I found this ebullient young man in the 1900 edition of University of California, Berkeley's Blue and Gold yearbook. It seemed right to post him on this first day of the World Cup in Brazil.
I'm studying this time period for my new book, as-yet publicly unnamed.
Beast might be a good name.
There I was, in the California Room leafing through the yearbook when I stumbled across evidence that my Great-Uncle Ernst had been secretary and treasurer of the Chess Club that year. They had trounced Stanford. He was likely a sophomore.
That year (according to Richard Schwartz’ wonderful book, Berkeley 1900), the Berkeley campus was pretty much a vast field with only a couple of buildings. The extremely wealthy philanthropist, Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, was deep in planning sessions with a celebrated French architect to lay out the campus.
I am a grateful UCB alumna. When I attended in the early 1980s, I had no idea that my ancestors had been there before me. I ate Top Dog wieners and bought used Signet editions of Shakespeare at Mo’s Books, biked to The Cheese Board, and dodged shady characters on Telegraph Avenue.
But the Berkeley and Oakland back then still had a number of oaks, dairy farms, quail, and goats; somehow I see goats in my vision of Great Uncle Ernst getting to class.