Today would have been John Steinbeck’s birthday. He had a profound effect on my life.

John Steinbeck: American writer of The Grapes of Wrath, the 1939 Pulitzer prize-winning novel. Set in the Great Depression, it tells the story of a family of poor sharecroppers on their failing Oklahoma farm, who travel to California in search of work and dignity. Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California, United States. He died on December 20, 1968. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 1962.

I think it is possible I owe a lot of my ‘oldentimes’ attitude to this man.  Back in the early 1970’s, in late winter, with two small children and hubby out of work, I read The Grapes of Wrath. It was a frightening experience  to begin to understand the desperation of the failies in the depression and relate it to what our family faced at that time.

We had actually been discussing the options available, the scant possibilities and whether there was hope in leaving or faith in staying. Honestly, the Joad’s experiences depressed and terrified me!  I could not give up what little we had at the eime and take a chance!

 Then, we stayed, Spring was coming we could put out garden, we had a home, and there was if nothing else, timber to cut and sell, while we waited to see what would happen. We made it that time!

I have read this book over again several tmes in the ensuing years,  grown to see the hope and courage, over the fear and despair that the first reading brought on.

We have more than once since, loaded up and taken off like the Joad’s, believing it was the thing we had to do at the time, and it always was.

John Steinbeck, thank you for the Joad’s, and the lessons they passed along.

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