It was the spring of 1964, when I was visiting the campus a few months after the Free Speech Movement. A friend took me to hear a lecture on Hegel by Norman Jacobson. When Jacobson quoted Kierkegaard’s joke—“Hegel constructed a magnificent palace but chose to live next door in a shack”—I was hooked.
It took me three more years to get here; but once here, I never left. I’ve been writing about Cal and Berkeley for more than 40 years now; and while some things have changed, enough has stayed the same that the place still feels like home.
Cody’s Books is gone, but Moe’s Books just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Though Moe died in 1997, his daughter, Doris, is running the store just the way her father did.
Larry Blake’s is still going strong, too, including the Rathskeller, though now it’s called Blake’s On Telegraph. Larry died over 17 years ago, but the place is still owned by one of his former waiters, Harry Keally.
Raleigh’s is now Manny’s Tap Room, and the Café Intermezzo is now Café Mattina. But the vibes are still the same.
Just because the class notes have moved to the Internet doesn’t mean our Class Secretaries have gone away. For one thing, they’ll be doing their thing online at @calcafe. And for another, they’re going to be playing Edgar Bergen to my Charlie McCarthy. (Is that too ancient a reference for you younger alums?) If you read something in this column that moves you or amuses you, don’t thank me, thank them. I’m just their mouthpiece.
This transition to the Internet can be daunting for older alums like me. Fortunately for us, the younger alumni are stepping up to help the older ones. Althea Kippes, secretary of the Class of ’90, is offering to help secretaries from older classes learn the ins and outs of @cal, hoping that they, in turn, will be gateways for their classmates. “One person can’t do it alone, but it’s a start,” she says. “I hope others will join me. It’s just a great way for us young alumni to get to know the older ones. There is so much we have to learn from them, and this is something they can learn from us.”
If you’re interested, give her a call at 415/305-9934 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The desire to help came naturally to her. “I mean, we all went to Cal, right?” she says.
Or, as Grace Obata Amemiya said when she finally received her diploma, “Go Bears!”