Saturday, March 12, 2011

happy birthday jack kerouac - 89 years old in heaven today :D

jack kerouac was born on march 12, 1922, and died from the ravages of alcoholism in october, 1969, at the tragically young age of 47. today he celebrates his 89th birthday in heaven. as a founder of the beat generation, his dramatic impact on american culture can't be understated. decades after his glory days, beat culture is still alive and well. kerouac's work is as relevant today as it was in when it burst into the staid literary world of the 1950s!

i was, and still am, a huge fan of jack kerouac. he came to a sad and lonely end as the 1950s gave way to the 60s generation. kerouac couldn't (or wouldn't) adapt to the changing world - finding solace in greater and greater quantities of alcohol. the kerouac of 1969 was a far cry from the kerouac of 1959 - even the just published kerouac of 1949! but regardless of his last years, kerouac left behind a huge trove of material from his prolific years.

so today take some time to remember jack kerouac today.

happy birthday, in heaven, jack!


Anonymous said...

Please check out my Kerouac video posted on the New York Daily News:

mr23257 said...

I knew Jack Kerouac.

Jack Kerouac and his mother lived at 20 Bristol Avenue in Hyannis, just off Bearses Way.

I was a 13 year old boy in 1966 and delivered newspapers for the Cape Cod Times. Mr. Kerouac had a subscription to the paper and I used to deliver it each day after school, usually around 4pm as it was an afternoon paper on weekday. On weekends, I usually delivered the paper between 6:30-7:30 am.

On most weekdays, Mrs. Kerouac would be at the door to take the paper from me, and I could see a man sitting in a large comfortable chair in the living room, a cigarette always in his hand, and usually a beer sitting on a fold-up metal table next to him.

On weekends, Jack would sometimes be at the door to grab the paper from me. He was a thin man, a cigarette always in his mouth or hand.

On Fridays, one or the other would invite me into the house and I'd wait while Jack or his mother paid me the weekly paper fee.

Some weekdays, I'd be walking down the street delivering papers and a cab would pull up. The driver would jump out, a couple of brown bags in his hand. Even as a kid, I knew the bigger bag contained at least two six packs; the other bag, one or two cartons of smokes. I could see the tops of the cartons sticking out of the bag.

I'd sometimes run into Jack walking home, the same kind of bags in his hand. So I knew he had walked up town to a local package store, maybe for some exercise, and was walking home with his beer and smokes.

One day, as my father was driving me home from school, we saw Jack walking from downtown Hyannis. I told my father "that guy lives at 20 Bristol Ave." It was a nippy October day, so my father pulled up next to him and told me "ask him if he wants a ride." I did, and Jack looked at my father and me and said "sure." By car, it was only two minutes from downtown Hyannis to his house, so we had time for just pleasantries, "jeez, it's cold today. I appreciate it."

My father asked him how he liked Hyannis and he said "it's a quiet little town. But my mother likes it a lot more. She likes to hear the birds in the morning."

As we dropped him off, he leaned into the car and said to my father "XXXX does a great job; he's very responsible." I beamed.

As we drove off; we lived just down Bristol Ave ourselves, my father asked me "do you know who 'Jack' is?" I was confused by the question. "Yeah, he's the guy who we just dropped off..."

"No," my father said. "Do you know who he is and what he does?"

"He's always home," I blurted. "I don't think he has a job."

"He's a writer," my father said. "A famous writer. He wrote a book called 'On the Road.'"

I checked it out of the town library the next day. Then I asked my father to buy me the book because I wanted Jack to autograph it.

He did, two days later.

I still have it to this day.

Soon thereafter, his mother got sick; she didn't come to the door anymore. But Jack did.

And then, shortly thereafter, my circulation director handed me a list of my subscribers with a red line crossed through the name "Kerouac," and the notation: "subscription stopped; moved."

I never saw Jack or his mother again.