|My sister hanging out with Mack and the boys...|
If you're one of my five loyal blog readers, you know how I feel about John Steinbeck. Once I started reading his books, I rapidly fell in love with his work. There are only a few books left to finish, and I have read many favorites over and over again. My sister gave me a thick volume for Christmas last year, Steinbeck: A Life in Letters, which is still on my tall "must read" piles. It was a treat to be able to visit the inside of Pacific Biological Laboratories this afternoon.
The docent did a fabulous job explaining the importance of Steinbeck's relationship to Ed Ricketts, how their discussions, adventures, and their parallel lives influenced each other. Sitting in Ed's living room, thinking about all of the people and the conversations absorbed in the walls was pretty wonderful. You could feel it in the room. The docent spoke in more detail about Ed's untimely death, and it's effect upon Steinbeck. How, after the train accident, Steinbeck was stuck on the east coast, trying to get a flight to see his dying friend. I will leave you with a quote from Steinbeck's forward to The Log from the Sea of Cortez, entitled "About Ed Ricketts":
"There it is. That's all I can set down about Ed Ricketts. I don't know whether any clear picture has emerged. Thinking back and remembering has not done what I hoped it might. It has not laid the ghost. The picture that remains is a haunting one. It is the time just before dusk. I can see Ed finishing his work in the laboratory. He covers his instruments and puts his papers away. He rolls down the sleeves of his wool shirt and puts on his old brown coat. I see him go out and get in his beat-up old car and slowly drive away in the evening. I guess I'll have that with me all my life."
Sadly, the lab will revert back to the city at the end of this year. I worry for it's future, based on what has happened to the rest of the buildings on Cannery Row. It feels like one of the last authentic buildings of an important era. Hopefully, the city will see it's significance.
|The last authentic part of Cannery Row...|
|Sitting across from some of Doc's records was a treat...|
|Looking at Doc's bookshelves...|
|Old folding chairs...|
|Marine specimen holding tanks...|
|In the garage was the heart of the lab...|
|This desk sailed on the Western Flyer with John Steinbeck...|
|The view from the sea...|
|Close ups of the holding tanks...|
|Doc's son practiced his trumpet near the pilings...|
|All that's left now of La Ida Cafe...|
|Large murals of the former inhabitants of Cannery Row...|
|And, dinner in Carmel to celebrate the birth of grandson Gabe...|