On a pleasant New Year's Day, Wednesday, January 1, a total of 22 walkers and two K-9 best friends dispelled any inclination to stay at home and not get out of bed. At the start of a new year and new decade, the group, which is sponsored by the Piedmont Recration Department, welcomed first time walkers Brenda and Eric.
Eric and his wife Joyce Hicks had just returned from East Coast to meet their new granddaughter, Edith, and Priscilla was back walking with the group after recovering from a broken ankle. Mary and Dick Carter were celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary and their son Mike came along as the group's photographer.
The group usually has a defined destination for the day's walk, but in the holiday spirit of fun and surprises, Dick Carter suggested that they have a "Tag Team Walk." He brought a red baton (full disclosure: it was 14 inches of an old broom handle) that was shared by each member of the group. Dick asked his son Mike to lead off and take the group in any direction and on any street he chose, with the stipulation that after five minutes he was to hand off the baton to another walker, who would decide where to go for the next five minutes. It was to be a wandering of Piedmont streets and going wherever the holiday spirt took the group.
Mike started off going up Highland Avenue. The group passed and admired the large white early Piedmont house at 225 Highland. It is significantly set back from the street and was one of Pied- mont's first farm homes. The five minutes timer on Dick's phone rang and it was time for Mike to hand off the batton.
He tagged Sherry Jacobs, who led the group up Pala Avenue where she handed off the baton to Harriette Louie. Five minutes later Lori Rubens led, then Heidi Shale and Mike Henn as the group wound its way through the quadrant of Monte, Moraga, Mesa and Park Way. On Monte the group passed a lovely Julia Morgan designed home and the group especially admired its unique window designs.
Claudia Lopez took the group down Park Way to Dracena Avenue where she handed off to Jim Kuo, who led the walkers to Hillside Avenue via Blair Avenue.
As the walkers approached Oakland Avenue they came to the home of Joyce Hicks and Eric Behrens who told the group about the house's history. It was built on Hillside Avenue in 1906 as a farm house, and had a major addition in 1930. Joyce and Eric bought the house in 1987 and have enjoyed it ever since. Perhaps as an anniversary present, Mary Carter then led the group down Oakland Avenue to El Cerrito Avenue to the house where her husband, Dick, grew up. Dick also a story of how his father watered their grass car strip and its sycamore in front of the house so much for over forty years that the trunk of the tree is significantly larger than that of the other trees on the block.
The walkers continued on El Cerrito past a beautiful historic home that recently was sold, and then past another Julia Morgan-designed home, the former home of George Zimmer of Men's Warehouse fame. At Magnolia Avenue Mary handed the baton back to her son Mike for the last leg of the 2-1/2-mile journey back to the Exedra.