When I moved here in the year 2000, I knew Alameda had potential. I’d drive down Park Street to the Boniere Bakery when Donna still owned it and I marveled at the fact that I could park right outside, unlike anywhere in the Gourmet Ghetto in Berkeley. Donna ran an amazing bakery and sadly, the old guard in Alameda made it abundantly clear her “new fangled” desserts were too rich for their palates. Between their moaning and the need to upgrade the kitchen to code she called it quits. But I credit her and Justin for starting the change.
I’d stroll down the street looking in the vacant store fronts and occasionally when my children insisted, I would buy some donuts at the Golden Whatchamacallit. I still remember a bunch of tired looking folks bemoaning the changes they saw. I remember wondering, what changes? Remembering the vibrancy of a 24th Street in Noe Valley, I thought, change would be good, this place is too charming to be a ghost town.
Therefore, it made me really happy to hear a nice old woman in the 3 Wishes Gift Store rambling on and on to the clerk about the changes:
“I’ve lived here since 1955 and I’ve NEVER seen so many people strolling up and down the street, it’s amazing! What do you think it is? The cinema?”
Frankly, I think it’s the corporate blessings that Peets bestows on an area, because even though there were some local coffee spots before, somehow the confluence of Peets and the Historic Theater makes the “place.”
Every week I walk downtown I invariably meet someone I know. Today I was glad to yet again run into familiar faces, this time the Martin family, Averie, Torin, Jennifer, and Escrivan.
Bright eyed and beautiful, this healthy foursome were gracing the street. They have an amazing life story thus far, as I hear it, Jennifer almost made it to the Olympics in kickboxing with the help of Ercivan her husband who formerly ran Amsterdam Kickboxing and is now a formidable looking police officer.
Her two kids train martial arts with Erik and I and we both consider it an honor that two such highly trained athletes choose to have us teach their children.
I also ran into two groups of Scavenger Hunters armed with digital cameras. It seemed an amazing coincidence since a friend of my son had also planned a birthday Scavenger Hunt for today. I was told I smell nice and was asked if I could “roll” my tongue for the camera–so–sucker that I am for a compliment– I did and now there is a nice photo of my Variations on a Rolled Tongue Theme on someone’s camera.
All in all a lovely day a nearly perfect make up for missing out on the trip I was scheduled to take with Erik to Chicago to see the Fedor-Brett Rogers fight and train with Sean Tompkins and Andre Arloffsky. Well, almost…still would have liked to go.