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On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

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About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

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Out of Menlo

Uploaded: Apr 12, 2015
It was more than disconcerting to return from lunch at Draeger's, to find some of my finest kitchen pieces scattered about a drought-stricken patch of apartment lawn. Not that it was surprising. This is what's happening at the 11th hour, the eve of our move to San Francisco. We are jettisoning possessions, Jane and I. At times this is an orderly process. But as the departure hour nears, there is less order and no process.

On the apartment grass were two glass canisters with cork stoppers, the sort of kitchen container commonly used to store and display pasta, flour and so on?in another era. I bought these in grad school, in Colma, which in the early 1970s boasted an Akron store. No one has ever heard of this retailer today. But I knew of them from my roots in Southern California. Akron had a bit of soul about it, as retail stores go. They produced a flyer full of chatty observations about their goods. Trader Joe's does much the same today. But Akron had a very moderne look about their graphical layout. The retail shtick was all about being sensibly thrifty, appreciating the then exotic imports on their shelves. Billy Barnes, a Los Angeles impresario, put it this way in one of his revues: 'At the fabulous Akron?middle-class mortals can pass through its portals?and go on a spree for a buck 93.'

So there I was, on the way home from classes at nearby San Francisco State University, buying cheap kitchen gear. I would guess that the glass containers on the apartment lawn cost less than one dollar each in 1973. It's only now, time and adulthood and shifting perspectives being what they are, that the rather gross defects in these glass canisters show themselves off. The glass tops are badly tilted. This would make sense if they were handblown. But at $.95 each, they probably weren't. No, they were probably seconds?defective goods that some store buyer understood to have an askew charm. Oddly, they still have that charm. I hope they find a good home. After 42 years in mine, it's time.
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 +   2 people like this
Posted by Louise68, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Apr 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Paul -----
You will be missed. Your incredibly engaging and creative way with words has been a real joy to read. I may not always agree with you -- as you have seen -- but I always have looked forward to every single one of your blogs.

Bloggers who write as well and creatively as you are very hard to find.

Thank you for all of your blogs here on the Almanac.

I wish you very well in your new life in SF.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Stu Soffer, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks,
on Apr 13, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Stu Soffer is a registered user.

Well, Paul.

You'll be missed. Best wishes up in SF.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood,
on Apr 14, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Paul - Your insights and analysis will be missed. Far too few citizens participate in the dialogue of democracy and your superb participation will leave a hole.

Thanks for all of your thoughts and comments over the years.

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