Miss Bigelow’s Babble On by the Bay

Catherine Bigelow

It’s been a grueling year of loss, political division, economic inequity — all buoyed by front-line health worker heroics. Yet love, actually, still bloomed. Even amid heartbreak.

In August, Ivy Love Getty, 26, FaceTimed from Capri with her beloved grandmother, Ann Getty, to share the news that her beau, Tobias Engel, 28, who grew up in London with his mom, Coronation Street actress Cheryl Prime, had just proposed.

“Monga [the family nickname for their grandmother] was so thrilled, she started planning our wedding,” Getty recalls fondly.

A month later, Mrs. Getty, a celebrated arts patron and philanthropist, died of a heart attack. That heartbreak was compounded in November when Ivy’s father, musician John Getty, 52, died unexpectedly.

“It was a bittersweet time. My emotions were confused — I felt guilty for being so happy about our engagement,” admits Getty. “But my grandmother loved Toby. We’re planning a wedding in the style she would’ve designed.”

The couple plan to wed at City Hall in November and are working with designer and longtime family friend Stanlee Gatti to create a celebration that will also honor Mrs. Getty’s memory.

But first, Getty and Engel are moving into their new pad in Manhattan, where Getty has been modeling for enviro-friendly fashion brand AwaveAwake and recently signed a contract with Ford Models agency as a digital influencer. She also plans to pursue her artwork, while penning a book about her Instagram-famous dog Blue, a rescue Chihuahua.

At last: On New Year’s Eve, after 12 years of dating, Woodside native Elena Poetsch was still surprised when her longtime love, San Mateo native Jack Hearst, proposed at midnight.

The couple met in middle school at Woodside Priory. When Poetsch was in eighth grade and Hearst was a high school freshman, they started referring to each other as“best friends.” The romance progressed when they attended Humboldt State together.

They recently bought a home in San Francisco, where they quietly celebrated the new year. At midnight, fireworks erupted, so Poetsch picked up their dog, Sammy, to comfort her. Turning around, Hearst was down on one knee in front of the Christmas tree, holding a ring and asking if she would be his wife.

“I started crying. It’s been such a difficult year,” she says. “But Jack wanted us to start 2021 with something magical.”

But these long-term planners are in no rush. Poetsch is a project manager for her father’s real estate development firm. Hearst, a burgeoning filmmaker, is documenting art preservation efforts led by his father, Stephen Hearst, a scion of the publishing family who manages the corporation’s Western properties — including the family-held working ranch in San Simeon, and Wyntoon, a private enclave on the McCloud River.

They’re aiming for a spring 2022 wedding at the ranch, which spreads across rolling hills below historic Hearst Castle.

“We’re total homebodies, and for 12 years, have stuck together like glue. But with Jack away on his Hearst archival projects, we’ve actually learned to miss each other,” Poetsch says with a laugh. “It was wonderful growing up together. Now engaged, we’re continuing to grow our life in a new way.”

Sweet thing: When Shaws, the cherished 89-year-old candy store on West Portal Avenue, closed in January of last year, little did we know how much worse the world would become.

But, hallelujah, Shaws has arisen! New owner Diana Zogaric, a Michigan native and freelance video editor, moved 10 years ago to San Francisco with her children. They live in West Portal, and a trip to Shaws was always on the agenda.

While the original Shaws chocolates are no more, Zogaric will feature Mitchell’s ice cream and source her delicacies (truffles, turtles, rocky road clusters) from local chocolatiers, including vegan versions.

“Everyone in the neighborhood is so welcoming, sharing memories of how they always went to Shaws after school or as a special trip with their grandmother,” she explains. “I’m still learning the ropes. But it seems like a pandemic-proof business — who doesn’t crave something sweet now?”

Queen of hearts: Sadly, Shaws’ most devoted customer, Yvonne Sangiacomo, didn’t live to see the reopening. The EssEff native, daughter of Bimbo’s 365 Club founder Agostino “Bimbo” Giuntoli, died days before on January 4.

In 1956, she married the late legendary developer Angelo Sangiacomo, and in nine years they welcomed seven children. While Yvonne ruled the roost, she was also a dedicated philanthropist (including Meals on Wheels and the Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center), who created the famed Red Tie Ball at Neiman Marcus benefiting the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Red, the color of love, was Yvonne’s signature shade. She’d fill her pockets with heart stickers and $2 dollar bills, gifting them to anyone she felt needed some luck. She was also famous for her Christmas packages to friends, bursting with Shaws candies.

“My mom was the best, and truly embodied the prayer of St. Francis,” says her son James Sangiacomo. “‘For it is in giving that we receive.’”

This summer, notes Sangiacomo, at his father’s massive and final development, Trinity Place at Eighth and Market streets, his parents will be reunited when Angelo’s Alley (off Mission Street) intersects with a renamed alley off Seventh Street: Yvonne’s Way.

“In our large Italian family,” he says, “it was always Yvonne’s way.”

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