Grace’s travels

Grace, Martha, and I loved to take road trips in California, camping on the coast, in the Sierras, along highway 395 on the eastern side of the Sierras. At home in Berkeley we often walked the trails of Tilden Park and later Redwood Park.

Then in 1970 we had our first big international adventure: six months on the Costa del Sol in Spain. After stops in Ireland and London we landed in Madrid, enjoyed Christmas Eve in Toledo, and settled in Nerja, 50km east of Malaga.  From there we traveled to the Andalusian cities of Ronda, Cordoba, Seville, and Granada. Life in Nerja was quiet and slow, despite the busloads of Germans, Brits, and Scandanavians descending on el Balcon de Europa regularly.

One of Grace’s village life stories was the Sunday morning that she felt sure she was dying and had us call for the doctor. He was traveling so she called us to her bedside, and held our hands crying. Then Renee, visiting from Berkeley, asked where the rest of the brownies were that she’d cooked the night before. A Moroccan traveling salesman had come through and opened his coat to display dozens of little pockets, each containing a hunk of hash. Grace blushed a deep red and jumped out of bed since she’d “cleaned up the crumbs” that morning.

Continue reading Grace’s travels

Grace’s international travel picked up in 1980 when her sister Aggie invited her to go to China with her, just after ping pong diplomacy opened the gateway.  Then they traveled to India, Kashmir, and Sri Lanka in 1985, Italy in 1987, and a grand tour from Morocco to Spain, Portugal, and France in 2002.

In 2002 Grace accompanied me to Northern China, where I was working on environmental projects in Dalian. My sponsor, Dean Wu, treated us to a lavish all mushroom banquet and pulled strings to get us into a Chinese-only resort famous for its great beauty since the eighth century. This poem is from that fantastic visit. Bing Yu Guo

In 2003 I was a faculty member at a summer course on sustainable development in Chalon en Champagne, France. Timing was right so Grace and I celebrated our anniversary on a Bateaux Parisiens luxury dinner cruise on the Seine and by the river in Chalon en Champagne. From there we went to another course and a stay in a villa near Krakov, Poland. See photos in the travel gallery.

Grace and Ernest

Grace and I met in the Fall of 1955. I was a senior in anthropology and she was the department secretary. She was warm and open and had a lovely smile. I fell in love with her almost instantly.

We went to see Mr. Hulot’s Holiday for a first date, enjoying Jacques Tati’s wry slapstick in this comedy with very little dialogue. We’ve watched it many times since. (A dvd of it arrived the day before Grace died.)

On Valentine’s day I proposed marriage, after a number of friends and my mother advised me to stick with my plan for graduate work instead. My mother had even warned Grace that I would likely die at an early age or become blind because of my diabetes. Grace just said yes to my proposal.


For now I’ll not write a decade by decade walk through of Grace’s marriage to me. But there is one period that is worth covering. In the late 60s and early 70s we went through a dance that led to our separation for a year. It’s an archetype of what many couples went through then. The male chauvinism I displayed forty years ago appears too often today, even in the Republicans’ policies on women’s role and freedoms. Grace’s journals from that time display a remarkable maturity.  see next post

Grace and Martha

Martha was born June 8, 1958 in San Francisco.