Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Best Berkeley Story Ever?

I went to the Cal faculty club last night to hear Chuck Wollenberg talk about his new book, Berkeley: A City in History. Fanatical readers of this blog will recall that I was born in Berkeley and received some formal education there. So I was ready for Chuck's talk. Great turnout, both in numbers and wattage.

After dinner, Chuck read several passages from the book, but one anecdote must be recorded immediately. Some of Chuck's relatives on the Wollenberg side of the family grew up near the home of Bernard Maybeck, the famous architect of the early twentieth century. In a burst of progressive thinking, Maybeck and his wife decided not to name their son; instead, they called him "boy" until he was old enough to choose his own name. When that fateful day arrived, Boy delivered his verdict: His name would be Wollenberg. This was too much, even for the Maybecks. Eventually they settled on Wallen.

This little story says a lot about Berkeley, I think. Also human nature.


At 8:19 AM , Blogger Mon-sewer Paul Regret said...

Mostly just saying hi, but it's funny ... a couple of years before you and I met, I took a course at then-Vista College from Chuck Wollenberg. It wasn't much of a course, through no fault of the instructor ... it was a telecourse, which was like an online course only with even less to do. But in my limited interaction, he was a good teacher.

At 11:10 AM , Blogger Louise Nelson Dyble said...

Wish I could have been there--I am really looking forward to the book. I don't know what was so bad about Wollenberg. Seems nice to me.


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