picture of the day
the boondocks premiere

telegraph avenue anecdotes

Robin and I lived on Telegraph Avenue from mid-1974 through June of 1975. We lived in an apartment situated over the old Moe's Books (where Shambala is now), back when Moe still sold records in the basement. One time we left for a long weekend ... as usual, the sink was full of dirty dishes ... there was a leak of some sort, the sink overfilled, the water went to the floor, the floor leaked to the room beneath us, and that's how we found out we lived directly over Moe's Books.

Moe's wife was our landlady, or at least, she's the person whose name we wrote on the rent check. She was a nice lady, as I recall. Moe was, well, Moe, which meant he was usually yelling at us for parking in his spot or something like that. One time a friend of ours who worked at Moe's got married, and when we went to the wedding, there was Moe, dressed just like he did at the store, smoking a cigar.

We didn't have much money in those days, and so for entertainment we'd sit on the window ledge and watch the people on Telegraph. Tania, er, Patty Hearst supposedly made appearances there, but I can't say that I ever saw her. There were regulars, and we made up names for them, including one white guy with a huge afro that we called Bernie O'Cedar, O'Cedar because he looked like you could use his head as a mop, Bernie because there was a white guy on Room 222 who had a big 'fro and his name was Bernie. (The actor who played Bernie now plays in a rock band with Billy Mumy and Michael Ferrer.) One day Robin was walking down the street and she saw Bernie, and she went up to him and said "hey, what's your name?" He told her his name and she replied "Oh, that's not what we call you."

There was other stuff that happened ... the night Ali beat Foreman, people celebrated in the street, and when Saigon fell/was liberated in '75, two different parades started up, one coming down Telegraph towards campus, the other coming downhill on Haste, and when the two parades, who couldn't see each other as we could from our window, met up at the corner of Telegraph and Haste, there was great fanfare.

But the thing I remember most about our apartment on Telegraph, besides the part where Neal was born (which is why we moved out, into a house in West Berkeley), is this guy across the hall who was like the building super or something. One day there's a knock on the door, and when we open it, there's this guy, standing there. With a bucket. With a fish in the bucket. And the guy isn't wearing anything except a pair of white socks.