Berkeley Main Post Office, 5x8", Ink & watercolor
Berkeley Main Post Office, 5x8", Ink & watercolor

Berkeley Main Post Office, 5×8″, Ink & watercolor

We’d heard the historic Berkeley Main Post Office was going to be shut down and sold so we decided to go sketch it. When we arrived for our Tuesday night sketching session, there was a “Save The Post Office” demonstration going on. (News report and photos.)

Post Office Protestors, ink & watercolor

Post Office Protestors and Great Dane, ink & watercolor

By the time I found a parking space and a spot to draw, the rally was breaking up.  I quickly sketched a few of the protestors, including an old lady in purple sweats with wild gray hair serving cake and petitions on her ironing board table, and a patient Great Dane.

So what about the Girl Scouts running the post office? While I sat and sketched the historic building, the protesters left except for one man who was shouting slogans and pacing back and forth in front of the building. At first I thought he was part of the rally, but no. While he sounded educated and articulate, he was also literally “raving mad.”

He carried on non-stop, and provided the background sound track to my drawing. Here are a few of his rants that I jotted down.

“Let the Girl Scouts run the post office.”

“Yeah they’re gonna sell the post office. And then they’re gonna sell your mom and put a for sale sign on her buttocks.”

“The Buddhists and the Catholics won’t pick up cigarette butts from the sidewalk. Obama won’t even pick up cigarette butts from the sidewalk. Romney won’t pick up cigarette butts. Berkeley High students won’t pick up cigarette butts from the sidewalk. The Boy Scouts won’t even pick up cigarette butts, the City Council members won’t pick up cigarette butts.” (and on and on)

He lectured on politics, religion, environment, sex, drugs and more. I wondered if he had been a professor or a politician before he lost his mind. Then he packed up his shopping cart and headed to his homeless home. And I finished my drawing and also headed home, grateful for shelter and sanity.

You can see more sketches from Cathy and Sonia (with post office building history) on our Urban Sketchers S.F. Bay Area blog.

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Berkeley, Building, Drawing, Ink and watercolor wash, Painting, Places, Sketchbook Pages, Urban Sketchers
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Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. Hope that the sale of the building will give it new life, would be a shame to lose something so lovely and elegant. If it’s half as lovely as your drawing it must be really wonderful. And I shall not take my sanity for granted anymore after reading your commentary! Gives me whole new reason to be thankful!

  2. What an event that must have been –sounds rather entertaining. Nice that you have a sketch group to hangout with. The building looks lovely — cool how the 2 mailboxes echo the arches at the entrance.

    • Thanks for noticing that little touch with the mailboxes. I do enjoy my sketch group. We are a dedicated bunch and we have a standing Tuesday night outing. It’s great to see people’s progress over time too. Jana

  3. What a great drawing of this beautiful building.

    Poor man, but what a great idea of letting the guides run the PO.

  4. Hahahahaha! We get to hear a lot of those sort of folks in my neck of the woods. I’m glad you wrote some of his rants down. Who doesn’t enjoy a good rant now and then.

    Great sketch of the Post Office. I don’t know why they tear down beautiful buildings like this!

  5. As usual, Jana, you take us on a fun trip. I do wish the Powers That Be would show more respect for our old, noble buildings and renovate them rather than tear them down. I loved the rant that was keeping you company while you made that beautiful drawing. The Girl Scouts probably WOULD pick up the cigarette butts, to come to think of it…

    Annie

    • I wonder if Girl Scouts would pick up butts…all I ever see them do is sell cookies. I wasn’t in the Girl Scouts myself–I was in Camp Fire Girls. We all had pretend American Indian names and pow wows and got wooden beads for accomplishments that we sewed on our vests rather than badges. Jana

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