Alice's 80th birthday bash
June 22-24, 2013 - Berkeley, CA
This 3-day event involved 3 venues: Toll Room, Alumni House, UC Berkeley campus (Saturday),
Rachel's house in Pleasant Hill (Sunday), and Giovanni Italian Restaurant (Monday).
Red square (upper right) = Rachel's house. Red rectangle (lower left) = approx. area of next map.
A = Toll Room. B = Giovanni restaurant. C = Durant Hotel (where Alice & Larry stayed).
The inside of the shower curtain in A&L's hotel room. Alice was very impressed by this.
Picture above sink in A&L's hotel room. Only in Berkeley ...
Gift from Myklos (physicist from Hungary; teaches at Columbia U.) and wife Giorgi to A&L
at Saturday's event. From the Casa de Chocolates HECHO AL MANO in Berkeley.
Saturday June 22: Buffet dinner in Toll Room, UC Berkeley campus. The projector and
screen were used for Larry's Powerpoint slideshow after dinner (see the slides here).
[Here and elsewhere on this page, comments by Alice are in blue.]
Friends came from as far away as Ecuador and Germany to celebrate my 80th birthday.
Seated at my right was my old friend Howard Keylor. Howard and I had not seen each other
in person for 53 years, but picked up the conversation as if no time had elapsed at all.
After dinner there was a gigantic "Favorite Dessert" (chocolate wafers arranged
in rows with whipped cream between them) prepared ahead of time by Rachel.
A series of photo collages (prepared by Rachel) of Alice throughout her life.
Sunday, June 23: The setting (prior to arrival of guests) for
brunch at Rachel's house. Theme = Alice in Wonderland.
The table had a beautiful vase of flowers in the center, and next to it is something blue:
If I zoom in on that, we can read what its label urges us to do:
The food was as wonderful as the decor, and each dish offered us was both lovely to look at
and delicious to taste. We were surrounded by friends as we were the evening before -- a
few had been able to come to one event and not the other, and things seemed to even out.
I admired the tables set out on the patio. The peacock-blue satin napkins we had used at dinner the night before
were now laundered and ironed, and first a satin napkin and then a rainbow-colored paper napkin were rolled
around the pieces of each place setting and tied with a slender purple ribbon. In the center of our table were
evidence of a tea party, more vials with labels, and scatterings of playing cards from another time and country,
making me remember how playing-card painters had painted white roses red to please the Red Queen.
This is Isis, Howard K's stepdaughter. She brought me a small and extraordinary ABC book that she
had made. It was truly marvelous, and I wish I knew a publisher that might be tempted to do it.
Note the scarf around my neck -- it was a gift the night before from our friend Nu, one of the Wuhan
physicists whom we also see in the U.S., and is made of the softest silk I have ever felt in my life.
Monday, June 24: At David's house in Berkeley, around 1 PM:
Rachel had brought us all a picnic lunch composed of leftovers from her brunch on Sunday. The plates are set
on the mosaic table that David made years ago, I think he was in HS when he finished it. I used it for years.
Front: Larry, Yolanda Wuth (old friend from Ecuador; see Powerpoint show), Alice.
Back: Steve (A's son), Don (A's brother), Rachel (A's daughter), David (A's son).
Alice is wearing the "key to Wonderland" (a favorite gift) from the Sunday brunch.
David and Yolanda compare their new boots.
Mo Park (David's friend) and Yolanda.
On Monday evening, a smaller group of family/ friends gathered for dinner at Giovanni Italian Restaurant.
Unfortunately, nobody took photos at this event.
However, Yolanda did keep the candles from the tiramisu cake (see description below), and posed them with some pastries many weeks later
when she was back in Ecuador.
Giovanni's is a cozy place with excellent food and an attentive, friendly staff -- a place quiet enough to allow
conversation. The birthday cake served at the conclusion of the dinner was as spectacular as the one at the Saturday dinner, and was exactly what I had
"subtly" requested: a round tiramisu torte with candles created using a huge spring-form pan, big enough to give each of us a generous slice.
We were separated from the rest of the restaurant by a fire pit, and it really felt as though we had the restaurant all to ourselves. I was surrounded
once more by those dear to me whom I do not see as often as I'd like. On my right was Helmut Satz, a friend from Germany who was also with us when we celebrated
my 70th birthday in Trento, Italy.
I blew out all the candles on EACH of the two birthday cakes, so I like to think I shall get my wish; it was the same one both times.
I shall never forget this Birthday Bash, or the friends who came -- so many of them long distances! -- to be there with me.