The Time I met John Steinbeck

How, you ask, was this possible? Mr. Steinbeck’s nephew, a friend of mine, still oversees the place in Sag Harbor, New York and invited me, my husband and another couple to come for a few nights stay.

Knowing I was (and am) a writer,  my travel companions saw the spark in my eyes, felt the dizzing euphoria welling up inside me as we pulled up to the house built in the 1960’s.

 

img_3117

 

He was there, all around me.  

To my right, sat this bench.

img_3116

I patted the grand Oak and entered.

 

img_3062

At first, what made things “real”for me were the original photos lining the hallway like vintage wallpaper.

But here’s the best part. Next to the bay is a gazebo. It’s where Mr. Steinbeck wrote Travels with Charlie, his poodle and  best friend, who is buried steps away, his leash inside the gazebo.

img_3065

img_3157
AROYNT, roughly meaning, go away. Steinbeck hammered the nails into the cement in front of the gazebo.
img_3160
His wife understood his need for solitude. So, at happy  hour or suppertime, she would light up the plastic goose to let him know it was time to come in.

 

Mr. Steinbeck’s nephew never gives away the gazebo’s combination. But he gave it to me. And, I wrote. There. Where HE wrote…

img_3167

img_3064

img_3699

 

… and his timeless objects still remain inside.

 

img_3110

img_3111
Wow! Just wow!

At the risk of being offensive, I opened a box containing pencils. I asked Mr. Steinbeck’s nephew if I could have one (there were many). He said, “Well, that were my aunt’s. Let me give you one that I know Uncle John wrote with.”

WHAT?

In the gazebo, he opened an old box. Inside were pencils without erasers. “Uncle John never erased,” he said. “Each day, before he started writing, he made sure his pencils were sharpened. He wrote on a Big Chief tablet.”

He handed me the pencil. Do I need to explain how I felt?

img_9622

It was two years ago last May that I inhaled greatness. Why am I finally posting this? Perhaps because, when I wrote in John Steinbeck’s gazebo facing Sag Harbor Bay, I was working on The Last Bordello. Now, it’s published.

Thank you for the inspiration, Mr. Steinbeck. And for the pencil.

img_3077

Published by

3 thoughts on “The Time I met John Steinbeck

  1. What a marvelous article; thank you for sharing it! True story: my husband’s great-uncle was John Steinbeck’s college roommate. In “Travels with Charley,” where he refers to staying at a “Tahoe Estate”? That was said uncle’s cabin.

    Like

Your response is a pleasant gift

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: