Ghosts in Berkeley

by Steed Dropout
Jan. 12, 2014
Berkeley, Ca


Those Med heads who could soon become dead heads, gathered on the Caffe Mediterraneum’s [historicTelegraph Ave. hot-spot] mezzanine, Saturday, to re-create the spirit of possibly the greatest med-head ever, Jean Margron–1931-2013.

Med heads were joined by more than 125 of Margron’s friends, making this the mother of all med gatherings. The three-hour celebration, which climaxed with deflated balloons signifying surrender to death, turned the downstairs Med into a ghost town.

Ghosts of the Med, according to legend, live behind the Med mural, but emerge at Med tables where they engage in conversation with the living. Margron, who died at home surrounded, characteristically, with a harem anointing his brow, joined table #2–after the ceremony memorializing him–to perform his raised eyebrows routine and reassure his friends, who depended on his presence for peace of mind.

Jean Margron, 1931-2013. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Some speakers choked-up, but the death-event, came off as a polished performance, thanks to the efforts of Margron’s daughter Rami and her husband, Cass–Berkeley thespians and living proof that Margron lives.

Highlights: if you wanted to make him mad, “just mention William F. Buckley.”

“He had terrible taste in movies. his cars were all “old and dumpy,” but he could fix them. “An amazing friend.” And “a lot of fun…always a kid” (from his kid). “He slept in a coffin.”

Rami Margron (daughter), a well-known Berkeley actress, riffs on her dad.
Photo by Ted Friedman.

“Whenever I came to the Med, I came to his table. I miss him every day”–a Med head.
He crumbled, like Superman at Kryptonite, over Lawrence Welk. “There is no one here he didn’t save. If your heart was broken, he was there. He had the brain of an engineer. He figured things out; he was brilliant.”

“He had no fear of his death. I’ve never known a more fearless guy. He took up Akido at 60.”

The ass-bag caper. When his best friend had an ailing back, he invented “the ass-bag,” a drawing, which he kicked while semi-nude; it worked. “He was always dancing with pretty girls.”

The Margron Crowd on Caffe Med mezzanine. Photo by Ted Friedman.

According to Rami Margron, Jean Margron was born July 23rd, 1931 in NYC, the only child of Haitian immigrants Louis and Lucia Margron. He attended Bronx School of Science and later was drafted in the Korean War, during which time he served in Austria. He moved to Berkeley in the late 1950’s, where he worked as an engineer for Singer Sewing Machines.

Later in life he worked as a moving man for NorCal Moving Services. He was a fencer, a black belt in Aikido, a brown belt in Judo, a great dancer, and was crowned King of the West in the Society for Creative Anachronism. He is survived by his only daughter, Rami Margron.

Margron, left. Touche!

These views do not reflect those of publications in which my work appears. See dropout’s latest South Side Tale(s) in the Berkeley Times, which welcomes your subscription for by-mail-delivery.

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