4.30.2009

All Things Hogwarts - Not Really.

So the morning Alex and I left for our Cal excursion, I posted on twitter "9.5. yo son thinks Cal will be like Hogwarts. Yeah-No." And the @Cal Alumni twitter account picked that up and broadcast it on their twitter feed. I was pretty amused. But honestly, Alex knee deep wading through all the Hogwarts lore figured, well, it's a 140 year old university so there would have to be some Hogwarts-like things there. Right?


I wracked my brain to provide him just that. But our first stop was at Top Dog. Man, those hot dogs are the best. I so missed them. It was a toss up between those, Blondie's Pizza and Yogurt Park for our lunch menu. Top dog won out because it was the first place we found.



And there's a gratuitous shot of Telegraph Avenue. With all the vendors still lining the sidewalks. But I must admit, the stores are a lot more corporate than I remember. I missed Cody's Books. It was all shuttered and empty. So many good memories there. How I wish I could have spent an hour or two walking through their book shelves one more time. All those books. Mhmm. And the musty smell associated with really old bindings. Nothing like that on earth.

Okay, so we were back to search for Hogwarts-like places...sort of. The above is the library on campus. It used to be the third largest in the U.S. when I went there. Harvard and the Library of Congress held the top two spots.


Most of the Reading Rooms have been converted to accommodate laptops and resulting network connections. But, the North Reading Room still looked the same. How I remember sunsets lighting up those windows. And the accompanying moonlit nights when the only glow would be that of the lamps above the desks. Alex thought I'd hit the jackpot here with Most Hogwarts-like Ambiance.

Alex asked where would Dumbledore work. My guess was the Administration building. Home of thousands of famous protests on Sproul Plaza. Some even when I was there. None were happening on that day. It was sunny, beautiful and the steps held people enjoying the sunshine and their lunches.

Sather Gate. It leads up to Sproul Plaza. I caught this picture of Alex walking confidently towards it. I so hope that in about eight years, I can catch the same shot again. He'll be taller and an enrolled student there and he'll still be walking away from me.

Then in a moment of Let's Just Do It and mostly because my darling BFF Lorraine, was there encouraging me with goading comments and reminders that we met over two decades ago, we started the long walk up to International House. It was much longer than we expected or remembered. Dear God, the slow incline on a warm day nearly killed me and I wondered how did I do that several times a day?
We paused at the Pacific Film Archive because Alex asked me where the film classes were held. And seeing as I snuck into dozens of them in my time there, I knew the entrance rather well. Here's to my son, the future award winning director. May you go there. Or better yet, UCLA, if that's your chosen profession.


Finally, we made it to I-House. The fireplace still stood although on this unexpectedly warm day, it wasn't lit.

I remember endless moments spent waiting for friends on those couches and dozing off on them while waiting. There was, of course, someone doing that on the other side. Things change. Things stay the same. Like in spite of email, there are still the wonderful little mailboxes in the Mail Room. How I loved getting letters and cards from my friends.


Yes, in case you were wondering, I was scoring Big Time on Alex's Will It Be Like Hogwarts' Scale. Because I took him up to the Dining Commons.

And then to the patio in the middle of the four towers. And yes, the fountain still stands. We used to show movies on the walls above. I decided it would be wise to leave out the part about drinking and in general being a part of I-House's trouble-making contingent. It was all very mild, let me tell you and fun.

On our way back, we stopped by another Ritual Place, Cafe Strada although in my time it was known as Cafe Roma. It, too, looked unchanged.

Amazingly delicious iced mochas and a hug from my son for being a cool mom and showing him around her college.

And yes, that commemorative shot. My BFF, Lorraine and I. We met on the first day our little heels stepped on that campus. Our very first day at Cal. And we're still in touch. Still goofy. Still day-dreaming. Still snarky well beyond our years.


Wishing you a moment where you realize that in spite of some decades gone by, things are still the same. So here's to a well placed iced mocha with a friend who loves, cares and still worries about you. Cheers.

3 comments:

Patty Bennett said...

Hey... you should have called me... we coulda met up for that yummy sounding hot dog! :) Patty

m~ said...

Great pictures! I know Alex enjoyed your walk down memory lane!

katarinas mama said...

Hey, Patty, oh how I wish we could've gotten together with more of our friends. But we were there for five short days over Easter. So mainly to see family for our Spring Break. But we hope to come back longer this summer!! And yes, I promise if we can get away for a longer period of time,I will so call you. And Top Dog's hot dogs are The Best - go check 'em out!!

Marye, I knew you'd like the ambience. Could've shot a TON more pics but dang, that campus is GI-normous and we were exhausted. It was also hot!! But yes, can you tell 10 yo DS loved every minute of his silly Mama and her even sillier BFF. And yes, I'm waiting for even more pics of your adventures in the 'burg. Loved seeing all that background "info".