I went into the Navy as Lawrence Ferling. Took part in D-Day and after the war I attended the Sorbonne on the G.I. Bill. ... Lots of guys did it. Spent four years in Paris, painting and translating poetry. And landed in San Francisco in 1950 with a sea bag over my shoulder. I liked the city; it had this insular feeling, like Naples. People there are Neapolitans first and Italians second. I came to North Beach, which was 90 percent Italian then, and I put the -hetti back on my name, and bought a partnership in the bookstore for $500, and here I am.
–Me, quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, January 5th, 2003