Berkeley: Then and Now By CAROLYN SELL (Berkeley High School class of ‘67 and proud of it)

Tuesday December 27, 2005

THEN: Ozzie knew us all by name and welcomed “loitering.” Wells Fargo accepted nickels and dimes from my whole class and gave us our first lesson in financial planning. 

NOW: Signs on merchant doors—“only one student at a time.” 


THEN: Front door left unlocked and the biggest crime was kids stealing cherries off the tree in my backyard and plums off the street trees. 

NOW: Just read the Planet’s Police Blotter every week. 


THEN: BPD arrested us for jaywalking when going from BHS to Provo Park. 

NOW: Can’t we have a crosswalk mid-block for our “entitled” kids who can’t possibly walk to the corner? 


THEN: Botts served up one scoop for a nickel and two for a dime. 

NOW: You shouldn’t be eating ice cream anyway but if you are, pull out a fiver. 


THEN: Schools were our playgrounds, safe and unfenced, and within walking distance of our homes. 

NOW: Have you arranged enough play-dates for your kid this week? 


THEN: Edy’s with the best hot fudge sauce in the world. 

NOW: Scharffen Berger? Not even a close second! 


THEN: Single families in single-family dwellings supporting the best school programs in the country. 

NOW: Mayor Bates and his developer cronies giving us high-rises with 400-square-foot rabbit warrens for students, transients, low-income and commuting singles. 


THEN: Close down Shattuck Avenue for the Big Game parade every year. 

NOW: Close down Derby Street and trash the Farmers’ Market so that the ASFU can overrun and over-schedule yet another section of green open space in our city. 


THEN: Walking door-to-door collecting donations for the United Crusade from neighbors who were our friends. 

NOW: Do you even know the name of the person who lives three doors down from you? 


THEN: Great movies on all of those BIG screens downtown … for the price of a quarter. 

NOW: Have you got $10 for a show on a postcard-sized screen at Hink’s? Don’t worry about it—you can’t park anyway so you might as well go to Emeryville or Albany. 


THEN: Brennan’s blue-collar ambiance, good cheap food, and the best Irish coffee in the East Bay. 

NOW: Brennan’s blue-collar ambiance, good cheap food, and the best Irish coffee in the East Bay. What? We’d better tear it down! It’s not “historical.”