By Roz Rogoff
As normal as blueberry pieUploaded: Oct 19, 2010
I just got back from visiting my mother in Maine and my 50th High School Reunion in New Rochelle, NY. My mother lives in a beautiful retirement community in Scarborough, ME not far from my brother in Portland and my nephew in Freeport. My nephew's wife is on the Freeport Town Council and running unopposed for her seat. They have two boys about 5 and 6 and a daughter who just turned 3.
I like to visit Maine in the fall when the leaves are changing but before it gets too cold there. The weather was close to perfect every day except Friday when it rained. I flew down to New York City and took a shuttle to New Rochelle for my 50th High School reunion.
I don't think I look 68 (maybe 60?), but I was really surprised at how good some of the other women in the class looked. The men tended to go gray or bald, but maybe the gals were dying their hair. Anyway many of them barely looked in their 50s, and one looked 40!
Everyone said I look exactly the same. Well I don't and I hope not. I'm 80 lbs heavier than I was when I graduated high school. Several of my friends had put on weight. Many of the men had pot bellies, but otherwise looked the same.
I wore my "Vote for Roz for DSRSD" button and had to explain to everyone what DSRSD stood for and where I live now. At least a dozen of us there came from northern California, but nobody was there who could vote for me.
Our old High School has been enlarged several times and a new Museum of the Arts was added recently. We took a tour of the building which required a lot of walking and climbing stairs. Lugging an extra 80 lbs up stairs isn't something I wanted to do, so I quit the tour about 3/4 through it.
Saturday night was a dinner dance at one of the beach clubs. I was told there were about 200 graduates who attended with 120 guests. I'm not normally a social person and I don't like big crowds and noise, but overall it was nice seeing people I grew up with and haven't seen in 50 years.
New Rochelle was an attractive, upscale suburb when I was growing up in the 1950s. I didn't have a car at the reunion so I couldn't drive around to see the town, but several attendees mentioned that the downtown looked seedy and depressed. That's what happens when a community loses its sources of revenue.
In some ways San Ramon is like what New Rochelle used to be, but better planned and managed. Planning and managing is very important to keep a city from declining and decaying or faltering during economic downturns.
When I was visiting my mother she took me to lunch at the Black Point Inn at Prouts Neck in Scarborough. For desert I ordered the Maine traditional blueberry pie. It was a very large slice, about 1/5 of a pie, piled high with tiny, wild blueberries, the kind I remember picking as a child in summer camp. The crust was very light and thin and appeared to be whole wheat. There was very little sugar or thickening, mostly blueberries in the filling.
My mother grew up during the depression of the 1930's and even though she's comfortably well-to-do now, she still fusses about the cost of some things. When she got the bill for lunch, she exclaimed that the pie was $9. She couldn't believe that a slice of blueberry pie cost nine dollars. However, this was no ordinary blueberry pie and this resort and restaurant are top of the line.
So what does a $9 slice of blueberry pie have to do with New Rochelle and San Ramon? I thought I'd never ask. There's been a lot of fuss in the newspapers, on TV, and in political fliers about how much Herb Moniz is paid as City Manager, yet nobody would expect the chef at the Black Point Inn to be paid the same as a burger flipper at McDonalds. By the same token comparing city managers' salaries is like comparing a supermarket pie to the Maine traditional blueberry pie at the Black Point Inn. If you want the best, you expect to pay more for it.