Sunday, August 19, 2012
Playing Catch Up
A quick recap of the last couple of weeks: a girls dinner when several husbands happened to be out of town at the same time was an opportunity to drink, talk, laugh and remember how much we like each other and how easy it is to enjoy the moment.
Which was good preparation for a bad moment a few days later when I managed, incredibly clumsily, to back into that fire hydrant sitting so innocently on the sidewalk in an area of Oakland that's becoming revitalized with little eating places, artist studios and the odd gallery or two. The lunch was good but the chunk the hydrant took out of my bumper is taking a chunk out of my bank account. Ouch.
A quick visit back in time at the 1968 Exhibit currently at the Oakland Museum brought those days back in a rush.
That was quite a year, including within it the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, Apollo 8's lunar orbit, The Tet offensive and a terrible spike in casualties in the Vietnam War, the premiere of Laugh-In, the conviction of Dr. Spock for conspiracy to encourage draft violations, the capture of the USS Pueblo by North Korea, the Eugene McCarthy campaign for the Democratic primary and the Democratic Presidential Convention in Chicago that pitted Mayor Daley's police against anti-war protesters. And then there was Richard Nixon, whom (and I cannot believe I'm actually saying this) I would be happy to have back again, given what's happened to the Republican Party since then. And that was only in the US.
Walter Cronkite, America's "Uncle Walter" covered the moon launch and came back from a trip to Vietnam to tell the nation that despite official pronouncements the war was unwinnable and should be brought to an end. That was the last time a war the US was involved in was covered freely by news media as far as I can recall.
Leaving the past behind, we spent a few days showing a visitor around.
I've lived in Berkeley more years than I care to remember and had never been to the top of the Campanile, which turns out to be the third tallest clock/bell tower in the world. Who knew?
There are something over 60 bells up there and we got out just before they started to play them.
A wishing tree in the courtyard of The Jewish Museum, the Cindy Sherman exhibit at SFMoMa,
a four-hour whirlwind tour of the Palace of Fine Arts lagoon, the Legion of Honor, the Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point, the "painted ladies" Victorian houses at Alamo Square,
and Coit Tower with its wonderful Depression era murals funded by the Public Works of Art Project, one of the New Deal's first public employment programs.
Not only do we not have anything like those programs today, but the auto ferry to Oakland is gone too.
A last gasp that afternoon took us to North Beach and Chinatown,
where they offer culture the way I like it, not too heavy.
And so to bed. Whew.