Can­nery Row

Pulp Literature - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - Su­san Pi­eters

Su­san Pi­eters is a fourth-gen­er­a­tion Cal­i­for­nian who took warm weather for granted un­til she moved to Van­cou­ver. Now that she’s a Cana­dian, she sits at home dur­ing rainy nights and writes about sun­shine. This story, told from the point of view of a young boy, sur­prised her.

Can­nery Row

I ad­just the fo­cus on my Dad’s Nikon and shoot.

The build­ing is sim­ple bare wood, plain and hon­est, no cheer­ful ve­neer of paint. The hor­i­zon­tal boards are aged from the sun. They’ve been bleached past sil­ver to dark again. I won­der if a fire has passed and singed the edges into char­coal. But I think it’s from the sun, be­cause that’s what light does, given enough time. It re­veals the sci­en­tific truth of a thing and brings it back to el­e­men­tal earth, to es­sen­tial car­bon, even as it stands.

“That’s where Stein­beck wrote Can­nery Row, right in there.” My mother stands be­side me as I take the pic­ture. She’s lit a cig­a­rette. It’s the sev­en­ties, and women are en­ti­tled to their priv­i­leges.

I step away from her. I’m only four­teen, but I’m my fa­ther’s son, and I don’t smoke.

My Dad has a wide-an­gle lens, and I wish I had it with me. I want to cap­ture how small the two-storey build­ing is next to the tall can­nery build­ings. The can­ner­ies also look de­crepit, empty, de­serted. Faded let­ter­ing on the sides.

My mother gets half­way through her cig­a­rette. “Most peo­ple don’t know about this place. But it should be a mon­u­ment.”

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