Friday, April 15, 2005


I've had a certain affection for acanthus bushes since we moved to Berkeley in 1965. They are large and solid and have those great big waxy leaves. I used to hide inside them when I was about 7. They were big enough, and I was small enough that I could get in under their arching stems and be invisible to my older brother. Any advantage was a big advantage in those days. Being that he was 9, he was much bigger and stronger than me, and didn't always balk at reminding me. To be fair, he wasn't a tyrant. Still, to have a friend like the acanthus was now and then a wonderful thing.


Blogger Roy said...

I don't recall seeing those when I was a kid. What sticks out of the landscape of my memory were the honeysuckles sort of taking over the fence and half of the front of the house, and all the hummingbirds, and then there was a kumquat tree on the way home from Rinconada Park and swimming pool, which had edible fruit that I remember as being tasty.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Kumquats! Wow, even having lived in California for 45 of my 47 years, I have never eaten a kumquat, or a loquat for that matter. Wonder why.

We had honeysuckles as well, and fucias, and hummingbirds were all over the place in our yard. My wife tells me that huumingbirds, particularly males, are extremely aggressive. Hard to picture it, but since she told me that I actually hae seen a couple of males engaged in seriously fisticuffs. Or maybe that would be beaksticuffs. Anyway, they were kicking each others asses while hovering in the air like a couple of enormous mosquitos. quite a sight.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Wiggy said...

The acanthus look kind of spikey, Harry - any resemblance to pyracantha? Your brother must have been tougher than you remember if you hid under those.

What I remember are the termites in our prune trees in Sunnyvale. I was weird even as a kid; I kept bugs and insects and mollusks (mostly snails) as pets. Poor things.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

I liked watching hummingbirds. When they fight, they get beak to beak and then fly straight up, as if to see who can fly the highest, fastest. Just what two young human males might do, if they could fly.
They are also bold and will learn to perch on your finger if you stand still by a feeder long enough. They are fearless because they know they can always get away--we must appear like sloths to them.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

What I remember are the termites in our prune trees in Sunnyvale.
What part of Sunnyvale? I went to Sunnyvale High and Fremont High for a year each--a lo-oong time ago.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Wiggy said...

I would have gone to Homestead High, Roy, but we moved when I was in the 4th grade. My mom was probably concerned about my termite watching.

Hey, I'm the same age as Harry - 25th college reunion year for me. (Ouch.)

Does this mean we are OLD?

10:06 PM  
Blogger Wiggy said...

Wow. That's weird, Harry. I've live in California for 45 of my 47 years, too. Is your father an engineer? Does your mother like orange juice? Life if full of coincidences.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Hey Wiggy, no my father was a Marine for 28 years, then worked for the State PUC in SF. My Mom drank OJ as I recall but actually preferred cranberry juice. :-)

We moved to Berkeley from Yuma, AZ in 1965 and to this day, I am eternally grateful. No knock on Yuma, but Berkeley was a great place to grow up in the Sixties and Seventies.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Oh yeah, it does NOT mean we are old. It just means that we are an iota or two wiser, or at least can act like it now and then.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Harry said...


11:50 AM  

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