From the Ashes of Fruit Trees Grew Today's Silicon Valley
Thousands of cookie-cutter homes for the high-tech workers sprouted from the funeral pyres of a vanishing way of life as acres of lush fruit trees were bulldozed and burned to create today’s Silicon Valley. One of the children who grew up in this new suburbia in San Jose, California, was Tom Liggett, a neglected, unwanted child of dysfunctional (that’s being kind) parents, who befriended the witch who lived in the Spanish cottage on the hill.
Their unlikely friendship and Tom’s adventures are told in this touching and unforgettable memoir. It’s a tale of lost dreams, boyhood innocence, and two remarkable characters in midcentury California history.
A stunning story-within-a-story recounts the life and times of Faye Wolfe, the last first-person account of a survivor of the Galveston hurricane in 1900, the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, and her connection to the Spanish-style architecture of the region and the sordid history of Silicon Valley—long before it was ever Silicon Valley—as told to an eleven-year-old boy in this, his coming-of-age memoir.
Preview Mozart in the Garden
Read excerpts from two chapters of Mozart in the Garden online for free.
Chapter 8 tells the last first-person account of the Galveston hurricane of 1900, in this story-within-a-story memoir.
About the Author
Tom Liggett was conceived under an apricot tree and born in a brothel. His biological father, MT Liggett, liked innocent, dark-haired girls and pretty hookers. MT sired at least twenty-seven illegitimate children by as many women. He supported none of those mothers and just two of their children. MT only sent support to Tom’s mother when the US military forced him to do so (or when they could catch him). This put Tom and his mother in dire straits. When he was a child, Tom was hungry and alone much of the time.
Tom was taken into the orchard in a banana box when he was just two weeks old. His mother needed the work and refused to “waste” money on babysitters. When he was just a little older, Tom toddled around the orchards and fruit processing sheds. When Tom was three, he could identify the various stone fruit types.
Age eleven was a pivotal time in young Tom’s life. He was an old hand at reading and interpreting college-level horticultural texts. That was when he began to accomplish rudimentary plant research projects in his suburban ghetto backyard. Tom also began to work. He needed money for food, toys, books, and music. Tom knew that hard work was the only avenue that led to eating regularly.
Other Books by Tom Liggett
How to Prune, Train, and Tie Roses
With roses, learning occurs from the ground up.
The art of growing beautiful roses is something anyone can master. Whether you are looking to start an entire garden from scratch or simply keep this vigorously growing plant properly pruned, expert advice can help you achieve a beautiful result.
Author Tom Liggett was classically trained in the full spectrum of rose cultivation. Since most of the once-great rose nurseries have disappeared, hundreds of years’ worth of knowledge now rests only with Tom.
The key to pruning these plants in a healthy way is to understand exactly how they grow. Beginning with cell biology, Liggett covers all the information a gardener needs to know, including types of climbers and ways to use them, tying methods and materials, and selecting plants for various sizes of structures.
This comprehensive manual offers gentle guidance free from technical jargon and complicated instructions. Often the best way to begin learning is by watching others, but a small amount of background knowledge goes a long way. Take the time to get out there and try these techniques in your own garden, and you will soon witness the beautiful results.
The Pregnant Majorette: Life in a Twisted Family
In this dark memoir of Tom Liggett’s early life, he examines how Western masculinity has perpetuated violence, instability, and the cycle of abuse in numerous families. Not for the faint of heart, and in its raw, unedited form, Liggett details the long shadows the two cowboys (his birth father and stepfather) cast over his childhood and the abuse and neglect that followed. At the same time, Liggett recalls his growing love of horticulture and the ways he has stopped the cycle of violence from continuing to control his life.