Summer Of 99--stalking John
Have lunch at the Steinbeck House in Salinas, then see the Western Stage adaptation of Grapes of Wrath.
Thursday, May 27, 1999
Summer in Salinas is unlike summer on the Monterey coast, and maybe unlike any other place in California. There is one reason for that--and his name is John Steinbeck.
Even though Steinbeck''s poetic descriptions of green fields and gold hills around Salinas earned him Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for literature, Salinas had a love/hate relationship with Steinbeck for many years, until last year when it fervently reclaimed him with the opening of the National Steinbeck Center. The author, who was born in a large brown Victorian on Central Avenue in 1902, left town after high school graduation in 1919.
As a young man, Steinbeck roamed the streets of Salinas when not writing fiction, no doubt walking the three blocks from his house to the site of the center on Main Street dozens of times.
In 1971, the Salinas Valley Guild organized support to restore the Steinbeck''s family house, and in 1973, they bought it. It is now open for lunch six days a week with a set weekly menu served in the original dining room, living room and bedroom of the home. Period furniture, decor and family photos enhance the meal. Make reservations early in the 11:30am-2pm time slot--one of the two entres may run out before you arrive.
This summer also marks the 60th anniversary of Steinbeck''s most famous novel, The Grapes of Wrath. The story of the migrant Joad family and their escape from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma is being presented by the Western Stage Theater at Hartnell College, Aug. 5-14.
Lunch at the Steinbeck House, 132 Central Ave., Salinas. $10.50/meal and drink, tax included; $15.50 with dessert. Call for reservations Mon.-Sat., 424-2735. The Grapes of Wrath, Hartnell College Performing Arts Mainstage, 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas. Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays, 2pm. $18/general, $16/students and seniors, $10/children. 755-6816.