Berkeley Memories


My oldest daughter moved to Boston the day after Christmas but forgot to change her address on her Amazon account.  She just bought a new phone, some ear buds, a Pixel stand, and another electronic thing.

She just had a birthday and asked me to drive to Berkeley to get her four packages from the tenants renting her place, as her birthday gift. I drove there today.

I got off at Telegraph Avenue and had my first flashback when I saw the street that leads to the marriage counselor’s office.  My ex and I met there every week for three months back in 2008. No, it didn’t save our marriage.

I turned onto Alcatraz Street and realized I hadn’t been over there for almost a year. I passed Berkeley High school and remembered seven years ago when my youngest took her ACT test there in October of her senior year.
I remembered how my oldest asked me to do her laundry as her birthday gift seven years ago.  She had gone on a retreat with her other first year PhD students.  I agreed, since I needed to drive her little sister to her test.

I found the house key under the mat and went up the stairs to my daughter’s apartment. In her bedroom I found the biggest pile of dirty laundry that I’d ever seen. I sorted it all into piles by color and took down the first load of whites. The washer and dryer were on the side of the house on the ground floor.  I loaded the whites and headed back up to get the next load.

This went on for hours as I walked up and down the stairs with another load to wash.  By the time I folded the laundry, I was exhausted and my daughter’s kitchen table was covered with piles of clean clothes. The underwear pile was the tallest. I stopped to count the undies. There were forty-nine pairs.

49 pairs – that’s 7 weeks’ worth of underwear.  My PhD candidate daughter had moved back from Portland that August and hadn’t done any laundry since. It was easier to go out and buy clean undies and to get your mom to do it for you as a birthday gift.

My youngest tells me that her college friends would simply turn their undies inside out to get a second day’s wearing out of them.  Gross, but I get it. College kids are busy. Doing laundry takes time.

I was exhausted after running up and down the stairs to do seven loads of laundry, including towels, blankets, and clothing. I’d forgotten all about it until driving there today.

It was a bittersweet day going back to Berkeley.    We had some good times, some bad times, lots of lunches with two or three of my kids and one future fiance, and three parking tickets. I got out of one of them.

I hope my daughter will come back some day from the East coast to live in her little apartment again.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda

I should’ve taken a photo of all that clean laundry, but I didn’t have a Smart phone seven years ago.




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