This must be what Sundays have been for generations of people who stay: old friends at the beginning and through at the end.  The heat wave loosened its hold, although the day was bright and hardly cool.  Heidi and Alan Miller met me at Leila’s Cafe on San Pablo, where the conversation turned to remembering the Berkeley High schoolyear of 1994, the year of Frontline’s “School Colors” and the last truly over-the-top administrative debacles.

We’ve all turned a bit softer, grayer, with senses of humor that are quicker to surface.  Each of us seemed to remember a different facet that made the collective memory more precise and full.  It’s astonishing, to me, that we have known each other so long.  I never worked at BHS, of course, but I’ve always–always for the past 18 years–been in the margin and its been my own marginalia. 

In the evening, the pendulum swung young and I had time with some of my favorite Berkeley grads.  Janice has become a nutritionist, but in my weltanshang she is the maker of extraordinary and delicate origami cranes that decorate my Halifax office and the only person who has ever managed to cajole me into cleaning the piles on my desk. Her younger sister has recently become a sterling silver appraiser, not BHS’s usual progeny.

Which is exactly what makes Berkeley delightful instead of simply frustrating.  Predictability isn’t ever assured and surprises can be like little handblown glass ball fantasias– solid and real–or wars survived–the truth behind the adage “what doesn’t kill makes stronger.”


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