Jack Kerouac’s birthday today. Strange to think he would be 96! From our good friend, Kerouac literary executor, Jim Sampas:
Excerpt from Letter Jack Kerouac to Neal Cassady, Dec. 28, 1950
“All my life I was fascinated by the first thaws of New England March; not until I was told I was actually born in the midst of one did I vaguely remember the day of my birth, or is this too far-fetched? Not in the least (my darkface protests across the continent to thee.) I remember it, I remember the day of my birth. I remember the red air and the sadness – “the strange red afternoon light” Wolfe also was hung on – with peculiar eternity-dream of last afternoon. Six years, later, on a similar red afternoon, but in dead of frozen winter, I discovered my soul; that is to say, I looked about for the first time and realized I was in a world and not just myself. Time enough to get to that. The coincidences that have occurred in connection with late-red-afternoons – no need to say, everybody in America has a feeling for such afternoons – but so often to me, make me think I must have seen that original afternoon with eyes a few hours old. Still, this may be bullshit; and there’s no way to find out till the end….
The date was March 12. At this time my father was printing and publishing the Spotlight, a theatrical newspaper, about eight pages each weekly issue, covering local show business in Lowell, which at the time was enjoying a peak as it was all over the country…. I love to digress. Actually there is nothing to remember. My family moved from Lupine Road to another part of Centralville, a house on Maiden Lane I think it was called. Several unimportant memories that may have belonged to either the domiciles occur to me; of what point? I’m in my mother’s arms; she’s wearing an old brown bathrobe; she’s rocking me and singing; I gaze longingly at the bleak gray rooftops of the world without. How I loved my mother! How the baby loves his mother! How good it is to be a mammal! And to grow and be a man, however unfortunate and covered with sin and self disgrace, and foolish. For God intended it ….”