Personal Journeys


April 25, 2004|By Special to the Sun

A Memorable Place

Sculptures stir memories of the '60s

By H. Hoover Yount


From 1967 to 1969 my wife, four young daughters and I lived in the San Francisco Bay area.

As former Midwesterners, we were entranced by the magic of the area -- the many exotic restaurants; the delight of standing in one spot and seeing on the west the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, while on the east admiring the coastal mountain chain extending from horizon to horizon; Chinatown; and the variety of architecture, both modern and 19th-century existing comfortably together.

That was also the time of flower children; clouds of marijuana smoke hovering over the Haight-Ashbury district; and T-shirted, braless coeds roaming the campus of the University of California, Berkeley, across the bay.

Those were memorable times, but after all these years, the images that have remained with me most vividly are the sculptures by Beniamino Bufano, which were found throughout the Bay Area. (The artist was identified then as Benny Bufano.)

His style was unique, and his subjects were often creatures of the sea: otters, seals and dolphins among them. I've often wanted to return to the San Francisco area to re- acquaint myself with Bufano's work.

Then late last summer, an article appeared in the newspaper that caught my attention. The article was about a Johns Hopkins University alumnus who had lent the university nine sculptures created by his father, Benny Bufano. These had been placed in a park on the Homewood campus.

Early one sunny afternoon last fall, my wife and I drove south from our York County home to find the Bufano sculptures. We located the park on campus and a nearby parking spot, and hiked to the site.

The works were much smaller than Benny's work in San Francisco; however, they were unquestionably Bufanos. I took photos of each piece. The fall colors in the background complemented the varied colors of the sculptures.

I was gratified to learn that the sculptures, which had been damaged by vandals, had been carefully restored. After I finished photographing the sculptures, my wife and I lingered awhile as the setting sun subtly altered the hues of Bufano's work.

Then we took our leave -- reluctantly, but heartened by the likelihood that we can easily return to enjoy Bufano's artistry again. And a visit to the Hopkins campus saves the time and expense of a trip to San Francisco.

H. Hoover Yount lives in New Freedom, Pa.

My Best Shot

Barry A. Bass, Baltimore

Modern Mexico

Americans are often surprised to discover the enthusiasm with which our Mexican neighbors have embraced modern architecture. A good example of this architectural exuberance can be found at the Westin Regina, a resort built at the tip of the Baja peninsula. In the distance is where the Gulf of California meets the Pacific Ocean.

Readers Recommend

Languedoc, France

Nancy McCord, Columbia

We traveled to the Languedoc region in southern France last fall, and stayed in a 16th-century village near Olargues. During our stay we came across many picturesque towns that reminded us of those seen in World War II movies. This region was known to be where Resistance fighters were active against occupying German forces. One of the highlights of the trip was the friendly people we met along the way. People were happy to help as we struggled to make our French understood.

Lancaster County, Pa.

Mark Kaufman, Columbia

Last fall The Sun Travel section described a day trip to Pennsylvania to tour covered bridges. We followed the tour and had a great day. While most bridges were similar, each had a different setting. We were usually able to pull off the road and walk around, through and even under the bridges. At one bridge we came upon a school group learning how the bridges were constructed. We joined in and knew what to look for later.

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