What was it that attracted Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady to each other?
From a child, Neal was fascinated by every sport and sportsman. He did all he could do develop his own skills as he ran to and from school, while he fed his mind on every sport and sportsman of the day. He dreamed of joining the football team at Notre Dame. Whatever he did, he had to be the best. He met Kerouac, a football hero, also interested in most sports. Jack was always astounded at Neal's photographic memory that could come up with every record of every sportsman past and present from baseball to auto racing.
2) Intellect and education:
Neal, having been raised in the slums of Denver amongst the world's lost men, he determined to make more of himself, to become somebody, to be worthy and respected. His genius mind absorbed every book he could find, whether literature, philosophy or science. Jack had had a formal education which Neal envied, but intellectually he was more than a match for Jack, and they enjoyed long discussions on every subject, Jack amazed at Neal's knowledge.
Both men enjoyed music of all kinds--classical, country, jazz, bop, ethnic, and their tastes grew together as they changed.
Neal's energy was always noted by all. He was muscular but wiry, light on his feet and swift. Jack, on the other hand was clumsy, muscle-bound and terribly self-conscious. He admired Neal's ability to deal with anyone on their level, his skill in seducing women and charming anyone he met, his zest for life and hunger for experience. Jack hoped to learn some of these skills from Neal while he shared that zest for life and hunger. A deep and everlasting love developed between them both, but there was never a question of homosexuality.
Alas, they lost personal touch in their last years when both were destroyed by drugs and alcohol. Both of their minds had been ingrained with the Catholic dogma of being guilty miserable sinners and unworthy, and this they never overcame, no matter how much they mentally believed otherwise and adopted other faiths.
All the best, Carolyn
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