Randy and Jami at Lowell
The weekend of July 13-15, 2007, Randy and Jami took off from San Jose, Ca. and flew to Boston, Ma. They were invited to participate in the Lowell, Ma. celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of On The Road, written by Jack Kerouac, who was born and lived for many years in Lowell. They were going to meet up with Al Hinkle (Ed Dunkel in On The Road) and his daughter, Dawn Davis.They landed in Boston, had a wonderful afternoon sightseeing and then proceeded to Lowell. There they met their friends, Al and Dawn and their host, Steve Edington.Steve has written a couple of books on Jack Kerouac.
The first one, Kerouac’s Nashua Connection was published in 1999 and tells of Jack’s family connections in nearby Nashua, New Hampshire (Steve and his wife Michele and their son, Gordon, live in Nashua). The second book, The Beat Face of God was published in 2005. Steve is a minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua. He is also a member of the "Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!" committee, which sponsored Al, Jami, Randy and Dawn as guests.Saturday, July 14th, Steve and his friend, Dan, came to the hotel and surprised the group by arriving in a beautiful, restored 1951 Hudson (much like the car Neal and Jack and Al drove across the country, although theirs was actually a 1949 model). They drove to Lowell High School where a few restored Hudson’s were gathered in the parking lot. A group of students from the University of MA at Lowell were there making a documentary. Glen Doherty from Riverhawk Productions and his wonderful crew interviewed Al as he was sitting in one of the old Hudson’s and then they interviewed Jami. Glenn, Cassie, Bridget, the camera operator and Danielle, the interviewer, were great and seemed to be excited about the opportunity to interview "Ed Dunkle" and "Joanie Moriarty".
After the interviews and book signing, everyone went to the Boott Cotton Mills Museum & Gallery, an old mill that had been beautifully restored and is now a museum and part of the Lowell National Park. That was where the Scroll was being shown on it’s cross country tour. Jami and Randy had seen the Scroll in San Francisco with Carolyn Cassady, Jami’s brother, John, and sister, Cathy a few years ago. There were several things on display in Lowell that were different then the San Francisco exhibit. There were photos of Jack at his family’s place as a young boy in Nashua and, most exciting, some original paintings by Jack!There were some amazing people on hand that were docents, or "Scroll Sitters" (thanks, Nancy) that helped the visitors understand the scroll and the exhibit.Later the group headed to the auditorium where Steve interviewed first Al (what a fabulous storyteller!). Then Steve invited Jami on the stage to reminisce with Al. The audience got to ask questions. Al told some great stories about things that happened to him and Jack and Neal that were not written about in On The Road. One of the most amazing was when the car broke down in the dead of winter and a Greyhound Bus came and pushed them to the next town so they wouldn’t freeze to death! Al said he thought that time "they were gonners, for sure!
"That evening everyone was invited to Steve and Michele’s house in Nashua for a BBQ. The "Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!" gang was there and a great time was had by all. What a beautiful, serene place to live (and visit). Good food, great new friends and all celebrating Jack.The next day, Steve and Michele picked up Al, Dawn, Randy and Jami and took them on a tour of "Kerouac’s Lowell". They saw the house where Jack was born, #9 Lupine Road; the famous Grotto and Stations of the Cross where Jack and his mother went to pray and mourn the death of Jack’s brother Gerard; the funeral home right across the street from the Grotto, that was mentioned in "Dr.Sax"; the church (now boarded up) that Jack often referred to in his books and letters. In 1979 Jami and Carolyn made a special side trip to the church in Paris, Eglise St. Louis en L’Ile, copied for the church in Lowell, and they lit candles for Jack...We would rather not mention Jack’s funeral or grave, since his last requests for these were ignored. Also, he was divorcing his wife, Stella, before he died, so having her buried with him is controversal. When we went to his grave at Edson Cemetery, there was a full bottle of red wine on the grave attached to a beautiful poem from a guy and a gal thanking Jack for making their lives spiritual and meaningful.The experience was wonderful. It was a reminder of the power of Jack’s words and influence, even today.
A trip to Lowell is certainly a trip every fan of Jack’s should take.
Please visit Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!
"Stella, hold fast to your beliefs, and the symphony of your life let it ring ---- I envy you your opportunity to take long walks in Lowell at night ---- the Grotto on Pawtucket Blvd., the charging restless ghost houses of foam beneath the Moody Street bridge, the sad, great trees of Stevens St. & Pawtucketville --- the tenements of Centralville, Aiken St. & Market St. --- the dark railroad to Billericas, the stars above the railroad earth --- the little bridge over the Concord in So. Lowell --- ghosts of Thoreau paddling the Rosemont Basin by night ….. nothing can prevent me from returning to Lowell, and revisiting the house where I was born, Lupine Road, Centralville; and the house where my brother died; in the night I can return to Lowell and walk all I please those hallowed streets of life ---
"Selected Letters, 1940-1956
"I dream I’m in Mexico City with Cody but there’s a strange Kearney Square just like and in fact Lowell …. And the darkness beyond the lights of the Square has that dense soft ink-like quality of the Great Mexico City Night --- it’s Kearney Sq., there’s the corner of Merrimack and Bridge, the Post Office and the Auditorium to the left, but the neons are soft deep colors like blood red, night blue, ink pink, jade green, --- especially that night blue, that dye blue pervades the mellifluous air in the Lowell Redbricks beyond the square, and I’m so amazed that Lowell and Mexico City are the same ----
"I learned that Dean had lived happily with Camille in San Francisco ever since that fall of 1947; he got a job on the railroad and made a lot of money. He became the father of a cute girl, Amy Moriarty. Then suddenly he blew his top while walking down the street one day. He saw a ’49 Hudson for sale and rushed to the bank for his entire roll. He bought the car on the spot.""Ed Dunkle was a tall, calm, unthinking fellow who was completely ready to do anything Dean asked him; and at this time Dean was too busy for scruples."
On The Road
By Jack Kerouac
Got a girl?“In high school – Pauline Cole is my girl, I met her under the clock every afternoon after third bell – Iddy boys rapid homeward walk now far away news in this new head of mine.”
"Maggie Cassidy" Chapter 5
The Grotto"It hugely mooked ahead of us, to the right…that baleful night. It belonged to the orphanage on the corner of Pawtucket St. and School St. At the head of the white bridge – a big grotto is their backyard, mad, vast, religious, the Twelve Stations of the Cross, little individual twelve alters set in, you go in front, everything but incense in the air - the road of the river mysteries of the nature, fireflies in the night flickering to the waxy statues – culminating, was the gigantic pyramid of steps upon which the cross itself poked phallically up with its poor burden the Son of Man all skewered across it in his Agony and Fright –"
The Night The Man With The Watermelon Died
Here are a few events and happenings that are coming up that we think you should be aware of.This being the 40th anniversary of The Summer of Love, there will be many celebrations: 1. Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7:00pm BBC Scotland Presents: 50 Year Celebration of On the Road featuring John Allen with a live performance by UK favourite Russell Brand 2. Sunday, September 2nd, is the Summer of Love Festival in San Francisco (where it all began) in Golden Gate Park. Randy and Jami Cassady will be there, hope to see you there, too! If you recognize us, please say hello! 3. A friend of Jack’s and now a great friend of John Allen’s and Carolyn’s, David Amram, has finished his latest orchestral work, Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie. The debut will be in San Jose, Saturday, September 29th with Paul Polivnick conducting the Symphony Silicon Valley. John, Randy and Jami are looking forward to this special event. David was instrumental in the great Beat cinematic classic, Pull My Daisy.