Odd how these things happen. Wednesday I came across a youtube video by Simon Morris, ``The Literary Tourist: John Steinbeck's California,'' '' on Steinbeck and Cannery Row in Monterey, California.
It includes a moving interview of Kalisa Moore who, as a restauranteur and indomitable free spirit, has often been connected with Steinbeck and the Row, though she had only one encounter with the author. Still, like Steinbeck's characters, Doc, Mac and the Boys, Flora and the others, Kalisa by extension and the force of her character also became legendary in the Monterey area and the Steinbeck connection is likely to remain forever.
The same day, Wednesday, a friend, Paul Soifer brought in a 1980 book written by Maxine Knox and Mary Rodriguez titled ``Steinbeck's Street: Cannery Row.'' Knox and Rodriguez had known Steinbeck and loved Monterey.
I thought of Kalisa, Steinbeck and Cannery Row again today when I came across a front page story in the Monterey County Herald that Kalisa had died, on Wednesday, at age 83 at Stanford Universty Hospital in Palo Alto, California.
Described as ``Cannery Row's uncrowned matriarch for more than four decades,'' the story, by Kevin Howe, also a good friend, and Larry Parsons, carries the headline ``Dark Day on the Row.'' And so it is. It's most famous ``residents'' before Kalisa had been the great marine biologist, Ed Ricketts, the first clear voice that we were depleting the seas, and Steinbeck, who told us we were destroying lives.
Howe and Parsons' story includes Kalissa's remembrance of her only meeting with Steinbeck. It takes on an added richness with Morris' interview of Kalisa, a Latvian immigrant who survived World War II and made a new life in Monterey. Morris' footage of Kalisa comes across as quite recent, so it's good he spoke to her when he did. Thinking of Steinbeck and Kalissa and death, I happened upon another youtube video, Don Charbonneau's moving song ``The Night Steinbeck Died.'' It's a fine, deeply felt song, enriching that pattern of life and, of course, death. All are below.
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...