William Carlos Williams was born on September 17, 1883 in Rutherford, New Jersey. Like Chekhov, he studied medicine and became a country doctor before he discovered his potential as a writer. He earned his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and began practicing as a pediatrician in his hometown of Rutherford (near the present-day Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford) before publishing his first literary work, 'Poems,' in 1909.
Berkeley, on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, is an extremely cool town. It's not necessarily the University that makes it cool, or at least it's not the undergraduates, who don't look much different from undergraduates anywhere else. What it is is the mass of scraggly humanity that the town has built up over decades and decades of being an alternative-minded kind of place.
Telegraph Avenue is the main thoroughfare. It's got some of the best bookstores in the country, enough guitar-strummin' storefront coffeehouses to keep you high on caffeine and humming James Taylor songs all through the night, and loads of 'street people', the Berkeley term for homeless people, although most of the street people are young, healthy and obviously there by choice.
West of Telegraph is the residential area (Shattuck Avenue is the main street) that Jack Kerouac immortalized in his novel 'The Dharma Bums,' about the Buddhist fad that swept through Jack's crowd of poetry friends in the mid-1950's. The Beats were still obscure at this time, but they were about to become world famous, especially after Allen Ginsberg and four other local poets presented the seminal poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco.