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
Marsha Garland, Executive Director,
North Beach Chamber of Commerce
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.
daughter of Neal and Carolyn Cassady