George and Cathy Sylvia in Sedona, Arizona

Here's hoping everyone had joyous Holidays and the New Year is getting off to a marvelous start. Carolyn has been very busy this winter with interviews by the BBC, journalists, students. She will read at the Chelsea Arts Club on Monday the 29th. There she will introduce Jay and Fran Landesman, the couple responsible for kick-starting the whole Beal movement in 1948 with his magazine Neurotica. She'll do a book signing at Hatchard'd bookshop (the oldest in London) on February 9. In February and March several film makers, including Walter Salles and one from Canada will visit her along with the PBS team from Denver.In April she goes to Stockholm for the launch of her book translated into Swedish. The requests for photos of Neal and Jack continues as well. Tiring but rewarding. February 8th is Neal Cassady’s birthday and The Beat Museum in San Francisco is holding it’s 3rd annual Neal Cassady Birthday bash. Jami and John will be guests as well as Al Hinkle, "Ed Dunkle" in "On The Road". February 8th is also the 33rd wedding anniversary of Randy and Jami.. A good time is sure to be had by all!

News and Musings from Carolyn
Friends of Neal: 

I have been reading the book of the unedited scroll of ON THE ROAD. I must say that in this book, Neal does come across as a demented nut case totally unresponsible and hedonistic. I am afraid this is the view many people hold of Neal, and they rarely allow for the amount of fiction and omissions Kerouac wrote. Much of what he writes about Neal is true, but there was a whole other side to his character nowhere revealed except in his book THE FIRST THIRD and in mine OFF THE ROAD (just expanded) and his many letters, which helps explain a lot more of the fascination so many people had for this unique man. Alas, it is impossible to express in words the exceptional aura he had that affected so many. As he, himself,wrote, "Some events are in the area of the soul where words cannot penetrate."

I have also seen the film NEAL CASSADY made by Noah Buschel. Alas, his research only went as far as the hated films Kesey and the Pranksters made of Neal after his soul was dead, and he was desperately trying to destroy his body and mind. He is here more like his character in ON THE ROAD scroll,enhanced,. The film itself is based on false myths, disoriented, with no continuity, development, plot or purpose, as far as we can see. We had three children, not two, and the two chosen nor Carolyn are anything like ourselves. (Son John and I have been platinum blondes since birth--as all the photos show) No location suggests California. I hope no one will see it, but if you do, please don't take it as a portrait of Neal. as the title suggests--or any of us. Or Kerouac, except by then he was drunk all the time. None of what they say could we have said. I wish I could understand why people do this. Noah claimed he loved Neal so much, this is what he had to do. What a travesty, why?

I have been deluged this summer by all kinds of media, all wanting a slice of the anniversary action. Some of it is rewarding if strenuous. I meet many nice people, but there is always the big problem of so many newspapers printing my photographs without permission or paying me the fees. To track down the responsible person takes far too much of my time, and the results minimal. They all know the rules, so this exercise is most unpleasant--well, shocking, actually. Otherwise, I hope it opens new avenues of interest in Kerouac and Cassady. Somebody's getting rich--not us. ha ha. There are a few more myths that have evolved from Kerouac's "fiction". For instance, Neal would never answer a door "stark naked". He could be naked, but his jeans were always nearby, and he held them in front of him. He was very modest personally, not an exhibitionistRemember the scene Kerouac describes when a bunch of poets went swimming at Esalen in Big Sur? Here Jack was so amused that he and Neal were the only two men who wouldn't remove their shorts..the big Beat rebels.Then Kerouac wrote that when they were in Mexico together and he was sick, Neal abandoned him, and he said "what a rat he was." Neal did not want to leave him, but he had been called back to the railroad, and if he didn't go immediately, he would lose that lifetime job. He moaned for weeks after for having had to leave Jack ill. I am surprised Kerouac didn't realize the cause of Neal's leaving. More as I recall or ask anything you are curious about.Carolyn 

George and Cathy are having a wonderful time in St. George, Utah. 
(For those of you who are not sure, St. George is in the farthest
Southwest corner of Utah, 90 minutes from Las Vegas, at elevation
of about 2800 ft.) This is definitely the place to be in the winter. It’s
clear and sunny nearly every day. Though we are surprised how cold
the high desert gets in winter. (We knew about how hot it gets in the
summer!) We have nights where it gets down in the teens and 20’s,
and days where the high is only in the 30’s. But mostly it ranges
between lows in the 30’s and highs in the 40’s to 50’s.Between the
activities scheduled at SunRiver (the active adult community in which
​we live), and those in beautiful St. George, our social calendar is
bursting at the seams. We’re constantly juggling events.

According to what we’ve read, the Town Fathers hope to make St. George an "art destination, like Carmel"! We believe it. It’s obvious from the many bronze sculptures around town, plus the beautiful architectural renovations, the new Town Square, all the creative water features, the plethora of art galleries, studios (and even an "Art Village"), all of the affordable theatre and dance productions, etc. that this is a special place for those who love all forms of art.We are still amazed and grateful that we discovered St. George. Cathy’s discovered the many rock art sites around the area, so is especially excited to be out hiking among them. There are trails that go on forever in and near St. George, plus Zion National Park is just 45 minutes away. We never get tired of the scenery… beautiful contrasting sapphire-blue sky above the red cliffs, with the addition of the white of the snow-covered 10,000 foot Pine Valley Mountain looming over us all. During the summer, the whole valley is covered in green from the many trees, including the 100-plus year old mulberry trees that were planted in the mid-1880 by the Mormon pioneers to feed their silk worms. Brigham Young had planned a "silk mission" down here, which unfortunately failed. But we are still enjoying the trees. So, at least when it’s hot, we have the contrast of the cooling deep green of the trees against the brilliant red cliffs. It’s a visual feast every day of the year! During 2007 we did a bit of traveling.

In February, we took a cruise to the Mexican coast via San Diego and Catalina Island courtesy of the realtor who sold our Rocklin, CA house. In May, we visited Mom in England for three weeks, stopping on the way back in Massachusetts for a week-long family reunion with George’s relatives. (Even his brother and wife, plus George’s girls with their families flew out from California and Oregon.) We made three separate trips to California to see friends and relatives: Three weeks in July, ten days around Thanksgiving, and another three weeks in December. That’s a lot of driving! Cathy is enjoying her time volunteering at a local elementary school helping kindergarten thru fifth graders with math and reading, and she is a sub at the county library as well.

​George is playing lots of softball. He has played for five years in the Senior World Games, which is an international Olympic-like event that is held for two weeks every October in St. George. (There were over 10,000 athletes competing in the ‘07 Games!) This past October, George played on three teams, so was playing every day, several games a day, for the whole two weeks. (With that, plus the tournaments before and after, he figured he played 35 games in four weeks!) We love visiting with all the folks who were on teams with whom he played in the past. He has played on teams in Washington State, Reno and California, and they come to St. George to play in the Senior Games, and to visit this wonderful area. 

2008 Jan & Feb Archive