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I kept this is my leather jacket for years, while living in Berkeley without a car, but I don’t recall ever using it.

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So long, Telecaster, it’s been good to know you

Today, I sold my Fender Telecaster, a good old electric guitar that I bought back in college. Here’s a picture of us together, when we had just met. I forget who I gave that lawn gnome to…..

Alas, change had to come. I didn’t play it enough, and I’m moving across the country in a month’s time.

I sold to a fine gentleman named Dave, who has a business redesigning kitchens, at Sierra Cabinets & Design. Call him up if you live in the Bay Area and want your kitchen re-done by a fellow who can play classical guitar and the electric blues.

Haves and Have-Nots on Telegraph Ave

Tonight, I took my youth group on a stroll down Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. We’re having an all-church retreat this weekend, but we’re not really ‘retreating’ anywhere. The economy is hurting folks, and schedules are tight, so we’re having our programs at the church itself. It’s pretty fun, actually. There’s a different feel to gathering at night for worship and fellowship than there is when gathering in the morning, like usual.

So, what’d we do on Telegraph? First of all, I let the kids know that we have a budget as a youth group, but I wanted them to think about what they would do with money at their disposal. Some usual stuff was shouted out (going to see “Watchmen,” buying a new pair of converses, etc.), but then I we tried to think more constructively. How do we help those who are in need?

After all, Telegraph doesn’t really look like this anymore:

An old postcard of the intersection of Telegragh Ave and Bancroft Way. Where's the American Apparel store?

An old postcard of the intersection of Telegragh Ave and Bancroft Way. Is that the American Apparel store on the corner?

Today, it looks a bit more like this:

Telegraph Ave during a street fair.

Telegraph Avenue during a street fair. Vendors are usually parked on the sidewalks instead of in the street (and mostly during weekends).

However, the above picture is from during the day, and I can’t find any good photos of the night scene. There’s a great book by Richard Misrach called Telegraph 3 A.M.: The Street People of Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, California, which came out in 1974. (Used copies run for hundreds of bucks.) This next picture is from that book (I think), and some of the same kind of folks (but a little grungier—gutter punks) still hang out on the sidewalks, sitting on the ground, eating Blondie’s pizza and playing their guitars. Some of the youth talked to these kids, gave them a couple bucks, and bought one girl’s self-published zine. Afterwards, we bought some cheap postcards at this same corner (Haste and Telegraph, in front of the old Cody’s Books), and then we got Yogurt Park and pizza before heading back to the church. A good time was had by all.

Street Musicians on Telegraph Avenue in 1974. Photo by Richard Misrach.

Street Musicians on Telegraph Avenue in 1974. Photo by Richard Misrach.