Monday, March 1, 2010

National Steinbeck Center

Making a trip to Salinas has been a goal of mine ever since we first came to California. It is the hometown of John Steinbeck. The town and  surrounding agricultural valley  provided for Steinbeck some very rich material for his writings. The first stop we made( after attending worship services in Salinas) was Steinbeck's home where he lived the first 17 years of his life. It is also where he wrote some of his shorter stories as The Red Pony.
Unfortunately on Sundays tours are not given of the home. It is also a restaurant, which is serves only lunch a few days of the week. The Steinbeck center more than made up for not being able to tour the home. After viewing the Steinbeck Exhibition Hall I felt that I had thoroughly been reacquainted with this popular author. The center provides a lot of fascinating details from Steinbeck's  interesting and colorful life to his award-winning works. There is a vintage Model T automobile representing his novel East of Eden, a statue of the red pony from the story of the same name, and the original "Rocinate" ( the truck he drove while writing Travels with Charley). In this museum is also seven themed small theaters showing film clips from such movies as Cannery Row and Grapes of Wrath ( as a side note here, a staff member informed us that in Japan the title of that latter novel is "angry raisins"). There is also a news clip of Steinbeck giving his acceptance speech when he received the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature. I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon spent at this center. It also has an agricultural museum which provides the history of the Salinas valley. From there we drove to the cemetery where Steinbeck is buried. Arriving there we were greeted with this sign.
After that bit of information we were left on our own to find the grave. We had to walk quite a distance in to find it, and we had just about given up when John found a small grave marker with a larger headstone by it with the name of Hamilton. That was his mother's maiden name. In that burial plot, besides Steinbeck, are his parents, third wife, sister, and possibly an uncle. For some strange reason the author has a plastic white lamb over his grave marker. The red flower is positioned by his wife's grave.

No comments:

Post a Comment