Holy Hill, Berkeley
- Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
I've been reading a series of mystery stories recommended by my sister: The Periodic Table Mysteries. I'm reading the 7th now - The Nitrogen Murder by Camille Minichino - and in this one the main character, a retired physicist, travels to Berkeley for the wedding of a friend. In the part I'm reading now, she and her friend, Elaine, go for a walk around the neighborhood, which includes Holy Hill ...
Elaine and I returned to one of our favorite routes, up and down Holy Hill, the local name for Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union. Nine different Catholic and Protestant seminaries and a dozen other religious programs were centered at GTU. We played our traditional game of picking out religion or theology students from the other passersby. We checked out the spines of their books, noticing their medals, pins, and T-shirt logos (WWJD slogans were in the lead: What Would Jesus Do? A close second was Shanti, the Hindu word for peace).
We thought the snippets of conversation were uniquely Berkeley. "Deepak Chopra is old news," from a young man with very worn Birkenstocks. "I'm listening to an audiotape by Houston Smith."
"I thought he was dead," from his female companion.
A nun in a modified dark blue habit crossed the street in front of us. Her posture was ramrod straight; her veil hung off the back of her head, like a fabric ponytail.
"I didn't think they wore those anymore," said I, a long-lapsed Catholic with no factual basis for the observation ...