You write. Your friends say, “I liked it.” They say, “You’re really a good writer,” like it still comes as a surprise. You don’t blame them. If everyone could say something memorable, everyone would be Oscar Wilde.
The two Asian-American women to our left had come from San Jose to Berkeley’s Greek Theater because the brother of one, who was boyfriend to the other, had been a great fan of the evening’s headliner; and the women knew, if he had not died six months before, he would have been at the concert. In fact, they believed him there now. Each held his photograph to contemplate, while they smoked the joints through which the music reached them, beneath the chill, grey, starless sky.
The presidential nomination convention season always reminds me of tripping over Governor Lawrence.
There was a time in my lifetime when an opposition to the economic inequality which fuels the Occupy movement’s fire had a significant champion in this land. But that was long ago, a fog-flogged far away – and burned with more fundamental fervor.
My Uncle Manny, a doctor, was at the Battle of the Bulge. When he came home, he lived with us on 46th Street. After he moved out, he left behind a collection of German beer steins and some books. He never talked about the war in my presence, and only one of those books pertained to it: the cartoonist Bill Mauldin’s Up Front.
When I was a boy, my father took me to westerns (Whispering Smith, Red River) and my mother to musicals and Disneys (Easter Parade, So Dear to My Heart).
But once I entered fourth grade (1951), my parents decided I was old enough to attend Saturday matinees alone.
Some of you know the story. It was briefly the rage in New York and London in 1998. But in my cultural backwater of Berkeley, where people were still plotting the revolution, I had never heard it. So when Robert the K, noted glass artist and critic, told me about a book he had just finished, I asked to borrow it. This book, Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-1960 was by William Boyd
Brandeis accepted me on a Thursday, May, 1960. Friday, it dropped football. I had two varsity letters. I should have read the sign. I was leaving a land that valued touchdowns and jump shots for a preserve where the only score that brought respect was your G.P.A. “A place,” said Don Nussbaum, a disgruntled power forward from Rockville Center, “run by the first ones out in dodgeball.”