I’ve dreamt of the sounds of Telegraph Avenue for most of my life. My father used to mesmerize me with stories of his childhood trips to Rasputin Music and the glow of Christmas lights in the winter. When we found out I’d be living so close to the street during my time at UC Berkeley, our insides filled with an excitement we could barely keep up with. In a way, moving to Berkeley was a brand new opening for me while it was a reopening for my father.
When I’m in the throes of mental and emotional exhaustion, I walk down Telegraph Avenue. I listen to the songs people play through their speakers — the hits from the chess players on Haste, the instrumentals from The Gifts of Tara, the beats from residents sitting at their upper story windows. I listen to the songs of Telegraph Avenue, and I’m instantly elevated to a different mindset. When Telegraph Avenue sings to me, I’m reminded of my community. I’m reminded of the same steps my father took decades ago, and I’m filled with gratitude that the street has been introduced to me at such a pivotal time of my life.
When I’m home during our academic breaks, I miss the echoes of the street I’d hear from my window in Berkeley. I miss the sounds of honking cars and hollering students — I miss the music.
Telegraph Avenue knows how to heal me from within. How to soothe my sorrows and enhance my excitement. I find ways to make the most out of the street — running down its pavement in the middle of energetic college nights, prancing down the market with my kitten on Sunday afternoons, picking up my favorite foods when I’m feeling in the mood.
Sometimes, I fear for the day I’ll have to leave. I constantly find myself wondering if I could relocate somewhere that gives me the same sensation Telegraph Avenue does once I graduate. I’ve considered cities in New York, Boston, Seattle — yet they all lack one thing Berkeley gifts to me, that connection with my father.
Then I realized, I don’t have to find another place that will make me feel the exact way Telegraph Avenue does. This street will forever have its own, significant meaning to me, and I can still find another place that fills me with an equal amount of joy without having the need to replace Telegraph.
I want to be able to return years from now and reminisce on my years in Berkeley. I want to walk through Moe’s, Rasputin’s and every other store I’ve stepped foot in, and remember the awe I felt in my twenties being in that exact spot. I want to listen to the songs Telegraph sings to me and be placed back at this very moment of my life.