Marsha Garland

We are looking forward to hosting the Jack Kerouac Big Sur Marathon Reading in San Francisco's North Beach District. It is the kind of event that belongs here. North Beach is often referred to as the heart and soul of the city of San Francisco. Literature that comes from the soul, as does Kerouac's, belongs to the people in the heart of North Beach, in our beautiful Washington Square.

- Marsha Garland, Executive Director,
North Beach Chamber of Commerce



Cathy (Cassady) Sylvia
I'm not sure if my impressions of Jack Kerouac are real, or publicity-generated after all these years. I do remember his warmth. He was like a second dad to us, and I always felt comfortable around him. He had a soothing voice which made me feel safe.

The only specific memory I can recall about Jack has to do with his athletic prowess. We had a small rectangular pool in the backyard of our Monte Sereno home. It was built into the ground, but had a brick wall around the perimeter which must have been about a foot and a half high. I'm not sure of the actual dimensions of the pool, but figure it must have been about two feet deep in the shallow end, and perhaps four feet deep in the "deep" end.

Well, it seems to me that I watched Jack do a full jack-knife dive off of the wall and into the shallow end of this little pool......without breaking his neck!!?? Though I must have been around eight years old, I can remember how impressed I was by this tremendous feat. We were used to seeing Dad performing all sorts of physically challenging tricks (one of his favorites was holding his foot with the opposite hand and jumping through the "hole" this created), but that is the only time I remember seeing Jack do something so physical. I wonder now if he and Dad might have had a competition going in this area as well as the obvious one!

I do remember the trip to Big Sur in that grape-colored Jeep. Us "chillens" had such fun cozied up in the back of that car, playing and sleeping on the way down the coast. It was like one long picnic for us. My memories of the cabin are more vague. I remember feeling welcomed by the trickling creek. Since I spent as much time as possible dreaming alongside creeks at home (and still do), the creek felt friendly and comforting. I remember feeling refreshed by the coolness of the fog, and stirred by the neck-craning sight of the bridge spanning our little hideaway.
It is wonderful to now be able to relive that first trip to the Big Sur area in Jack's book.

Cathy Sylvia,
daughter of Neal and Carolyn Cassady