Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Stuffin's

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive; and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

-Howard Thurman

As you know, I have been collecting photos of discarded furniture. Specifically, discarded sofas that have been left curbside, around the town of Berkeley. It seems to be a phenomenon connected to the influx of college life. As one class graduates, the next class discards the old sofas of the frat and sorority houses. Well...that's what I choose to think. LOL. See, I love it here, this town inspires me at every turn. The history. The art. The fact that the houses and neighborhoods show some individuality, instead of the relentless lines of cookie cutter housing tracks you will find in other parts of the Bay Area. It's rarely boring here, and as a result, I have seen some extraordinary sights, such as the seasonal purge of the sofa's of Berkeley.

It's fun to think of Allen Ginsburg, having lived less then a block from my favorite cheese shop. A shop that has been on Shattuck avenue, for over 30 years. He could have bought cheese and maybe one the awesome breads they make, and walked home to write at least a part of his classic, and once banned work, "Howl." Not too far from where my therapist's office sits, is the very frat house that was used in one scene of the movie, "The Graduate." Heck, "Moe's Books," is still on Telegraph avenue, and it was also featured in the movie.

There are some other landmarks around town. On College avenue, there is a tree with some ribbons, and some flowers leaning against it, in memory of a young woman who was shot and killed last summer. A young lady who had a bright future ahead of her, had someone made a different decision the night she was killed, and left the gun at home. Her name was, Meleia Willis-Starbuck. The young man who caused her death, as it turns out, was a friend of hers, Christopher Hollis. The case hasn't gone to trial yet, and I am sure there will be a much more to the story, but the fact that it all ended the way it did was a sad commentary on what can go so fast.

It was an ironic fact, that Mr. Hollis contends, that Meleia had called her friend, and asked him to bring the gun the night she had been killed, because earlier in the evening she had been "dissed" by a group of men. Like I said, the case hasn't gone to trial, so some facts have neither been proven or disproved, but the fact remains, a loaded gun was brought to an already heated situation. What good could have ever come of it? Her murder took place over a year ago, and there is still a memorial to her, beneath a lovely old tree, that sits on a common Berkeley street. Meleia Willis-Starbuck, would have graduated Dartmouth University, as a member of the class of 07.

That's just one incident that sticks out in my mind, because I pass that simple memorial to Meleia, often in my travels, and it's poignancy always catches my eyes. It makes me wish that we could take certain days we have already lived, and somehow try to intervene so that something bad wouldn't have to happen. There are paths in life however, and I don't believe too much in the randomness of things. Decisions are ours to make, along with mistakes, but we can also, sometimes get it right. We can choose to not make the monumental mistake of letting anger run our lives and define us. It all has to start somewhere.

Sometimes, I like to try and imagine, who might have been studying to make the world a better place, while sitting on one of those couches or chairs that I love to photograph. A future politician? A future member of "Doctor's Without Boarders?" A social worker who will work with the needy? How about a future "Teacher of the Year?" I know... who knows? There's no real way to know. But the possibilities are pretty great. LOL. That poor chair looks like someone's dog, maybe a Rotweiller, just tore the stuffin's out of it. LOL. I wonder who's chair it was? Care to ponder that question with me? Any guesses? If you want, leave me your guess in the comment thread for this entry. :)

Meleia Willis-Starbuck's, Dartmouth Memorial

"The Stuffin's"
Berkeley, California
August 2th, 2006


DesLily said...

hmmm i sure don't know "who's" chair it was but it sure looks like the 9 cats at this house got a hold of it! lol

Dave said...

It kind of makes my mind spin to ponder something like that, although I do it often. Perhaps it is a future politician who will do what he promises once he gets into office (lol...there's a thought!) I love the way you think Carly...and I share your horrified response to the senseless violence against our fellow men and women that permeates our society and our world.

I wish you the best weekend!

V said...

Carly, that`s so sad. In Philadelphia, you can hardly drive 15 minutes without seeing one or more of these memorials.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

I think a human did that chair in. Like Lucy Van Pelt: "I'm torn between the desire to create and the urge to destroy." Someone created a mess by destroying the chair, and you created art by photographing it.