12/29/2006

Berkeley Surprise

We started out for field trip to explore near-by Berkeley.
Oops, need coffee.
So - - an unscheduled stop at the Whole Foods store on a corner of San Pablo .
I took my camera inside thinking to grab a few still life shots in the store. Not gonna happen. I raised the camera and a woman wearing her Whole Foods apron called out, "sorry maam, you can't take photos here."
"What? Why?"
"You will have to ask the manager." I decided to follow that up. Why no photographs - is this a terrorist target?

I had to wait a few minutes for her to come down from her cat-walk office to speak with me, I assured her I just had a couple of friendly questions.
" I am an artist. I like to take photos of produce and store displays but several people have told me there are rules against photographs. Why?
"Its marketing. We are very particular about our set-ups and proud of them and we protect them from our competitors. I have a friend who is a food photographer and I can't let her take shots in here."

So - nothing personal, except my disappointment. It is a beautiful store. I would have loved to spend some time in there snapping away.

Back in the car I told my daughter about my conversation with the manager - she laughed. "I am not surprised. Did you buy anything? Notice the prices? People call this place, "Whole Pay Check."

Our next stop was a salvage yard - a yard which specializes in vintgage house leavings. My daughter watches home remodeling tv shows and is planning a re-model of her home. I am past that stage and was impatient at having to make this stop.


OK! OK!
It was interesting - old windows, doors, claw foot bath tubs, the remnants of a church that had been chopped up - from the communion railing to stained glass windows.

I wandered through aisles of this stuff and had begun to lose interest when I turned a corner.
Wow!
Metal skates, with ball bearing wheels. I had a pair like these. My skates are long gone and I had not thought about them in years.

Looking at these skates brought back a flood of memories.

I got my first pair of real skates, like these, for Christmas when I was ten years old.
They were my "wheels".

I lived in a neighborhood with sidewalks. With my skates I could go anywhere within my zone - to my grandmother's house a mile away; to the Big Star grocery store; to the Plaza Movie Theater on Saturday morning for the kiddie show. On skates I had a special kind of kid freedom.

The metal skate key was all important. You used it to tighten the toe clamps and to shorten the one-size skates to fit kid-size feet. I put the key onto a long plaid shoe string; then tied the ends together and wore that key necklace around my neck. When I walked the heavy key thuddded against against my chest. I wore it everywhere I went, whether I was skating or not. My key necklace was my badge of independence.



Later I saw two boys on skateboards in the neighborhood. I stood at the kitchen sink watching them glide from side to side of the cul de sac. It looked so graceful, so effortless, so free. I asked ten year old Scotty if he thought I could ride a skateboard.
"yeah, I guess you could - if you can keep your balance, jump the curbs and are crazy enough to try it."

Hmmm! Why bother - especially since they don't have a key.