John Steinbeck (1902-1968) was born in Salinas and lived there and in the Monterey area for most of his life. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. Several of his novels were made into movies, notably The Red Pony, The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men.
Growing up as a teenager in South Viet Nam, I read most of his novels, first in French then in English. He remains one of my favorite authors, so it was no surprise that we went into downtown Salinas one day to visit his house.
Steinbeck was born there, and inside you could see the bed on which his mother gave birth, the child chair where he sat, and a host of other memorabilia. The upper level was a restaurant run by a group of women called the Valley Guild. The food was supposed to be good, but by the time we arrived the restaurant had closed for the day as they only served lunch.
Coming out of the house, I was struck by the beautiful flowers planted around the foundation. Here are a few shots of them. I haven’t yet learned of their names, so if you recognize them, please let me know.
A couple of blocks from his house was the National Steinbeck Center. We went to visit it on a following day, but some parade or political event was happening, so we didn’t go into it as many streets were blocked off. I did manage to take a photo of the back of the building.