Moscone, Jon: Moscone Household


Jon Moscone: He was around a lot more in the last couple of years in my life than he ever had been, and when he was he was not a stranger in the house. He was very much the presence that he was in public. You felt it at home. He really changed the energy of the room, and he would talk to us about politics. The age-spread in our family is pretty great. There’s my sister, Jennifer, who is almost nine years older than I am, and so he was able to have conversations with her about politics. He would talk about Capital Punishment; I remember once he did that with us which is not typical conversation at the dinner table, but he did love to have conversations at the dinner table. We would also watch TV together a lot, it was a big thing. I remember tons of pictures growing up of us just watching TV. He loved to sit like this. That’s how he’d watch TV. Just sit back, slump in the chair, and just watch TV like that and have a cigarette in his left hand. The kids, we’d sit next to him. It was all very comfortable. But that’s an image I remember of him all the time; Lookin’ like that, smokin’ his Marlboro Reds. But if you did something or said something that was inappropriate… I once commented on the size of my sister’s breasts and he lost it. “Don’t talk to women like that!” I was twelve I think, or eleven at the time. I didn’t know feminism was an issue for an eleven year old child, but I guess it is. Or when we made any kind of offhanded remark about calling someone a queer which is what kids do. He would stop that and nip that in the bud. He treated like a form of hate crime in the household, and he would not have a problem chastising his children for promoting any kind of behavior that went against his very strong sense of equality for people. He took that into the home, and I don’t know how much fun that would have been to have 24/7, but it did affect us. He was a strong disciplinarian that way, but it was little bit a combination of old-world Italian man meets progressive political leader. That was an interesting combination to live with, and made him even that much more human. The more you knew him the more you saw both sides of that in him, but they weren’t mutually exclusive even though they seemed like they were on the opposite sides of the table. They’re what informed who he was. The totality of him, and he brought that into everything that he was. He was always an Italian man, an Italian progressive man. I mean those words don’t make sense together, but that’s who he was and that’s why he stands out very uniquely as the kind of figure that he is.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives, University of the Pacific Library

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