Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Smattering of Memories of Growing Up in Berkeley in the 60's

Late last night (OK, very early this morning), I Googled the intersection where I grew up in Berkeley in the 60's. I can't even remember what prompted my search, but I found this -- a message board of people's memories of growing up in Berkeley, with posts spanning from June 28th, 2004 to just a few weeks ago! When's the last time you've been on a message board that spans more than a few days?! Needless to say, I got to bed very late last night (OK, very early this morning).

If I had been more coherent last night (slash/this morning) I would have been able to bring the flood of memories that were in my head to my fingertips and somehow record them, but I was in absorption mode more than expression mode. And the little sleep I got brought massive dreams that seemed to have stolen my memories from my consciousness. But with the help of two cups of strong morning coffee, I'll attempt to steal them back.

Memories of growing up in Berkeley in the 60's, in random order:

  1. We lived directly across the street from the Claremont Hotel which had fire slides that rivaled the best thrill rides at the best theme parks around. The really gutsy kids, like my brother Michael, would sneak into the hotel, climb to the top floor, and fly down the slides, whoopin' and hollerin' the whole way down. I can only figure that the hotel staff chose to ignore them -- until they didn't, at which point the gutsy hooligans (I'm just jealous) were caught.
  2. There was a big hole in the ground at the base of the slide with an old wooden door covering it. We lifted up the door and found kittens, lots of them, and took three home. We named them Tuna, Stars & Stripes, and Forever. I don't remember them growing up, nor do I remember taking them back. I have no idea what became of them.
  3. In the hills behind the Claremont Hotel and the California School for the Deaf (which is now Clark Kerr dorms where, coincidentally, Elisabeth was an RA when she was at Cal!), were huge concrete letters, "CSD." They could be seen for miles around, even, sometimes from across the bay. The top of the C was constantly covered up with dirt and grasses from the hills (probably by the same hooligans, as well as Cal students), making the letters spell out "LSD."
  4. A weed with tiny yellow flowers that we called "sour grass" grew all over those hills. We'd pick these by the hundreds and eat the stems.
  5. John Muir, our neighborhood school, had a stream that ran through a tunnel under it. One could enter the tunnel on the school grounds and walk or crawl through it, coming out behind Jackson's liquor store. The tunnel was dark and disgusting, with rats running through it, moss growing everywhere, and a smell that I can still sense when I think about it now. I was scared to death of that tunnel, but all the cool guys (and a few cool girls) had come out alive, so I tried it when I was in 6th grade. I survived, but was scared to pieces.
  6. I was probably so scared because my brother (yeah, Michael) had told me that pipes on the path that lead to the tunnel had tigers in them. Geeze, the pipes were too small to hold anything but the cutest little baby tiger; did I have no rational, logical thinking skills?!
  7. Miss Saum was the kindergarten teacher at John Muir. The ONLY kindergarten teacher at the school for, like FOREVER. She was even the kindergarten teacher of some of the parents whose kids went to kindergarten with me! I was in the morning kindergarten class and Stephan, my 10-months-older-than-me brother was in the afternoon kindergarten class. We took naps on braided, colorful rugs. The big activity of the year was making wooden pull-toy animals. You could make a duck or a rabbit. I made a duck; Stephan made a rabbit. Ask any adult today who was in Miss Saum's kindergarten class, what pull-toy they made and they will remember. I guarantee you!
  8. Our neighbors, the Burgers, had 10 kids (EileenMarleneBobbyDianeBitsaJoeyDannyJohnClairChristopher) and used their own actual socks as Christmas stockings. I wished our family had 10 kids ! Because we weren't allowed to watch TV at my house, I'd sneak to the Burgers and watch TV there, especially on Wednesday nights when The Monkees was on.
  9. The Star Grocery on Claremont was the coolest place to hang out and be seen. The big kids (like Michael and his friends) "owned the joint." I hear that it's still there.
  10. Next to Jackson's was Bradley's, which was sort of an old-time Rexall drug store. It had dark mahogany wood everywhere and had a very distinct smell that I can still muster. It also had an old-fashioned fountain bar with shiny, heavy, round hinged metal doors covering each ice cream pot. Under one of the doors were frozen Milkey Way bars. After school my friends and I (who weren't gutsy enough for the slides at the Claremont or cool enough for the Star Grocery) would hang out at Bradley's, gnawing on frozen Milkey Way bars. I hear that Rick and Ann's restaurant now occupies the spot where Bradley's used to be.
  11. There was a May Fair every May at John Muir School. This was a huge neighborhood event, probably the most important one of the year. The highlight was the May Pole dance, performed by the 6th grade girls. I was cheated because integration in Berkeley began the year I went to 6th grade, which meant I was bussed to Lincoln School in "the flats" and never got to participate in the May Pole dance. The cool (hooligan) guys (yes, including Michael) would go to the Star Grocery during the May Fair and buy shaving cream -- lost of it -- and spray it all over the school, the girls, the cakes that were won at the cake walk, etc. You'd think the people at the Star Grocery would have caught on, but nope...
  12. There were three playgrounds at John Muir, the upper playground for the "big kids" (grades 4 - 6), the lower playground for the "little kids" (grades 1 - 3), and the kindergarten playground, just outside Miss Saum's kindergarten classroom. The best bars to swing on were in the kindergarten playground, so sometimes we'd play there. I had blisters on my palms for 5 years straight. I could do a mean "apple turnover," which was when you'd sit on a bar, holding on with both hands, circling the bar until you had enough momentum to let go and then fly around the bar, touching it only at the knees, and then flipping dramatically off, landing (hopefully without falling) in the sawdust. If my parents had been in touch, they would have enrolled me in gymnastics.
  13. There was a huge tennis tournament at the Claremont Hotel every September. We'd sneak under the bleachers (that was about as gutsy as I got) and hope spectators would drop money. One year, Burt Ward, who played Batman on TV was there. I stood right in front of him and couldn't utter a word.
  14. Behind Jacksons and Bradleys was a gas station (I think it was a Flying Ace/Texaco?) that was the sole occupant of a weird triangular "traffic island," with traffic on all three sides of it. Sometime around 1967 (?), the gas station was replaced with a restaurant called, appropriately, The Station. They had the most incredible burgers and deep fried zucchini that was fabulous! Not sure what's there now, but I don't think it's The Station anymore.
  15. Once a month, I think it was the last Friday of the month, Berkeley observed the War Moratorium. No one worked, no one went to school; we all just protested the war in Vietnam. In my naivety, I believed that this was a national event.
  16. Every other Friday afternoon at 4:00, all the 6th grade kids in our neighborhood took ballroom dance lessons at "Dart's." This was not a dance studio, but was the stately home of an old woman in the neighborhood (named, I presume, Mrs. Dart?) who probably believed that any refined young person should know how to dance properly. (I know -- seems a bit incongruous for Berkeley -- especially when you think that the parents who were sending their kids to Dart's were also probably participating in rebellious peace marches on the weekend!) We had little booklets (called "bids book," I think) with cute little pencils hanging from tassels. (I still have them!) In each book were the numbers 1 through 9 with a line following them. Number 10 was labeled "Dinner Dance." At the beginning of class, the guys in too-new suits would cross the wooden floor to ask the girls in crispy new dresses (with slips that made a crunching noise) for a dance, and if the girl agreed, they'd exchange bids and sign their names in the agreed-upon slot. The "dinner dance" was the biggie: if a guy REALLY liked you, he'd ask you for the dinner dance. Mine was often blank, but in a few of my bid books, guys I had mad crushes on, like Bobby Burger, Stuart Todd Duncan McCoy or Andy Turner, signed my dinner dance slot. I was surely in heaven on those days! (No, Peter Jaffe didn't live in my neighborhood or go to Dart's.)
  17. I wanted to live on The Uplands, Parkside Drive, or Plaza Drive because all the cool kids like Jennifer McNary, Jennifer Steward, and the five Pearlstein girls (not to mention Andy and Duncan) lived there. Sometimes I'd ride my bike around that neighborhood just to pretend that I lived on a quiet, cozy street with a quiet cozy family instead of on a noisy, busy street (Tunnel Road) with a noisy, busy family.
  18. I first played Spin the Bottle and Truth or Dare in 6th grade at Duncan's house (which was right between Plaza Drive and Parkside Drive... how cool could you get?!) after school one day when his parents weren't home. Duncan and I "won" (or was it "lost"?) some dare that sent us into a closet to kiss for a full minute. Someone even stood outside the closet with a kitchen timer to time us! (Oh, this is so hilarious in retrospect!) I think we barely touched lips for a split-second and then stood there silently for 59 more seconds.)
  19. The cool thing to do in 6th grade, especially on those long bus rides, was to make gum wrapper chains. Mine was about 10 feet long. Jennifer Steward's was about 20 feet long. She was always cooler than me.
  20. In 1968, integration came to Berkeley. There were high hopes that within a few years Berkeley would be one harmonious, well-educated, fully diverse and integrated city. It was One Big Experiment -- one that seems to have been a huge flop because the families in the wealthier hills areas tended to put their kids in private school instead of sending them to the schools in the poorer "flats." Not my parents; they believed in the aspirations of an integrated school system. So in 6th grade, instead of walking across the street and down the path to John Muir School, I got on a 40-minute bus ride to Lincoln School on Ashby, near the Bay. Among the required reading that year was Yes I Can by Sammy Davis Junior (my only memory of the book was Sammy Davis being forced to drink pee from a soda bottle) and the language taught was Swahili. To get attention, the black and the white boys would fake fights until the principal came onto the playground, and then would laugh and hug. I took Home Ec and made a peasant skirt and shirt out of paisley material. The guys took shop and made stuff out of wood. Oh, and SLAM books! We had SLAM books that were basically a personal written record of who was popular on any given day.
  21. Sometimes I'd go to Suzie Lisker's house after school. Suzie lived on The Uplands, which meant that she was cool, in spite of her sparkly baby blue plastic glasses with rhinestones on the pointy corners. Suzie's mom had a very important job and was one of the few working moms then. Suzie, who had a bizarre haircut that looked normal as long as she wore her clip, but when she took out her clip, that whole strand was twice the length of the rest of her hair, would offer me Sara Lee pound cake from her freezer and I'd go hog wild because we never had American junk food at home!
  22. Claud Mann (who is now the chef on TBS's Dinner and a Movie!) lived next door to us and we'd play at each other's houses. (His house was pink!) One time, we ("we," meaning my brothers, Claud and I... or maybe I was more the tag-along grrrrl) strung string and cans between his house and ours, attempting to make a telephone so we could talk at night. (Use the real telephone? Well you're no fun!) Claud was as feisty and hilarious then as he is now and if I knew what was good for me then, I would have asked him and his straight bowl-cut head of hair to go steady with me. His name does grace quite a few lines of my Dart's bid book, though... because in those days, he was the nerd, nowhere near as cool as Bobby, Duncan or Andy! (Really fun addendum: in 2005, Claud was the "celebrity guest" to the national launch of my videos about youth and nutrition!)
  23. The People's Park riots (in which Michael was arrested... are we even surprised?!) brought the National Guard to Berkeley and seemed to both shut down and rile up the city. For days (weeks?), tear gas was everywhere. I worried constantly about Mom, who taught at Cal. I didn't like the craziness and was scared, rather than motivated by it. I think this had something to do with me becoming a very main-stream goody-goody-rah-rah and even (briefly, I promise) conservative and quite religious in my later teen years. That's how I rebelled!
  24. There were some great stores on College Avenue (the heart of Berkeley's Elmwood district). I wonder if any are still there:
    1. The toy store on the corner of College and Ashby, where I got my favorite Barbie (I still have it; it was from 1961 or so and is probably worth some bucks now!).
    2. The Elmwood Dime Store, where there were tables with bins on them, each filled with something that really did cost a nickel or a dime.
    3. Botts Ice Cream (the best!!).
    4. A donut store right next to the toy store, that had a swinging wood door that would slam when you let go of it, and then it would bounce a few times until it suddenly just shut. (I can still remember the exact sound sequence.) Inside they had the best donut holes in the world.
    5. A shoe store that carried tennis shoes (Sperry?) with the authentic white line down the heel. "The Jennifers" had these, not me. Mom bought my shoes at the cheap Kress store on Shattuck Avenue, where boxes containing plastic shoes costing about $3.00 a pair were thrown onto a table and you'd rummage through them. I so wanted shoes from a store where nice ladies would ask you to sit down and then measure your foot with a smile and then disappear behind the curtain while you chatted lovingly with your mom about what was for dinner.
    6. A Chinese restaurant, the only restaurant my family EVER went to, that had entrees, like won-ton soup, for $1.
    7. The Elmwood Theaters, where Michael and his friends would go to matinees. Once my parents had to pick him up mid-movie (I can't remember why) and I knew that he was sitting in the 7th row (I can't remember why I knew that) and Dad praised me, saying he was easy to find in the dark because I knew where he was.
  25. There was a city dump at the Berkeley Marina, right (I think) where the Radisson Hotel now sits (and where I'd, coincidentally, stay during my many business trips during the production of FUEL). Dad would bring us there occasionally to dump something and we'd climb the piles of trash, looking for treasures. Eeeeeeeewwwwwww!
OK, if you didn't grow up in Berkeley in the 60's, I've just bored you to tears and you're wondering why the hell I thought this could even be a post. I dunno -- it just flowed, memory after memory. Maybe I should cut and paste it to the board I found last night.

And if you did grow up in Berkeley in the 60's, feel free to add to my memories!

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Anonymous said...

Dennis asks if the toy store was Birdy's or Mr. Mopps? The latter I've been to, and I love it. He remembers Botts ice cream, although he frequented Cramers more often.

His mother worked at Cal too, and he remembers her coming home early when the campus was full of tear gas.


Jen said...

This was so cool! I didn't grow up in Berkeley in the 60s, but I did sort of run away there in the late 70s. I know some of these places and it was fun seeing the perspective of being a kid there, since I was 20, and had a different perspective.

Anonymous said...

the toy store on the corner was Merritt Cycle and Toy (It's now a shop selling yogawear) and the Elmwood Dime Store was up the street(long gone) I still have all these little furry animals (real fur!) my sister and I loved to collect. I think they're from Germany,probably worth something now!

Unknown said...
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Carol said...

Anne!! I sure hope you have follow-up comments enabled because I would love to know more about you! I also went to Lincoln, did the tunnel stuff, etc. Please e-mail me!


Anonymous said...

I googled Botts Ice Cream and found your wonderful memories. I worked at Botts for some years (I'm guessing in the 1962-5 period). Mr. Botts only hired graduate students -- I think only married graduate students -- for their reliability & probably desperate need of money. Maybe I scooped a cone for you. My specialty was scooping a core of vanilla inside a ball of whatever else. I still remember Mr. Botts vividly. And, yes, he only used the finest ingredients.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I grew up in almost the same place, only a little bit later. Your friend Susie was my babysitter. BTW she lived on Eucalyptus road, not The Uplands (unless she moved). Her dad Fred was a sporting goods salesman who would give us random freebies like a snow sled(?) and a bb gun. He probably figured we wouldn't be able to get into trouble without snow or bb's, but we did. Fred and Claire still live there.
In the seventies, we rollerskated everywhere. Our favorite spot was a looping dead end at the end of El Camino Real. When we did ride bikes it was along the path between The Uplands and Parkside drive, where a volcano shaped jump sat between two redwood trees provided a constant source of injuries and entertainment. In the summertime we used to raise hell at the Claremont (and it's haunted fourth floor) until the hotel security could round us all up. I remember the spiral slide fire escape, too (so cool -I always wondered what became of it).
The Station is now a mexican restaurant. I didn't know it had once been a gas station, but I do know it was originally a train station for the line that came up Claremont ave. to service the hotel. Berkeley/ Oakland had a light rail system that ran all over the place -I think into the 1960's. The story is that it was bought up and dismantled by a tire company.
Anyway, thanks for the memories!
- H. Schreiber
ps. Adam West was Batman - I think Burt Ward played "Robin".

Carol said...

Great to hear from you, H. Scheiber. Would love to know your first name, because your last name sounds very familiar! Do you have a sister named Andrea?

E-mail or IM me, if you're so inclined!


Brian Mcmurdo said...

I enjoyed your stories! I lived on the North Side of campus and went to Garfield (later King ) jr. High and Berkeley High. My son just graduated from Cal, so over the past four years I've had the opportunity to revisit many of the places that I knew growing up. Berkeley is really a beautiful city. Many places are pretty much the same. You mentioned going down to the dumps. My brother and I used to go fishing at the pier, and also to a really cool little pier near golden gate fields, as I recall. All the perch and sunfish you could catch.

We lived about three blocks or so north of the original Peets on Vine Street. I can remember Mr. Peet and his efforts to keep the street people from hanging out, viz, no tables in the store. Also he named a blend of coffee after the daughter of one of our neighbors, called "Charlottes Blend", which is no longer made.

Other things that Berkeley people might remember are Palmer's Drug Store on Shattuck and University, where I learned my distaste for pigeons while waiting to transfer busses from high school, also there used to be a little island on Shattuck there is gone, as are the awnings on the Palmer's building. There was a little shoe store, I think called Owl Shoe and Repair there, and a sort of strange little man who worked there and seemed to really hate kids. Maybe he had good reason, I can't remember. Oscars on Hearst is still there, filthy as ever and still serving up a pretty good hamburger.

Brian Mcmurdo said...

I think Birdy's toys was near the intersection of University and Shattuck or maybe a block or so south.

Anonymous said...

I'm a neighbor from "up the path" on Oakridge, #30 to be exact.
Famous for our rope swing and tree house. No,not Micheal and Jeff's tree house. Mine and Kip's.
I saw "Mickey" at a recent John Muir reunion at "Dart's".
I saw Julie(julie and pete) about a year ago....looks just like she did. Last saw Pete 2o years ago. I still have a bottle of their Hounds Home Brew with "Gladys" on the label. Gladys and my dog Cindy were great pals. I see Bob and Diane Burger(now Dove) several times a year, Kip and Steve Berger less often, Jeff, not in over a decade. I see your cousin Claudia at BHS reunions. I have been taking my 3 y/o daughter to the 4th of July parade on Parkside/Plaza (yes it is still going on strong 45 years later)
I found your site by a very round about way. I bought an air compressor from a family in Danville named Saum. I googled "Saum Berkeley" and your site was #2.

PS, don't forget J.T.Ward Reality (Domingo, where the Bread Garden is now).
(J stood for Jay) Jay Ward created
Crusader Rabbit, Rocky The Flying Squirel and Bullwinkle T. Moose.
Also the tennis matches were at the Berkeley Tennis Club not the Claremont. You might recall, the Claremont only had those weed infested courts way down the hill from the pool. There was a giant pond where there now sits some of the Claremont's tennis court.

Whitney Johnson
now a Berkeley dentist.

Carol said...

Hi Whitney! I DO remember you! You were a toe-head blond and lived at the very top of the path on the left as you reach the end of the path... right? I think you were a few years younger than me. Do you remember my little brother Chris? My brother Michael (Mickey back then) is still good friends with Jeff Berger who, I believe, is in Sebastopol.

Please say HI to Diana and Bobby for me! I'd love to get back in touch with them!


Thanks for leaving a comment!

Anonymous said...

That toe-head would be me. However, now at 51 my head really does look like my well as a cue ball. Sure,I remember Chris and Stephen. I should be seeing Diane my office. Bobby ( & vicky) live very close by (3-4 blocks). I'll share your hello and this site.
BTW, we were on the same school bus
bound for lovely Lincoln Elementary, until I got kicked off. I never understood that, as Suanne Kaufman was the one that slapped me silly, there were plenty of witnesses.

I still see other locals fairly frequently: Sam Singer, Jim Pedemonte and his mom, Susie Lisker and Jim Patmont, John, Emelda, Megan (nakahara), Kate and daughter Kelsey Oliver, Mario,Bob and Mark Barsotti. Saw Andy and Ted Turner a couple years back.

I walk the ole hood with my golden retrievers while remembering the good ole days often.


dferrier said...

I'm guessing that you're Carol H. (can't remember how to spell your last name!). You have so many of the same memories that I have, but mine are from the Emerson/Elmwood perspective. Dart Tinkham's is a shared memory for all of us, as were the cool kids from Parkside (I can remember Stuart Todd and I chasing Jennifer McNary and Kathy Tashima around the yard at Lincoln in 6th grade. You and I were in the same grade, did you have Mr. Wong in 6th at Lincoln? Dave Hansell did, I've stayed in touch with him a little, but more in touch with Don Coulter and Bill (now Wilie) Carmichael. I have a memory of looking down Hillegass Ave. from Parker St. while on my Oakland Tribune paper route and watching protesters tearing down the fence and the pavement at People's Park. I even delivered Patty Hearst and Stephen Weed's newspaper to the apartment on Benvenue that she was kidnapped from.

Email me sometime. Dave Ferrier dferrier at chiphousing dot org

dferrier said...
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Unknown said...

There are so many things on this blog that bring back the memories. My family lived at 2925 Ashby, where a commune formerly or still exists. My grandparents lived on Hazel Road where their back fence bordered John Muir's playground. I believe that your tunnel came out on their next door neighbor's property on Hazel Rd.
We went to St. Clements Episcopal on Claremont.
Mom was very involved in Girl Scouts as were my five sisters, but I don't remember the troop number. We moved up to Davis in 1968, just before People's park happened. Everytime I visit the old neighborhood, I have to walk up Pine path from Russell St. to Avalon.

Unknown said...
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Carol said...

Claudine, if you're reading this, please send me your e-mail address (send to!! The comment doesn't provide me with any information I can use to contact you and I would LOVE to be back in touch! Will look for you on FaceBook, too.


Mary Mann said...

This is so random! My dad is you brother's old friend. His name is Eric DeVos. I was looking for Jeff Burger because when I was little he took some of the best pictures (treasures)of my family! I am friends with Suz,Mike and the girls on facebook:) Guess I will have to ask Mike if he has a website. This is sooo cool. Your memories of that time are so dear to me. If you have any memories of my dad or family please send or blog maybe. I have never blogged before:) I remember Julie Dahlstrand that lived next door to my dad. She rented the apartment of the house to the left of my grandmother's house-well the yard that was joined with my grandmother's anyway. I miss her. We lost contact. Last I knew she was dating a man who owned a bakery up there. I heard a story from her that my dad and his friends would slide down the Claremont hotels laundry shoot?! I have such fond memories of Berkeley. The smells, the way it was easy like a Mediterranean holiday-another world ya know? Living in the mid-west is sooo different to put it mildly. Thanks for the memories. You are now my first blog that I have subscribed to:)

Carol said...


Wow, those are ALL names near and dear to me! I would love to correspond with you, but you left no information! Please e-mail me at carolhsnider(at)gmail(dot)com!!

Carol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fritz said...

My brother and I used to go to Birdy's; it was a block south of University, on Shattuck. Lots of really cool toys...quality stuff, like Schuco cars from Germany. My friends and I used to run through the Claremont Hotel and did ride the fire escape; one friend mistakenly went[straight]down the laundry chute, fortunately landing on some dirty sheets. Berkeley was coolest before the late 60's...LaVal's pizza, the Northside theater, and the bookstores were some of my favorite places. I lived in Richmond but spent lots of time in Berkeley...saw Bob Dylan and The Band at the Community Theater. Pretty cool. PS I love your photographs.

Carol said...

Hey Tom! Great to have you stop by! (What photos are you referring to? There are none in this post...)I wonder if you might have known my brothers? Do you still live in Richmond? A friend from my Berkeley childhood, Alex Pimentel, lives there; do you know him?

fritz said...

I lived in Richmond until 1968 and then left for the Northwest...lived in Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho. Attended Harry Ells High School and left town ASAP. Recently walked around the UC campus but didn't particularly enjoy it...maybe it was just the weather...or just old age catching up with a lot of mixed memories. It's interesting to read everyone else's recollections. This Christmas I would have loved to step back in time with my brother and go shopping at [long gone] Birdy's.

fritz said...

Just thought of a few other things: skateboarding down Marin...lots of running around in Tilden Park[still a great place],Wildcat Canyon, and up on Grizzly Peak...going to a Cal-Stanford game would still be a lot of fun--just look at all the oldtimers each year. I remember the cool old redwood homes in the Berkeley hills...along narrow, twisting streets...and there is still something very unique about those neighborhoods. Lots of really cool architecture and homes built with skill and pride.

L K C J said...

Wow, this brings back memories too--especially the stores on College Ave--Merritt Cycle and Toy, Botts (my mom always loved their toasted almond, my sister their Rocky Road). The donut shop was Dream Fluff, one of the few memories I have of being just me and my mom was getting an old fashioned there and walking back up the hill.

We grew up on El Camino, did the chutes at the Claremont until they were booby trapped?? or somehow not safe to sneak into.

Jackson's Liquor, on the corner, was a place we spent lots of time (in the parking lot...y'know.) I think I'm a few years behind you, I went to John Muir and remember the dry ice the lunch ladies would drop in the stream and we'd watch it smoke up. I remember Ms Purifoy at John Muir, and how she'd take the 1st grade class on a field trip to her house in the hills that she shared with her "friend"--even at 6 I knew she was the kind of cool I wanted to be.

Star Grocery--I aspired to be a kid with an account there--Nancy Lamb (from Pine and Webster) and I would go and charge Ritz crackers and other junk food and eat it in one afternoon....the Pappas' who owned the store were a great family and lived on our block.

May Fair, I can't believe I had forgotten that and the shaving cream that always accompanied it....

My nephew is married to Clare Burger, and we're still in touch with many of the old neighborhood kids--Burgers, Olivers, Pearlsteins, Nelsons, Jones', Shearers, Barsottis, etc.

Even though it seemed crazy at the time, what a great place to grow up!

Also, regarding shoes, just today I was telling my kids about "McPhee's Junior Bootery" just off Shattuck--do you remember that? They gave balloons when you bought shoes. My mom was too "frugal" to shop there, so we always had shoes with the wrong number of stripes.

--Lise Kauffman
liseka *at* comcast *dot* net

Unknown said...

Memories of Berkeley!
My - OOO - My from the infamous one second kisser?
We moved from Sixty Six and Dana St. in Oakland a block and a half from the SmokeHouse (the best char broiled berger I can remember) on Telegraph and Sixty Six St. to Brookside Ave in the Claremont Dist. in 1966.
I was ten and went to school at Berkwood a private school in Berkeley that was a very liberal and different from what i was about to experience in my new school John Muir.

Carol said...

Duncan? Duncan McCoy?! The infamous 1-second kisser? (No, wait -- that was me!) Is that you?! Wow -- long time, no... see! Send me e-mail and let me know what you've been up to these last, oh, 44 years or do!

Liz Logan said...

What fun memories. Here are some very disjointed comments: I lived on Claremont between Woolsey & Eaton. I don't think girls went down the fire escape slide in my day. Just a few days ago I was wondering where else sourgrass grew. I've never seen it in GA. Miss Saum? rabbit. I had forgotten about the Burgers! not sure if there was one exactly my age. Star Market is still there. it's gone somewhat upscale. girls AND boys danced at the Mayfair. We were matched up by height. I was the shortest girl at that age. Apple Turnover? wow, you are my hero! I played bars, but was pretty timid. You saw BATMAN! Can I touch your hand? Cool about The Station being the train terminus! I met older folks who told me they rode the E train into the city--that's what the second deck of the bridge was for, the trains. I still have my Dart's books, too. But how could you forget GIRLS CHOICE? Peter Truman, I'm talking about you! I know what you mean about Uplands envy. Claremont Ave was the dividing line between the social classes, and I lived on the "wrong" side of the street. After integration, we had to read Malcolm X. Which is why we voted to change the name of the school. Dream Fluff donuts is still there. I think there has been an Elmood Theatre revival; it reopened after being closed for many years (I think there was a fire). See you on facebook!

Unknown said...

Hey Liz! I'm here to say that some of us girls DID go down the Claremont slides, but I was scared to death! The kid rumor was if you were caught you'd be sent to juvenile hall for life (doesn't make any sense, but as a 9-year-old I bought it). I also remember French fried artichoke hearts at The Station and sneaking into the Claremont pool through a hole in the fence. We lived on Forest Ave, right near the blind and deaf school (I went to Emerson), so we interacted with those kids a fair amount. I learned a lot from that. Fun to hear all these memories!
Cory Fisher

Unknown said...
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Dantana said...

I was born in Berkeley in 1965 and grew up with 7 siblings on Milvia St. I remember Kress's, Birdys, McFarlanes ice cream , McClartys where we bought baseball cards. Whittier school where I went to school and played baseball on summer days until the sun went down. And I'm still here in Berkeley after 49 years. Things have changed but I'll always have those wonderful memories of the late 60's and 70''s .

David Gray said...

Hi- We lived at 226 Hillcrest, a couple doors east of Dart Tinkham's Jan '66 - Mar '68. I remember you and was freinds with Stephan. I think we were in Miss Gertrude Pennycamp's 5th grade class together. That year i became somewhat infamous for getting run down by a bicycle at John Muir in a Saturday and having my leg broken. Dr. Barber set it. I was a patrol boy (crossing guard). I used to buy plastic model kits at both Merritt & Birdie's, but you had to be over 18 to buy the glue. We used to go to an ice cream place on Shadduck called Edie's, which is now, i think, the Apple Store.

Unknown said...

Lived on Berkeley Way & Grove in early 60's, used to watch trucks loading up behind U-Save (I used to walk to that store often - I recall it was 1/2 grocery on the right and 1/2 variety store on the left). I had a friend who's dad used to work for the Berkeley Bard. Used to walk to that park on Grove & Center and play in that big cement tube. "Hiked" up Strawberry Creek at CAL. Oscars, Birdy's Toy Store on Shattuck, double features at the movie theater on University, catching the F-Bus to San Francisco with my grandpa to visit the zoo. I lived at Francisco & Grove in 1964 and walked to 4th grade at Whittier - I remember playing handball there. Stopping at some little store on Grove on the way home & buying a stick of beef jerky out of a huge glass jar. Went to Madeleine Catholic School for 1/2 a year and then transferred to Marin elementary. My grandparents lived on Josephine & Rose. Great memories.

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