#3 Steinbeck’s Lion, Willys
Wizzo was again high bidder at an historic auction of items from the New York City apartment of John Steinbeck, (winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962.)
The item in question was an unpublished manuscript by Steinbeck – Wizzo’s hero – written in 1957. Don Keehan, Marshall of Manchon was teinbeck’s retelling of the story of Don Quixote de La Mancha but this time Quixote was a retired gentleman farmer whose ‘Rocinante’ was a rugged old Willys Jeep.
From the unpublished manuscript by John Steinbeck:
“He wandered into the open carriage shed where vehicles like strange artillery were lined up hub to hub – a surrey, and a hayrake, disk plows, a high-seated cultivator, a 1951 Plymouth four-door sedan, and a War surplus Willys jeep, as scarred and brown and dangerous as an aged lion. Donald kicked the front tire of the jeep and found it good. He turned the ignition key and saw with surprise the needle made a small jump, a gallant signal from a dying battery.”
Willys sleeps in the sun on the upper walkway of Engelbrecht House.
NOTE: It is my personal belief that Wizzo is fond of Steinbeck for a variety of reasons, one of which is that Steinbeck, like Wizzo, maintained a lifelong fascination with Don Quixote. In 1960, Steinbeck wandered America with his dog, Charley, in a GMC pickup with a camper shell on back. Travels With Charley was the result of that trip. Throughout the book Steinbeck refers to his truck as Rocinante.