The Sunday Scribblings prompt is "I come from..." Follow link to participating blogs for some fascinating entries.
Having been born in 1921, I come from the first quarter of the twentieth century, when our family car was a Model T that Daddy had to crank to get started. The place that I was born was the Alta Bates Sanitarium in Berkeley, California, then a single building, now a gigantic hospital complex that occupies several blocks. Fortunately the family into which I was born offered all the love and security that anyone could ask.
It was only much later that Berkeley became known as Bezerkeley, although there was enough bizarre behavior even then to merit the name - for instance, the Boyntons, who lived in a replica of a Greek temple without walls except for sheets hung to hide their more intimate activities. Every morning Mr. Boynton would leave in his business suit, fedora on his head, briefcase in hand, and take the #7 streetcar down the hill to his business day while his wife wore her toga and his children carried bag lunches of nuts and dates to school, where they purportedly exchanged them for roast beef sandwiches.
In my public primary school the girls were taught scarf dances on the lawn with filmy lengths of pastel voile held at the corners by four girls. I still remember the tickling of grass on my bare feet.
What does this have to do with where I come from mentally or psychologically? Otto and I have lived in many countries, but since 1947, when Otto accepted a position at the University of California, Berkeley has been home base (although a little bit of our hearts are always in Brazil).
We have lived through the movements that have swept Berkeley through the decades, from the decorous ‘50s through the turbulent ‘60s and ‘70s, and have lent our whole-hearted support to many of them, joining in protesting the Vietnam war, housing hippies and manning switchboards to acquire needed services for them - even doing some dumpster-diving to procure soup ingredients for feeding the hungry on weekends when other food services were not available.
We were already pacifists, but much of the idealism of the sixties rubbed off on us. In the ‘70s and ‘80s Berkeley tried to pick up the pieces for the Vietnam veterans who became the new street people, injured in mind or body, addicted to drugs or alcohol to kill the pain.
Where does this leave me? I really couldn’t say. In front of the computer, I guess, picking and choosing a few words to describe 87 years of living. And still in love with “Bezerkeley.”