Doctor Gives Town Crier the Boot

MY DOCTOR GAVE me the boot the other day. It’s a big black shell with killer Velcro straps that makes me look like Big Foot. It’s been the butt of a lot of jokes since it became part of my lower extremity. My husband calls me “Das Boot.” My kids call me “booty.” My friends – well, they’ve stopped calling me because I’m too needy. But my boot has taught me a valuable lesson. Pamper your feet. Keep them healthy and happy and they’ll give you support. Shove them in bad shoes and they’ll turn on you. Sure — there’s surgery, but the road to recovery is full of potholes. I remain strong, however. I have no choice. I refuse to be … de-feeted.

AROUND TOWN: Merchants have been complaining about the swarms of students who roam Montclair Village when school lets out, particularly on minimum days. AC Transit drops them off outside Crogan’s and they reportedly hang out for hours with nothing to do.

But two Montclair moms want to change that. Mimi Rohr and Deanna Rifai are pushing a plan to provide after-school activities for the teens, especially on Wednesdays when they’re out of school early.

“Better to work on something positive than to come down on them with no solution,” says Rohr, who has been active for years at Montclair Elementary School . She and Rifai are working with the Montclair Recreation Center to start pickup games on the baseball diamond and other free programs for teens. “Those supervising would be young and hip so that they wouldn’t stand out,” says Rohr, who says Montclair Veterinary Hospital has already pledged $500 for the program. If you’d like to help – you can call Rohr at 510-338-0670 or send her an e-mail at

SPECIAL SERVICE: You’ve heard of silent prayer? Well the students at Zion Lutheran School in Piedmont had a prayer in sign language at their weekly chapel time recently. Classmate Marcellus Esezobar and a visiting Lutheran pastor signed the Lord’s Prayer for students, as part of a special service for the deaf. Esezobar uses sign language every day because his parents are deaf. But despite his family challenges, he’s thriving at Zion , a school he joined this year. Keep up the good work, Marcellus. You’re an inspiration to us all!

BIG HONOR: A little bird tells me that hills writer and mother of three Mary-Ann Smith is being honored with a Hall of Achievement Award from the University of Oregon . Smith graduated from the university’s school of journalism in 1963 and used her lifelong love of words to become a teacher and co-director of the National Writing Project. Today, the NWP has centers in more than 200 U.S. universities and more than a million teachers have benefited from her work.

CELEBRITY COUP: “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen, is doing a benefit concert at the Oracle Arena on Oct. 26 for Oakland’s People’s Grocery. This is quite a coup for the nonprofit group, which uses gardens and cooking classes to promote healthy eating in West Oakland. To make even more money, they’re auctioning two pairs of front section seats (starting at $300 a pair) for the Friday night event. If you’re interested, call 510-652-7607 and put in your bid.

ANIMAL TALES: Nighttime is party time for wildlife in the Oakland hills. Raccoons have been digging up the lawns to find fresh grubs (especially juicy after an early evening rain). Baby skunks have been leaving their scents in the most populated places, like the parking lot of The Hills Swim Club. And deer have been nibbling nasturtiums and eating the faces off freshly planted pansies. It’s a regular “Wild Kingdom” each night when the sun goes down.


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