us as she loved those sponge cakes from Chinatown and Dad knew it. As for that pub he'd been at earlier in the day as we roamed around town as what I'd consider to be fairly young children, well, what pub?

Those were the days alright and no, we'll never see the likes of that very special time in our lives again.



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Response to Wernothelpless (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:03 PM

24. How sad! I used to see them all the time when I lived in SF. They were

always so sweet and friendly. My mom had her picture taken w/ them when my parents visited. They were such good sports!

How awful this must be for her sister - they seemed so very close. Inseparable, even.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:00 PM

11. They were a kick and have been missed by many since Vivian went in the rest home.

This summer a few locals started a pizza fund for Miriam at Uncle Vitto's Pizza on Bush at Powell, where Miriam likes to eat.

I used to see them together at lunch time in the Financial District. I'm a twin so I started chatting with them about twin stuff. Very gracious ladies, both of them.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:23 PM

13. May she rest in peace. I know her twin will miss her terribly. I have a twin and

 

we turned 65 yesterday and we called each and we sang happy birthday to us. It was nice to speak with her. I talk to her mostly everyday long distance. I won't pass a day without talking to her. We are very close. Last year I ended up in the hospital with a heart condition and she came and stayed with me a week. When she left I cried. As we get older I know time is so precious. So I always make sure to tell all my siblings I love them and my husband and I kiss and say I love you all the time. Because you never know when it's your time. Hug your family and siblings. Life really is to short. The older you get time flies by.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:58 PM

16. My sister-in-law is a twin

Not identical though, but she is a twin nonetheless. Her twin died early last year and wow is she ever sad. I traveled all the way to Ireland to see her this past fall and she is still grieving badly despite having 6 kids, who knows how many grand kids, nieces, nephews and other family members close to her.

Sad as all hell IMO.

I know what it is to grieve for a lost sibling having lost my own younger brother to cancer several years ago. He was in his early 40s. What an absolute sad shame that was and no, I'll never over it. Gone too soon in his case.

Luckily, Ms. Brown lived a long and colorful life filled with friends aplenty but not much of anything financially at the end it seems. This makes me feel sad to think that these rather famous twins would end up basically broke at the end of their lives having to rely upon the generosity of others.

This story just proves how much the elderly, the disabled, and others that are in dire need of special care, especially long term care that doesn't cost an arm and and a leg, which most people in this situation cannot afford, simply do not often get it. In the case of Ms. Brown, at least people in San Francisco knew who she was and helped her and she died in a care facility. She was lucky.

As for other people, those not famous nor having lots of friends and family, they sort of end up slipping through the cracks. These are the types that end up being found dead in their home/apt. etc. (if they are lucky enough to even have one in some cases!) and no one even knows they have passed away until something draws attention to the situation. I've seen this myself a few times.

Chronic debilitating disease kills not only the person that has it but all that seem to cross the path of the person that has it as well (i.e. family members specifically if you are lucky enough to have some). This places the person with the health problem in a horrible situation having to hopefully rely on others in their life if they have any. However, being Ms. Brown had Alzheimer's disease she was likely unaware of the reality of her situation I hope.

I hope her sister is able to cope, that is the key to all of it, finding a way to cope which can not be as simple as that one word may sound.


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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #16)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:51 AM

23. My twin and I aren't identical but our own mother couldn't tell us apart sometimes when

 

we called her. Once we both called her at different times and asked her the same question. Neither one of us knew the other called her and asked the same question. She told her about it when we got home. We lived at home. There is a special bond with your twin and it doesn't matter if your identical or not. I know I don't think I could get over my twin's death so easily even though we are separated. The first time I moved from home to another state I cried my eyes out. All of our firsts I missed like our birthdays. She it is hard. We come from a big family ourselves. I had 2 brothers and 4 sisters. Our youngest brother died also. Now I remember him as a baby holding him when we went to get our mom out of the hospital. He would have been 40. He also had lung cancer. He never smoked. There isn't a day that goes by I don't think of him. I bet you are the same. They are to young to go.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:13 PM

15. I can not imagine how hard it will be for Marian to go on.

I guess it helps that Marian has lived through the adjustment to Vivian moving into assisted living and that she has a supportive community around here.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:26 AM

19. My condolences to Marian Brown

I cannot imagine the loss.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:39 AM

20. This makes me so sad!

I was working temp at JFK's First Class ticket counter in the mid-90s when the twins stepped up to check in. They were both identically dressed in immaculate red suits and pillbox hats. I greeted them with "I used to love seeing you every week at Sunday concerts at Stern Grove (San Francisco)." They both clasped my hands and called me Sweetie and Dear.

They were on their way back from the UK where they'd filmed a commercial for Virgin Airways' new service to San Francisco.

The last time I saw them was probably close to 10 years ago, walking up Powell Street in matching fur coats (and, of course, hats). My friend and I said "Good evening, ladies!" and they responded cheerfully in kind.

San Francisco legends, never to be replaced. And very nice, kind women.



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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:25 AM

21. we had a photo with the twins many years ago. so adorable

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Response to CountAllVotes (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:41 AM

22. twin

 

sad

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