Wednesday, May 10, 2006


People's Republic of Berkeley!

The day started with a drive to Berkeley for lunch with Anastasia’s parents Charles and Terese at a little cafe around the corner from their home: Chez Panisse, the jewel of Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto”. We left a book for proprietress Alice Waters, who has been inspired by her experiences in Turkey.

Afterwards Anastasia drove Jennifer through neighborhoods where spring rains had turned free-form residential gardens into fantastical blossoming behemoths which threatened to envelop the houses!

At our Black Oak Books appearance where we were joined by Catherine Salter Bayar, the manager Lewis Klausner had his hands full trying to rustle enough chairs—they were filling up as quickly as he could put them out. We were pleased to have such a strong crowd, considering 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi was speaking at another venue nearby. In the end more than 60 people were in attendance at Black Oak, with many patrons having to stand throughout the presentation, like the white-maned senior bicyclist who kept his helmet on the entire night! Familiar faces from Anastasia’s past included family friends and colleagues like artist Diana Wolfbear, and Berkeley Hills Realty brokers Nancy Mueller and Peter Damm. Anastasia's Sacramento-based sister Monika sent her friends Tosha Davis and Colleen Stanturf. Also present were a lively contingent from the Bryn Mawr Club of Northern California, bringing the alum count to 16: Doris Beers, Faith Wallace-Godsen, Mary Aline Stevens, Kathleen Greene Orloff, and Kate Makofske. Black Oak quickly sold out of its EH stock.

Catherine's artist pal Kim Smith was on hand as were Alicia’s turkophile friends Maryam Ghassemzadeh, her father, and her husband Mohammed Kolahdooz invited us to their home for a fabulous feast Maryam prepared. Lovers of Turkey, they have had a summer home in Bodrum for many years now.

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