woensdag 30 maart 2016

John Steinbeck 's homes


132 Central Avenue, Salinas, California
The Steinbeck House at 132 Central Avenue, Salinas, California, the Victorian home where Steinbeck spent his childhood.
Eagle Rock
On graduating from Stanford, Steinbeck’s roommate Dook (Carlton A. Sheffield) taught English at Occidental College in the Los Angeles suburb of Eagle Rock. The writer stayed at Dook’s rooming house in 1925 en route to board the freighter Katrina at Long Beach for his first voyage to New York. The building at 1501 Campus Rd. is now the Intercultural Community Center of Occidental College.steinbeckcountry./eagle-rock-los-angeles
He returned with Carol Henning late in 1929 when Dook and his wife cajoled the couple into a judge’s office to perform their marriage ceremony. They rented a cottage at 2741 El Roble Drive where Steinbeck worked on an early draft of To A God Unknown.

147 11th Street, Pacific Grove

John Steinbeck’s father built this small three-room cottage as a vacation home in 1903. The family spent many weekends here just a short walk from their maternal grandmother’s house on Central Avenue and few blocks from Monterey Bay. 
In 1930 Steinbeck and his new bride moved into the cottage where they lived on Carol’s secretarial income and an allowance of $25 a month from his parents. Aided by his father, he built a Mexican-style fireplace, closed in the front porch and moved the entry to the side yard to make the house suitable for year round occupation. They also cultivated the garden and added a fish pond.
Here Steinbeck learned his craft on The Pastures of Heaven, To A God Unknown, In Dubious Battle, Tortilla Flat and The Red Pony. He began Of Mice and Men while still living at the cottage. According to Steinbeck, acting in a critical capacity their setter dog Toby chewed up the first manuscript. He recreated it after they moved to Los Gatos for more room and privacy in 1936.
Steinbeck returned to the house several times in the 1940s as a retreat from the increasing pressures of fame and fortune. Today it is owned by descendants of his sister Elizabeth Steinbeck Ainsworth. More photo's on: blog.sfgate

The Santa Cruz Mountains

  "We came up, built a four room house for ourselves, much like the Greenwood Road house. There had been an oil well on the place and we used the big timbers and boards for our house."  Steinbeck loved his mountain hideaway so much so that he called it an estate. "Then since Carol loves to swim I asked about swimming pools and I discovered a curious thing. The cost of swimming pools isn't the pool but the machinery for filtering the water over and over since water is expensive. But we had a four inch head of spring water. Now we built a long narrow swimming pool and turned our spring into it. If it were a city pool with the big pumps and filters, it would have cost between eight and ten thousand dollars. But a concrete tank with a spring running in costs $1500."

John had begun writing The Grapes of Wrath in Los Gatos, but wrote the bulk of it on the mountain.

Los Gatos, California (now Monte Sereno)

Greenwood Lane Home

In May 1936, John and Carol Steinbeck purchased a 0.663 hectare plot of land in what was then Los Gatos, California (now Monte Sereno). Carol designed a small, 139 square meter home, built in summer 1936 and the first home owned by Steinbeck. To insure his privacy, Steinbeck built an 250cm-high grape stake fence around the property. On the entrance gate he placed a carved wooden plaque, "Arroyo del Ajo" (Garlic Gulch). While living in this house, Steinbeck completed Of Mice and Men and wrote much ofThe Grapes of Wrath. There he entertained guests such as Burgess Meredith and Charlie Chaplin. Because other homes were being built close by to the Steinbecks, they began to lose their privacy. Consequently they moved again, selling this house in September 1938. In December 1989, this house was added to the National Historic Registry. Steinbeck had built the house for approximately $8,000; it sold in 2004 for $5,600,000. sjsu.edu/steinbeck

 Pacific Grove
425 Eardley Avenue, Monterey

After separating from his wife Carol and leaving the Biddle Ranch in April 1941, Steinbeck purchased a small run-down house under the shade of a spreading live oak tree on Eardley Avenue in Monterey. Here he worked with Ed Ricketts on the manuscript of Sea of Cortez and with producer Lewis Milestone on the screenplay for The Red Pony

Close to the border with Pacific Grove and directly up the hill from Ricketts Lab on Cannery Row, the house was also within walking distance of the studio of Ellwood Graham and Judith Deim (then known as Barbara Stevenson). Steinbeck hired Graham to paint his portrait as a favor to the artist who needed the money. Reproductions exist but the original canvas is lost.

At Eardley Street, Carol and his much younger lover, Gwyn Conger, engaged in a confrontation over his indecision as to which woman he should stay with. Both claimed to be pregnant. Steinbeck elected to join Gwyn and by the end of the year had moved with her to New York. steinbeckcountry

'I bought a small house and garden in Pacific Grove...' (John Steinbeck: A Life in Letters). John Steinbeck wrote these words to a friend about this charming house he called home in the 1940s.vrbo

The "Steinbeck Adobe"
460 Pierce St. Monterey

On returning from his role as a war correspondent, in 1944 Steinbeck purchased the Lara-Soto Adobe in Monterey as a family home for Gwyn and their infant son Thom. He had known the adobe since boyhood and declared “It is one of the oldest and nicest adobes in town.” Here and in an office on Alvarado Street Steinbeck wrote The Pearl. The family left for Mexico in early 1945 to work on the filming of the movie. They never returned as, angered by Steinbeck’s unflattering portrayal of the town in Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat, Monterey’s wartime rationing board made life difficult for them.

 Ed Ricketts' Home 331 Lighthouse Ave.

Ricketts was a real-life buddy of Steinbeck and you can drive by his home at. in 331 Lighthouse Ave Pacific Grove, just south of Monterey. It's a private residence, as is the Steinbeck family cottage at 147 11th St. The family often spent summers at the cottage, escaping the merciless heat of the valley. 


facebook/historic photo of Ocean Ave

New York

The Making of a New Yorker

November 1, 2009

New York is the only city I have ever lived in. I have lived in the country, in the small town, and in New York. It is true I have had apartments in San Francisco, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Paris, and sometimes stayed for months, but that is a very different thing. This is a matter of feeling.
The transition from small town to New York is a slow and rough process. I am writing it not because I think my experience was unique; quite the contrary. I suspect that millions of New Yorkers who were not born here have had much the same experience–at least parallel experiences….
When I came the first time to New York in 1925 I had never been to a city in my life. I arrived on a boat, tourist, one hundred dollars. It was November…. Read all; mivialartsthe-making-of-a-new-yorker

After a brief stay with friends in Suffren, New York, John and Gwyn moved to a two-bedroom apartment at the Bedford, a residential hotel in Manhattan. Six months later, they moved to a rented house at Sneden’s Landing, across the Hudson River. It was during this time that Steinbeck published The Moon is Down. literarytraveler

Hudson River Cottage
55 Woods Road Palisades, N.Y.

 A charming waterfront Tudor-style stone cottage where Orson Welles lived around the time he was working on “Citizen Kane” and where John Steinbeck later lived. hudson-river-cottage

Gramercy Park North
He lived in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and also in a tiny room in the old Parkwood Hotel at 38 Gramercy Park N., now converted to condo units, before returning disillusioned to California in 1926. steinbeckcountry/new-york-residences

From afar, New York, like many of the cities he loved, held a captivating beauty and magnetic pull. But up close, these cities felt more like anchors. Home, for Steinbeck, was the road. Upon his return from the war, he was overcome by nostalgia for Monterey. He talked frequently of moving back until he learned Gwyn was pregnant. And so he delayed plans to move back to Monterey until after the baby was old enough to travel.

330 East 51st Street

John Steinbeck moved to 330 East 51st Street in 1943, only four years after the publication of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novelThe Grapes of Wrath. It was at this 1899 brick townhouse that he wrote Cannery Row; at the time he was working as a war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. After traveling extensively during the late ‘40s, Steinbeck moved back to New York in 1951 and lived at 206 East 72nd Street until his death in 1968.

206 E 72nd St

Steinbeck lived in a beautiful brownstone house at this site from 1951 until his death in 1968. The house has been replaced by an apartment building called the Wellesley. His house looked very much like the one still standing at 210 E 72nd. He wrote Winter of our Discontent and Travels with Charley while living here.

The end of Steinbeck’s second marriage set him wandering once more, through California, Mexico and eventually back to New York. In 1949 he met Elaine Scott, the woman who would become his third and final wife. They were married in 1950. It was during the writer’s years with Elaine that he finally found his home – first spiritually, then physically.

Sag Harbor

Although Steinbeck and Elaine settled into two apartments on East Fifty-second Street, it was in Sag Harbor, Long Island the pair found their nest. He and Elaine first discovered the place when they vacationed there in the summer of 1953. In 1955, they bought a summer home in Sag Harbor. The couple loved the ocean and Sag Harbor was nearly surrounded by water. literarytraveler

Finding too many distractions while trying to write in the tiny house, in 1958 he constructed a six-sided cabin with views of the water all around. He placed a hand-lettered a sign over the door inscribed “Joyous Garde” after Lancelot’s castle. Here Steinbeck worked on many of his later books, including The Acts of King Arthur, The Winter of our Discontent, and Travels with Charley.

Bruton, Somerset, Discove Cottage

Lots of intriguing surprises, but most intriguing of all was an exhibit about Bruton's most celebrated literary connection, who turns out to be John Steinbeck. Wrong continent, surely? But no, exposing this reader's ignorance, it turns out that California's Nobel laureate was besotted with Somerset – drawn there by a lifelong fascination with Arthurian legend, he described it to one correspondent as "Avalon". He visited three times, renting a cottage nearby for nine months in 1959, and exulting over its views of Glastonbury Tor. The author of such profoundly American stories as The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, I learned, considered that "the best work of my life and the most satisfying" would be a retelling of the King Arthur legend, updating Malory for a 20th-century audience. The book itself was never completed to Steinbeck's satisfaction. theguardian

I asked Betty specifically about the Steinbeck connection and she presented me with my own copy of “Surprise for Steinbeck,” the same book I had held in my hands on that blustery day before visiting the cottage. We looked at our photos side by side and laughed at the similarities. She shared the story of her experience at Discove Cottage, meeting Steinbeck himself (whom she admitted feeling quite intimidated by), spending meals together chatting over wine, becoming close friends. literarylegacies

March 24, 1959:

"The countryside is turning as lush as a plum. Everything is popping...All in all, this is an ancient place...There's a quality here that I haven't known for very long. The twentieth century seems very remote."

March 30, 1959:

"The peace I have dreamed about is here, a real thing, thick as a stone and feelable and something for your hands...Meanwhile I can't describe the joy. In the mornings I get up early to have a time to listen to the birds. It's a busy time for them. Sometimes for over an hour I do nothing but look and listen and out of this comes a luxury of rest and peace and something I can only describe as in-ness".

May 1, 1959:

"Yesterday something wonderful. It was a golden day and the apple blossoms are out and for the first time I climbed up to Cadbury- Camelot. I don't think I remember an impact like that. Could see from the Bristol Channel to the tops of the Mendip Hills and all the little villages. Glastonbury tor and King Alfred's towers on the other side...I walked all around the upper wall. And I don't know what I felt but it was a lot- like those slow hot bubbles of molten rock in a volcano, a gentle rumbling earthquake of the Spirit. I'll go back at night and in the rain, but this was noble gold even to use Tennyson's phrase- mystic- wonderful. Made the hairs prickle on the back of the neck."

July 3, 1959 (from Elaine Steinbeck):

"Yesterday we drove through Plush Folly, a new addition to our place-name list. It is in Dorset...We drove down to below Dorchester and climbed Maiden Castle, a vast hill-fortress which goes back to 2000 B.C. It's a marvelous and enormous flat-topped hill with 8 ditches, deep and steep-sided. You could sure defend one hell of a lot of people up there...We also went to Cerne Abbas to see the Dorset Giant...I think they put him there to scare the tar out of passing ladies..."

Biographies by both Benson and Parini recount Elaine's recollection of a conversation with her husband during his final hours. He asked her "What's the best time we ever had together?" "The time at Discove," they agreed. muse.jhu.edu


1 Avenue de Marigny, Paris

With Elaine and his two sons, in 1954 Steinbeck lived in a five-story town house, the former servants’ quarters for a large mansion owned by the Rothschild banking family, across the street from the Palais de l'Élysée (Presidential Palace).

From June through September he wrote an article each week for Le Figaro newspaper. Presented as an American’s impression of the country, they were translated into French and published in the weekend literary supplement. In 1956 these pieces were collected into a volume as Un Américain à New-York et à Paris.

Steinbeck used the address of the townhouse (1 Avenue de Marigny) as the residence of Pippin Héristal in The Short Reign of Pippin IV (1957). He set the story in the Palace of Versailles, the National Assembly, and the streets of Paris. steinbeckcountry/paris-france

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Mijn naam is Geri Meftah.  Info: Mefta001@gmail.com

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