The Times, They Are Changing

SCHOOL DAYS, school days. Just as our summer really kicks in, the kids return to the classrooms. There’s something cruel and unusual about this, but that’s life in the foggy Bay Area.

This year, there’s more reason than ever to celebrate this annual back to school ritual. There’s been a critical shift in fashion, away from bare midriffs and seriously sagging jeans.

If only this had happened a year earlier, Bishop O’Dowd High School might not have gone to mandatory uniforms. But the irony is, the preppy look is in this fall — with collared shirts for boys and plaid skirts and ponchos for girls.

For me, the timing is perfect. This week, my daughter starts high school, and my son begins junior high. Life doesn’t get any better.

Shop talk

Those who dream of a more “upscale” Montclair Village may be getting their wish. Not only is a new kitchen store opening soon on La Salle, but a renowned, high-end truffle shop is going in next door.

The owners of XOX Truffles Inc. actually live in Montclair — and have been waiting for this opportunity. (They’ll move into the shop occupied by Ester’s Garden Body and Bath).

Jean Marc and Casimira Gorce say their San Francisco business has been doing very well; they’ve received lots of acclaim and national press. Now, they want to expand closer to home.

XOX hopes to open sometime in November, permits permitting, and there are plans in the works for indoor seating — and an evening dessert bar.

Flag theft

I know it’s the Olympics, but even patriotism is no excuse for this: someone stole Old Glory from its pole at the top of La Salle in Montclair. “They actually lowered it the right way,” says Liz Silverman of the Montclair Village Association, “and didn’t cut it or anything. They just took it off.”

The flag was a memorial to Hank and John Raimondi, and Silverman says taking it is like “taking the offering out of the church plate.” If you have a clue about the red, white and blue, call her at 510-339-1000.

Purse snatching

You might call this a crime of opportunity.

A reader reports that a friend of hers was “mugged” in front of the Montclair Bank of America this week, just after an ATM withdrawal. The woman was putting her wallet back in her purse when a youth on a bike rode by and grabbed it.

The victim reported the crime to the bank’s security guard but wasn’t able to give a description of the suspect. It’s a reminder to all of us that our quaint little Village has big-city crime.

Field of screams

Oakland soccer parents are crying foul, after repeatedly finding the gate locked at the popular Spunkmeyer sports field. It seems that the city doesn’t have the staff to come out and unlock the field for every soccer practice and can’t pass the keys over to the coaches. Since vandalism precludes city staff from keeping the gates unlocked, players have just two choices — climb over the corral or suck in their guts and squeeze between the fence and the dumpster.

Cajun spice

That city ‘cross the estuary’ knows how to party. Alameda is home to the hottest Cajun dance club outside New Orleans and Texas. Every Friday night the top Zydeco bands in the West pull out their washboards and accordions to dish out the Cajun spice.

Alameda Eagles Hall has a great wooden dance floor, too, which makes the “two step” even more fun. For more information, give Louisiana Sue a ring at 916-962-6415.

Freebie alert

Thanks to Robin G. who reminds me of a longtime freebie in town. Montclair Golf Course, the little pitch and putt with the popular driving range, offers free Sunday night lessons for kids.

The one-hour clinics start at 6 p.m. and are good for youth 8 years old and up. The classes are offered seasonally, though, since only die-hard golfers like to be out in the winter rain.


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