Life After Capuchino††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† by Elaine Leblang Freed

Written Nov. 8, 2009


Canít believe itís been 50 years since Capuchino, but itís been a good ride.

Always wanted to teach but instead of going to S.F. State with my friends and living at home, I went to U.C. Berkeley.On the very first day of Reg week 1960, I met my husband of 46 years, David Freed, at an exchange at my dorm, Freeborn Hall.We didnít marry until 1963, beginning our senior years, but have been riding the roller coaster together ever since.

At that time at Cal, you needed an academic major and minor so mine were French and English (thanks to Mr. Medders and Miss Hallisy).No Education major; needed 5 years for a credential.I was accepted in my junior year for a special 5th year program to work in Oakland at a ďculturally deprivedĒ (remember that language) school.I would get a beginning salary and go to classes all year, finishing with a credential and a masterís in Education.It didnít happen.Marriage led to a child born in March of my senior year, finishing my B.A. with two summer sessions.David was entering Boalt Law School; I had a 6-month old baby and needed a job that didnít require ALL my attention.

And so it began.By the end of Davidís third year at Boalt, we lived in Married Studentsí Housing with two children:Mark 3 yr. and Deborah 3 months.David got a job in S.F. with a small law firm.We moved to Woodacre in Marin County, and bought a house in Corte Madera within a year.We stayed there for about 10 years, moving to Kent Woodlands with both children in Middle School, Deb jumping to two years behind Mark.We stayed for 15 years, the children both attending Redwood High School and then U.C. Berkeley.Mark went to U. of Michigan for an MBA; Deb got an MBA at U.S.C.

I, on the other hand, taught as a kindergarten aide for a year, and then realized they were firing 10-year tenured teachers in Marin.I made the mistake of getting a job as a secretary instead of getting my credential anyway even with no job in sight.I had volunteered in the childrenís classrooms, was in many organizations, played tennis all the time instead of going to school.My job history then shifted from education to secretarial work, ending as a Managing Partnerís secretary at a medium size patent law firm in S.F.My English did come into play as lawyers who are engineers as well are usually not so accurate with their English.

David was Managing Partner at a medium law firm and specialized in Taxes and Corporate Law including estates.He saw his clients were making a lot more money than he was with investments and started the shift.By 1991 he moved the small firm he had started to Napa and we sold our house in Marin in 1992 and moved to about 8 acres on the north edge of Napa where we live today.The only original structure on the property is the swimming pool which miraculously has lasted to provide constant enjoyment for us and our family.(I tell people that I learned to swim at Capuchino in order to graduate and havenít stopped since).

Mark lives in Menlo Park with his wife Leslie and their two children Rachel 13 and Jordan 10-1/2 and is a senior manager at Intel in Transfer Tax Pricing traveling all over the world.His wife teaches Special Ed at Woodside High.Deborah lives in Mill Valley with her husband Jonathan and their three children Hannah 11-1/2, Jack almost 10 and Sarah 8.Jonathan works with David and another partner in Napa at an extremely successful vineyard investment company, owning wine grapes all over California and selling to wineries.The company started with individual investors and now has corporate backing.Deborah is extremely involved in Mill Valley schools and selling their Oro Puro dessert wine to very fancy restaurants all over the country.We call her ďMarketing Mom.Ē

I began to teach when we moved to Napa working part time in elementary schools with non-English speakers, kids struggling in math, and children who needed mentoring.I meanwhile put thousands of miles on whatever car babysitting for my five grandchildren and nieces and nephews over the last 13 years.That definitely has been the best part of my life.Davidís sister Lynne died of pancreatic cancer in 2000 so we have ďadoptedĒ her three children who all live in California with their families, Becca and Jeremy are in Sacramento with two girls Taylor 8 and Madeleine 5-1/2; Tanya and Javier live in Visalia with two boys Diego 2-1/2 and Elijah 1; and Jonathan and Arlyn live in San Diego with Lukas who is almost 1-1/2.Our best fun is at our house with everyone for holidays and weekends and then on a yearly July Anniversary trip to Hawaii with everyone.Davidís other sister Karen and her husband have lived in Israel since 1977 with Arnold starting solar energy companies, the current one based in Oakland and called Bright Source.We see them much more now than in the past, but also journey to Israel to visit their big family usually at least once a year.Weíre going in January and then again for a Bar Mitzvah in June.They have 5 children and 10 grandchildren with their two youngest not married yet.

We have been fortunate enough to travel extensively and have just started seeing places on cruises instead of schlepping luggage from one place to another.We love France, Italy and Spain particularly.And now that one of our nephews and his family lives in Australia for a while, we might venture back there.

I am extremely grateful for my life and the opportunities that have come our way.The Bay Area is paradise, I think, so I want to live here forever (but would consider La Jolla as an alternative).My grands say that my obsession with Starbuckís began when I was at Capuchino High; I say, ďBut hazelnut lattes are my favorite.Ē