Mr. 20 Mile Day
The Tight Team o' 3 Starts the Next Stage of the Journey

27 Years

I left California 27 years ago.  I wanted to figure out what this mysterious place 'back East' was and not be afraid of snow (walking in it, driving in it, dealing with it regularly instead of on the chance jaunt to Lake Tahoe) and other unknown phenomena. 

Now I am, we are, back and living in what I, in all the peregrinations for college, school and jobs and the desire to live in the town with the best school district for Charlie, had forgotten is my favorite place to be, Berkeley. I grew up in adjacent Oakland where my great-grandparents and grandparents had settled in the early 20th century and have always been drawn north to Berkeley, with its campus, streets with independent businesses (bookstores included), cafés and a whole lot more.

This time around, I'm not exactly planning on sitting in those cafés with an espresso and a book but, as my late mother-in-law liked to say as she gestured vaguely in the direction of New York from her kitchen sequestered deep in the Jersey suburbs, 'we like to know it's there.'

As widely reported, it has been snowing, a lot, on the East Coast and very cold. Since our arrival in California on Christmas Day, Charlie and Jim (reflecting on the fact that, for the first time in his life, he is living in a place quite distant from any snow zone) have been riding bikes every day, at least for 13 or 15 miles.

Sometimes twice a day. 

Onto the Bay Bridge.

Charlie joined my family for 20 minutes to eat New Year's lunch in a restaurant (something he hasn't done in about 5 years).


He's gotten a shave at a local place after years of only going to Vince the barber.


On Friday, Charlie met his new pediatrician and did great though he didn't want to have his ears examined.

On Monday, we are meeting with the special education director to talk about a school placement.

This is not to say that the transition has been/is (it's most certainly still going on) seamless. The first night, Charlie refused to sleep in his new bedroom and slept on the couch. Saturday and Sunday night, in part because of an excess of chow fun and some ice cream and jet lag and various other factors (as ever) there were behavior storms. We've got a weekend ahead and no firm sense of when Charlie might actually be back in school and how he'll handle that.

When in his new room (which he is now sleeping in) and using his iPad, instead of telling me 'Mommy stairs' (as in 'Mom go downstairs until I ask you for something else'), Charlie has been saying 'Mommy lie down' (as in 'Mom go lie down on the couch until I ask you for something else'). It's a small change but I would have thought he would have used 'Mommy stairs,' over-generalizing his use of the phrase.

We've none of our furniture aside from some things my parents put in our house as everything is still in transit. Charlie hasn't seemed to mind.

I haven't really, either. 27 years have taught me what's essential for living. 



Cori Rivers

Synchronicity is a funny thing. Last week, in the post funeral dinner and post dinner drinking and talking session with my brothers, we all were reminiscing about the year that my father was a visiting professor at Berkeley - 1978. I was there during the summer, as a soon to be high school junior. I had my first real taste of independence in a new place going on campus, taking the Bart into San Francisco and generally being out and about by myself. I distinctly remember being on campus and having a student ask me if I was going to be a freshman in the fall. How proud I was of being able to pass for someone as mature as an incoming college student! In hindsight, it was only a matter of 2 years, and my perception of the maturity of college students has eroded in the past 36 years. But I remember how I loved that feeling of being on the cusp of adulthood. I got drunk for the first time at a sherry reception in the Spanish department, trying to decide if I liked dry, sweet, or medium sherry the best - embarrassing to think of now, but a rite of passage, nonetheless.

Anyway, Berkeley strikes me as a magical place. Best of luck to you there. Tomorrow, they're calling for a high of 11 degrees F in Baltimore. Joy!

Kristina Chew

I started wandering in Berkeley in the early 80s, just missed you by a few years! I had the same taste of independence walking on the campus and up and down Telegraph Avenue, during a summer program for high school students. I had a very sheltered childhood and was not encouraged to seek things out on my own. I never would have dared to go 'all the way' to San Francisco by myself on BART -- I'm not kidding.

A friend in NJ told me she is not even looking at the weather here due to it being, well, 'somewhat' colder. Feels ironic that I felt bad about Charlie missing days of school due to our move -- his old school started on Jan 2 only to close on Jan 3. Hoping for no, not too many snow days, for Rufus!

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