It was 4 in the morning, the spring of 1982, quiet on 4th Street in Berkeley. The marble factory and Fourth Street Grill were closed. I entered the back door of Bette's Diner for my shift, got cleaned up, and started prepping. Carrot soup, raisin scones. Pancake mix. Chopped veggies.
I had just finished up the Hotel and Restaurant program at San Francisco City College with Sue, who then opened Bette's Oceanview Diner with Bette and her husband Manfred. Bette's photo - bouffant from the 60's - hung in a place of honor behind the counter.
Things went well from the start because it was indeed 'good food and friendly service' as the menu promised. Creative, smart, good cooks and entrepreneurs - Bette, Manfred and Sue were a great team, and Bette's thrived.
I was thinking about the old days recently at Bette's memorial. She left us way too young - still fully in this life. Manfred and their beloved daughter adored her, as did the rest of us.
What really struck me as hundreds of people piled into the Hillside Club in Berkeley was how Bette created community. How much richer our lives are because of her.
Bette cared about people -- her family, friends, and a much wider circle. Bette's offered customers quality food, made sure the employees had decent pay and benefits, and treated everyone with respect.