Does the Painting Ever Fade in John Steinbeck's Books?

John Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley. He was born like I with a keen sense - though he studied at Stanford and witnessed The Dust Bowl, we were both raised on fertile land. As a child like he we picked among the migrant workers. I in the Willamette Valley and he in the most fertile land in the World: California's Central Coast. I loved the strawberries in Silverton/ he loved a Pine tree so that he called it his brother. I'd remembered picking and I'd must pick clean. Though it was hard work we were at-least paid. What enticed me about this topic is when my Mother came to visit me recently. It had been a long time since I'd left Oregon for better days and as I lay in bed- my Mother and I shared memories.

After I was discussing my life and journey to the Golden State/ she recommended the "Grapes of Wrath." We discussed life and my love of writing.

"Isn't it nice hear Mom never having to be cold? I'ts like living in a perpetual sauna in California."

"Yes it feels good and cozy/ my arthritis doesn't hurt. John Steinbeck lived in a different time then you, but he loved nature and being outside. I know that's why you moved away you love the sun."

"You remember the Painting I painted before I left Oregon? I wanted to be here and now I am." Mom had mummbled and started to sleep and then I remembered my 1st jobs like Club Starlight and "Cocktails anyone," at The Variety Arts Center in Los Angeles. I'd recalled how surprised I was as the competition was fierce. There were flyers everywhere always looking for a new girl." Though I met my husband at a Hostess Club we've all heard about the Phil Spector case. She mumbled again.

"Andrea you need to read the "Grapes of Wrath." He's talking about people like you."

Well this is interesting I thought- he must speak his mind. After reading the "Grapes of Wrath," I became more intrigued so I also read another book about him titled: The Students Guide to John Steinbeck.

Whoever would have written like he must have been great. There it was told in the words by his college friend. One Sunday morning at church the Pastor gave a sermon to young Steinbeck. He told them to feed the soul and not be concerned about their bodies.

Steinbeck became very angry, "Yes," he shouted, " you all look satisfied here, while outside the world begs for a crust of bread or a chance to earn it. Feed the body and the soul will take care of itself! "

His work was an insight to how humans handle loss. I'd heard about trauma in Palestine and when I visited in 1998 I believed it. During the migration the workers were deamend as they were forced to live in camps. It's interesting how some refused to leave Oklahoma, and other left. Some never returned out of shame. Then I recalled how my husband's family told me their relative from Chicago only stayed three hours in Gaza and was afraid to drink the water.

California is a double edged sword. I don't know if I was as strong as Tom but I do know when he told his Mother its done you good just thinking about it- it's true. I can accept my own short comings easier and I know like the Dust Bowl what we take out we must put back. So I leave you with my Painting of paradise and I promise you if you'll read him your own portrait will emerge.