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Journey to UCD

Nancy shares the story of how she and her family came to Davis.

Submitted by Nancy Richter Brzeski; 01/2008

This story relates to the past.

Categories: Coming to Davis, New Beginnings, UCD, Unforgettable Experiences.

I was standing depressed and forlorn in a hotel room in Detroit when the phone rang. We had just made the cross-country trip from Berkeley with our 8-month-old daughter, so that André could join the economics faculty at Wayne State University. It cost $1,000 to move my belongings. I had left behind a cottage overlooking Tilden Park, with a sunny patio and view of Wildcat Mountain, and devoted friends. I had hoped to stay there, or near there, for the rest of my life.


In Detroit it was grey and cold. I looked out on a dreary downtown in complete chaos, as they were renovating that area. There wasn’t even a place to push a stroller. I had come to California alone in 1957, having left Pittsburgh where I grew up, a dirty, smoggy industrial city in those days. But fate had brought me to Detroit. Then the phone rang. It was Frank Child, Chairman of the Economics Department at UCD. He said there would be an opening and wondered if André was still interested? I became ecstatically happy. When André came home I said, “There was a call from California!” After much thought and discussion, we decided it couldn’t hurt to go and see Davis. So we went, with our baby in my arms.

I woke up early in the morning at the Golden Bear motel on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. The sun was shining. The sky was an incredible blue. There was a pot of fuchsias hanging outside the bathroom window. I was so happy to be home again! In Davis we had a nice lunch at the home of one of André’s future colleagues, and we met the chairman’s wife, who opened the door and announced exuberantly, “I’m Eve! Come in!” We got a very good impression of Davis and subsequently moved here.


We have lived here for 45 years and raised two children who love Davis. Now that we are octogenarians, we spend the weekends in my San Francisco condo. We feel very lucky to have the best of both worlds.

This site provided with the assistance of the Davis Community Network.