Saturday, January 22, 2011



Sheryl J. Bize Boutte

January 22, 2011

I have been here for thousands of years, and I am still an average 33 years young. Although some say she was just a fantasy, my mother was the ancient African Queen, Califia, ruler of the Island of California. From my flat belly to the gradual rise of my rolling hills, I remain beautiful and nurturing.

From 1200 B.C., my inherited landscape was home to the Ohlone Indians who for 30 centuries lived nearest my lakes and streams and had no word for war.

When the Spaniards came, they named me Rancho San Antonio. My fertile flatlands supported the agriculture looked over by the groves of oak and redwood lining my slopes.

I became the western center for the Transcontinental Railroad. I am the home of the first telephone booth, the first airmail delivery, and the oldest wildlife sanctuary in the United States.

When the earth fractured under my sister across our shared bay waters, 150,000 of her children sought refuge with me; 65,000 of them never left.

I was once known as the “Detroit of the West”; producing 100 Chevy’s a day. Some believe my Fairyland was the inspiration for Disneyland.

I am the origin of the “West Coast Blues”, the Mai Tai cocktail and Rocky Road Ice Cream. One of my sons invented the Popsicle and one of my daughters was lost to me when she took her famous solo flight from my airport. A man who usually prefers purple once bought another of my daughters a turquoise Mercedes.

Whether they were born to me, or came to live in my house, I am proud of my children. They have made me one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country. They have persevered and continue to excel. They have become leaders, architects, musicians, healers, athletes, artists, actors, inventors, and collectively speak more than 150 languages. Among them: Julia Morgan, Bernard Maybeck, Tom Hanks, Mark Curry, Bruce Lee, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Tony Lema, Andre Ward, MC Hammer, Digital Underground, Goapole, En Vogue, Pete Esovedo, Jerry Brown, Marcus Foster, Kamala Harris, Barbara Lee, and Mother Wright.

My wish for my children is that they know me in full. That they respect and revere me. That they defend me to those who filter my name through an unkind mouth. That they take care of each other. That they embrace all I have to share. That they know that no matter what path they take, I will always be here for them and will welcome them home,

To Oakland.

To a Mother’s love.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Ran into these two at the bank the other day. They were having a conversation about, what else, basketball. He was telling her how he had hurt his fingers during a basketball game. She was telling him stories about her playing time in school as a point guard.