ROUTE 66 – ODE TO THE JOADS (For Karen “Foto Fiddler” Roberts)
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[On U.S. Highway 66 east of Oatman, west of Kingman, Arizona]
Having made the decision to continue west on Route 66 from Kingman, Arizona all the way to California, I was still unprepared for what was essentially a step back in time.
I grew up in a family of readers, and by the time I was in junior high school, I was reading John Steinbeck. Steinbeck was the author of a number of novels that are today considered American classics. Among them are “East of Eden,” “Of Mice and Men,” “Cannery Row,” “Tortilla Flat,” and “The Grapes of Wrath.” Many of you are familiar with these titles.
I read the “Grapes of Wrath” in 9th grade (1962), and I would have to say that no book has ever influenced me more.
This was the novel that captured the American Experience during the Great Depression (1930s), chronicling the lives of the Joad Family, as they made their way from Oklahoma to California with all of their possessions lashed to the back of a truck.
As I made my way west on this tortuous segment of Route 66, I consciously thought of Ma and Pa Joad, and of Tom Joad, the anti-hero of the novel. And, I thought of Steinbeck’s detailed descriptions of the “camps,” the waysides where tired and hungry migrants might stop for a night despite the attendant danger.
So, when I saw a camp dead ahead, I stopped. Shown are a roadside view of the camp and a look back at the road just travelled (to the right side of the landscape).
Request: If you have not seen the movie, “The Grapes of Wrath,” please add it to your Netflix queue. The movie has been covered in honors and, like the novel, is considered one of the greatest examples of its genre.
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I hope you enjoyed this. Thanks for stopping by.
Also by Richard Knight
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