I had not seen this before I saw it. That is almost always the case, I know, but the point is that this major piece of major quirk is not in the quirk flyway and really took me by surprise.
Up Spruce, turn left on Vassar. Mid-block Vassar turns from Berkeley to Kensington. Here is what it looks like when that happens:
City limits are often evidenced by changes in pavement. I have learned about city limits in this walking project. First and most obvious although unknown to me were the different street signs used by different cities. Mid-block changes are trickier. There is the pavement and there are the trash cans to tip you off. Letter carriers are a great help too.
I digress. Driving north or west or northwest on Vassar, just before the Kensington line, you are struck by two V’s on the eastern or southern or southeastern side of the driveway. Big yellow V’s.
They are hollow and elegant. Randi Herman explains: “They are off a building in SF from a “Variety” show. We thought it honored living on Vassar.”
Looking past the V’s towards the front door, there is a great semi-quirky seating area in the shade.
The landing is made of 4 city tree grates. The cement bench is composed of 6 handmade cement pathway blocks that were original to the house (1936). The short table is from Indonesia and is a family table where rice was crushed in the center creating a deep hole.
Looking down towards the front door you can see evidence of blue and red sculptures, the work of Keeyla Meadows, who played a key role in the design of the garden.
The lion-taming woman represents Randi Herman, the lion Steve Herman (he’s a Leo), and the ring leader keeps things under control, the mediator.
That is all fine, but what is that on the other side of the driveway? Tucked under the desert tree something looms. And look – another walk going down to the other side of the house! Great windy thorny rusty iron work along the path and a lantern and then a Very Big Wolf.
His bottom jaw is made from the hood of a truck. His eye is from a traffic light and works! The artist, Patrick Amiot from Sebastopol, works in metal salvage. He originally wanted to create Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Red was to be a sidewalk bench but it wasn’t logistically possible with parking as it is so the wolf stands lone. Well,not quite alone.
And behind him – even casual observation leads to the undeniable conclusion that the dog is an intact him – is a small dog, another Patrick Amiot piece.
And behind the small dog, tucked into the shadows next to a fence, is a rooster.
Randi Herman has been working on this garden for 25 years, with the help of Keeyla Meadows, the inspiration of Marcia Donahue, and plan wisdom from the Hortisexualists garden club and its trips abroad. Her goal was to make a garden that would make her husband Steve smile when he got home from work. It does. And it makes me smile when I go by.
What a collection of Double V Quirk! The shade and shadows and dappled light are a challenge for photographs, but I think that these capture it. My little friend would look at this and revert to the language of his youth: