Boo’s in Town

November 6, 2015

I don’t know who started it, but someone way back when, possibly nearly 60 years ago, nicknamed Betsy, “Betsy Boo,” and ever since, that’s who she’s been… to at least a sizable handful of us. We don’t always call her that, but if someone says Boo did this or said that, we know it’s Betsy. One of the funniest things I ever heard Peter say when I said we’d be seeing one of my oldest friends at some gathering was, “Oh, Betsy Boo’s going to be there?”.. not realizing that was a nickname (he probably didn’t even know for nicknames). It was so innocently inquisitive, such a genuine response to my casual statement, like, Oh, Harold’s going to be there? Great!

Just struck me as so sweet.

Betsy and I met when she was days old. I was three months her senior, but we were fast friends, spending a lot of playpen time together (playpens… can you imagine those now?).  Living at the beach, we may have romped in the sand and surf together too, who knows.

Our two families, along with a third–the Hesses–all lived on 39th Street in Manhattan Beach and were great friends. My dad and Mr. Hesse were hired on in the nascent days of TRW (in fact, Mr. Hesse hired my dad), and ended up working together their entire careers. After hours, and with the wives, much 50s-style socializing ensued on 39th (it was the cocktail and cigarette era, after all). Even as we all moved out of bungalows and into bigger homes elsewhere (Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills and Long Beach), we continued to share holidays, milestones, and generally remained close. Between us, eventually, there were 13 kids. Our Christmas Eve tradition was particularly memorable… well… it all was.

Only two of the older generation remain… my mom and Betsy’s mom. But the kids are keeping up the bonds. Yay us.

Anyway, for the first time ever, after literally decades of saying she oughta, Betsy came to Davis for a visit.

Today, we did some Davis-y things…. Compassion Corner, public art, lunch at Bernardo’s, downtown strolling, the Artery, Natsoulas Gallery, the arboretum, campus, the eggheads, a bike ride, the Old North, the Davis Food Coop, drinks at Vini, dinner (Season’s), a movie at the Varsity (Suffragette)… and lots of talking.

Some pics:

In the redwoods…


(Blurry and distorted, but at near-60, we like it that way.)

At the Natsoulas gallery, in a stairwell–possibly between the 3rd and 4th floors–an unlabeled sculpture sits crammed among unlabeled paintings in the shadows of late afternoon sun…


In the main gallery… I loved these perspective paintings… so appealing in every way…


This also really appealed to me… also hung unceremoniously in a cluttered hallway…


At the Artery’s gallery…


The above is a wood carving… which, when viewed up close, is unimaginably detailed, painstakingly chiseled, carefully painted…


Oh, how I loved her work.

And oh what the drought hath wrought. I think some of this is seasonal, some the result of generally poor flow and aeration, and some from lack of sufficient rainfall. I think. In any case, it’s gross. I think fish and other creek life is suffocating; we saw a guy collecting dead fish in a net.  I don’t know where the skimming boats are, and I don’t know how concerned the scientists are, but I was freaked out by it.


Still, algae aside, it was a great Day#1.


To Sir with Love

November 6, 2015

Ended an already lovely day with an incredibly enjoyable evening at the Odd Fellows Hall. I wish I’d clued into this sooner, but hope I won’t miss many more of these…. free concerts on the first Thursdays of the month put on by the IOOF (International Order of…).  Indeed, that’s what mailing lists are for… so added myself and will look forward to the next one.

Tonight’s featured two groups of overlapping musicians.  The first was The Cups–Tracy Walton, Chris Webster (of Mumbo Gumbo fame), Kathy Elzey and guitarist Tom Phillips. Mostly 30s-40s music, harmonies so lyrical, so incredibly lush and smooth. Maybe favorite song, probably because I knew it well but hadn’t heard it in decades, “Yellow Bird.” Here’s the rendition I remember (Kingston Trio): 

But even better were Webster, Walton and Edwards (Bill).


The harmonies were also there..lots of songs from their CD, which I’ve nearly worn a hole through, and love, and lots of other songs from the Mumbo Gumbo songbook. Fantastic. AND, Chris sang a version of To Sir With Love (Lulu, remember?). I felt totally silly being brought to tears, but there it is.

Fortunately they moved into some rockin’ and bluesy and folksy numbers, so I could just return to my good, general toe tappin’.

So happy.