Winds of Change


OUR LITTLE TOWN is a pretty nice place to live. From the sweet Easter coloring contest at Safeway (you should see the size of the bunnies and baskets they’ve been giving away) to the hills full of chickens and goats and other farm pets, Montclair is unique. But like any town, people come and go — and change is always in the wind. So after eight years, it’s time to say good-bye to Michael Silverman and What the Traveller Saw.

His store was eclectic and exciting — a place that opened your eyes to the cultures and creations of far away places. His shop had a spirit and soul that will really be missed when he moves to Solano Avenue in Berkeley next month.

“I’ve made a lot of friends,” Silverman says, adding he’ll miss all the people who came in just to see his big sleepy Bernese mountain dog, Tara.

The thought of two locations crossed his mind, but it wasn’t financially feasible. On Solano Avenue, he’ll have a much bigger store in a high-traffic area.

So what happens to his space at 6128 La Salle Avenue? The good news is that long-time landlord, Ann Steppen, has carefully chosen another one-of-a-kind shop for this location. In just a few weeks, we’ll have a new culinary shop called Someone’s in the Kitchen, owned by a local entrepreneur, Jennifer Sandstrom. I’m sure she’ll do well with all the interest in eating, these days.

Other rumblings

Montclair may be getting a farmers market. It’s just a “seedling” of an idea right now, but it’s being explored by the Montclair Village Association. The board supports the idea and is looking at sites for a produce mart on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feel free to send me your comments, and I’ll pass them on to the powers that be.

Kids on stage

Congratulations to the Montclair 4H club for winning first place recently at Skit Night. Local dad Robert Ferguson says eight Alameda County clubs had three months to come up with their skits — which had to fit a “back to the future” theme.

The Montclair kids won with a plot that included 4H suddenly disappearing from the planet — leaving the children completely memorized by TV and junk food. Somehow it doesn’t seem that far fetched, but thank goodness it was only science fiction. The 4H clubs are alive and well as healthy outlets for our kids.

E-mail bag

Thanks to local Realtor Keith Sjoholm (Prudential California Realty) for spotting another positive travel piece on Oakland. The Sunday, April 18, New York Times had an article by local writer Megan Harlan — “The quirky heart of the East Bay.”

Her favorite Oakland haunts include A Cote, the trendy French cafe on College Ave, Everett and Jones BBQ — with its “tasty goop sauce” — and, of course, Yoshi’s and the Claremont, where you can dance and drink with the beautiful people. Rockridge gets a lot of ink in this story, but there’s nary a word on Montclair Village. Hmmmm.

Mail mania

It’s a clear case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. After years and years of begging for a new Montclair mail drop, we now have three!

The U.S. Postal Service has responded in triplicate with a box at Mountain and Colton, another at Mountain and Scout, and a brand new box near the 7-Eleven on Thornhill — which went in last week.

The drive-by box at Colton is getting so much. One reader reported that it was practically overflowing the other day. Maybe the next step is to increase the number of pick-ups, at least at that box.

Minding manners

What is the proper etiquette for saving a seat on an airplane? On a sold out Southwest flight, just after boarding, I marked my seat with a magazine and water bottle before heading to the lavatory. Upon returning, I found a young woman in my seat.

“Did you see my things here?” I asked. “Yes I did,” she replied defiantly, “but you can’t save a seat here.”

It was like an episode of Seinfeld, I thought, as I struggled for words. “It’s called manners,” I blurted out as I found another seat. “It’s called an airplane,” she fired back, rolling her eyes.

So much for the friendly skies.

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