p a long, narrow road, through a white gate, past a water tank that students built
more than 50 years ago, the single-story home is settled on a hilltop with an
expansive view. The walkway that leads past bordering pyracantha bushes is
uneven, some might say lopsided.
It was here, on Sunday afternoons, that Wallace Stegner used to take a break
from his writing to come out and putter, chipping away at the resistant ground
and laying bricks, one by one.
Theyre pretty unprofessionally done, says Mary Page Stegner, laughing. I
dont know why Wally thought he could do it. And as he got older, he probably
Three years after her husbands death, Stegner continues to welcome visitors
who come to talk about his literary legacy. For 59 years she intercepted his phone calls while he wrote, and edited his short stories while he waited nearby
in his favorite Danish modern chair, and today she has assumed a new role with
pride and good humor.
Mid-morning sun highlights Stegners delicate face as she leans into a
comfortable semicircular sofa that has seen its share of upholsterers over the
years. At her back, floor-to-ceiling windows provide a vista of distant hillsides
dotted with madrone and dry grass. They are the hills where she and her husband
rode horses with their son, Page, the hills Robert Frost loved to climb whenever
he came West for a visit.
Robert used to walk up and down over there, Stegner says, pointing beyond
the wooden deck that encircles a massive live oak. He could never eat before his
talks to students. He just walked, and then had a raw egg, beaten up.