Le Guin grew up in the house with her famous anthropologist parents, A.L. Kroeber who helped form the anthropology department at Cal Berkeley after receiving the very first PhD in Anthropology awarded from Columbia University, and his second wife, Ursula's mom, Theodora Kracaw Brown, one of his students.
Seeing this house for the first time, I was struck by the very different Berkeleys that Phil and Ursula inhabited at precisely the same moment in history. I guess I always imagined Le Guin's family was slightly offbeat, eccentric, and bohemian. I didn't imagine them as materially wealthy or as particularly prominent in the community. But then I seem to perpetually be encountering my own naivety.
While I think it's wrong to equate this four million dollar house with a kind of Daddy Warbucks-level of childhood affluence, I think it's really interesting to compare Le Guin and Dick's homes while they were both attending Berkeley high in the mid-40s.
Phil and his mother lived in a much more modest bungalow a little less than two miles down from Ursula. Both Le Guin and Dick's families worked on the UC Campus, Kroeber as a respected prof, and Phil's mom Dorothy as a clerk for the forestry service on campus.
Dick's house at 1711 Allston Way is down in the flatter part of Berkeley, down from the hills where Le Guin lived in sight of the bay. The 1.7 mile distance is both geographical and economic.
So it's probably more accurate to describe PKD as a middle-class writer who struggled to maintain his place in the lower echelon of the middle class.
Regardless, Le Guin's upbringing would've seemed pretty alien to PKD, was my point.