a trip to chico via the wayback machine

It’s taken me all week to catch up from last weekend. And not because it was so wild, but because it was one of those time warp weekends and my brain just needed a moment to regroup and reset itself. Steve and I went to college, met, married, worked at the Chico News and Review and learned to be adults (relatively) in Chico between 1978 and 1982. We also met people who would help us form our life and world view. Lifelong friends, as we now know.

The excuse was our professor Gregg Berryman’s retirement. Gregg continued to keep all of us connected, long after graduation, and a surprise party was just a small way of repaying him for all he’s done to inspire and influence a few generations of designers.

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So there was a party, then ice cream at Shubert’s, and perhaps some wine by the pool. Of course, that would be followed by breakfast with the bald man group. Clearly there was a memo to shave your head, wear a black t shirt and black glasses so people wouldn’t guess you’re almost 60.

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And that would be followed by a Sunday morning walk through campus, and visiting the design department. I suspect none of us had been on a campus tour since the first day we visited, over 35 years ago. Alan works for the university and knew every interesting thing that had changed, and shared them all. It was very cool. There may have been shenanigans. There was also a moment when Steve saw that Gregg had displayed his B.B. King poster in his collection of favorite posters. Surprised and honored, both of us. We passed my dorm, and the places where I hung out with my other friends (the ones I made first, truth be told). We passed the tree outside the art building, where I used to wait for my boyfriend with long hair and striped overalls. His name was also Steve (That’s a joke–I dated three Steves in college and Steve Barbaria was the third, but he was the cute artist one and the keeper).

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Of course, we ended at Madison Bear Garden, and each recounted our 21st birthdays, a million years ago. Most of us have children older than we were then.

In the afternoon, Steve and I went on a scavenger hunt to find and photograph all the the houses we lived in. I am sparing you the photos, because they are scary, scary places. I will never again give my daughters a hard time about their choices. Yo mama lived in a few dumps.

The time warp experience wouldn’t be complete without a trip through Bidwell Park…spectacular. Always. We stopped at the spot where we were married, June 30, 1979. The oak tree is huge…and we stood under it and thought about the people who were with us then, but are gone. Twenty of them, at least. Perhaps one of us cried. Two of us kissed. And we had a moment, as we do. Gosh, that’s a good tree.

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There was one more activity planned before we headed home. A trip to the Silver Dollar Fair, to take photos, mostly of the photo booth. You know, I spend a lot of time taking pictures, but most of these friends are professional photographers, and they teach me so much. In fact, I’ve been learning how to see from them for the past 35 years.

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And finally, it ended like this.

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We crawled back to our car, and back down the valley to home. Home, where we were grownups (again, a relative term) with a studio and clients, a mortgage and a garden, two daughters, four parents, a past and a future.

Thank you, Chico. And Gregg and Phyllis, Mark and Leslie, Monica, Craig, Tom and Tom and Tom, Alan, Linda, Rose, Anne Marie, and of course a few who weren’t with us, but are part of the group–Alix, Kevin, Gene, Susie, Kathe and Tim. Thank you for letting me into your world of design, and sharing your view with me.

Let’s do it again soon. We’re not getting any younger, you know.

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