Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

Back in the day…


I have on-line news sources I enjoy checking in with during the day. The New York Times, NPR, HuffPost, SFGate, all companions and only a bookmark away. However, nothing, nothing will ever replace the time-honored rustle and feel of our paper copy of the San Francisco Chronicle with my first cup of tea in the morning. I always pick up such pearls of wisdom and bits of inspiration for the day. From the Bugman in the Home section (great non-toxic recipe for your spray bottle to battle black widows in the garden), to the plant of the week (I am only interested if they are natives-ok, also succulents), and onto the meyer lemon panna cotta recipe I’m making for tonight’s dinner. It is the obscure things that I just happen to run across, combined with the luxury of having the time to savor the experience.

Last weeks great find was info about the photographer Marc Riboud, who would be having his work displayed on the walls of the Journalism building on the CAL campus. Perfect opportunity, not very  far away and just by looking at the reprints in the paper I knew it would be inspirational. The article itself inspired me to think of “photography as geometry” and I was thrilled that I would be able to see the photos in the size that the artist meant them to be.(I still remember the large poster I had of a Georgia O’Keeffee painting of a white petunia. When I saw the real painting in a museum, it had an intensity and luminosity that came from its much smaller real size. Reproductions don’t always give the real impact. You know those water lilies by Monet? They are actually as big as a wall.)

Saturday morning we hopped over to Berkeley to the North side gate.

North Gate

Up the stairs to the Journalism building only to find locked doors. (Turns out, it was Spring Break. No wonder it was so easy to find parking. Hmmm, here we have one of the world’s best journalism schools and one of the best newspapers with an article that the next week the public couldn’t access what they were spotlighting. Don’t mean to be critical, but wouldn’t that be part of the story…) Time for making lemonade out of the lemons. After taking this photo of a beautiful ceanothus next to the LOCKED doors

we decided to stroll what was once “our” neighborhood, back in the day, when Terry was in school here.

The goldsmith where we bought his wedding ring is long gone, but you can get your hair done:The fondue restaurant (all the rage in the ’70’s), has been replaced by a variety of ethnic restaurants.

Swenson’s Ice Cream, long gone, but LaVal’s Pizza still going strong.

That took about 3 minutes, what now?—Off to Walnut Square to reminisce about our Saturday morning walks for coffee at the original, and at that time only, Peet’s Coffee. Still on the corner as a beacon.

A stroll through the complex, appreciating the unique to Berkeley commerce:

(Was it Churchill who said, “There will always be a Berkeley?”) Then a stroll around the block to get back to the car. An excellent door to a tea company.

The French Hotel

and the icon of all icons for this neighborhood

The first or second year it was open, Terry took me to dinner here for my birthday. It was by far the most expensive, indulgent meal we had ever had, $30.00 for the both of us. For our thirtieth anniversary, we went again and it cost us $60.00 a piece. Retirement incomes being what they are, we will not be doing it again, unless our kids want to take us there for our fortieth anniversary. (Did you hear me, kids?)

A beautiful planter with succulents on the curb out front:

and a yard with a bonsai rendition of a juniper. To be honest, the only thing I couldn’t make lemonade out of….

Onward to a cafe for lunch (more like a second breakfast)

and a view of the cafe’s two-story-tall copper exhaust chimney. My kind of place, fueling my passion for copper, one of my favorite materials.

It turned out to be an impulse driven, fun morning with a dash of nostalgia. Refreshing to have once in awhile.

Author: loisreynoldsmead


3 thoughts on “Back in the day…

  1. Hi Lois,
    What’s a ceanothus doing blooming in March? Our lilacs in Kansas won’t bloom until early May. Besides, we had snow on the first day of Spring, then warm, cold and warm again, and maybe snow in Western Kansas this weekend! But there are buds on the spirea. and moisture in the ground.

    Your Berkeley items reminded me of the times I visited there in probably the 60s; a friend worked in the forestry department. I spent many hours wandering around Telegraph, the museum, etc. And our taking the bus to S.F., walking through the tenderloin area, up the hills to our favorite restaurants and back to Berkeley on the bus late at night. A different time!

    The fondue parties! My largest one was for 24 people. It was for Corpus Christi friends visiting. After all had left, Naomi said she couldn’t stand the sight of that mess and went to bed! So I cleaned up all by myself! Fun!

  2. I say we bring back the fondue party! Your house or mine?

  3. Pingback: The door is finally open… « Loisreynoldsmead's Blog

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