Friday, March 12, 2021

Happy 99th Birthday to Jack Kerouac

Cat lover and birthday boy, Jack Kerouac

Our literary hero, Jack Kerouac, would have turned 99 years old today. He was born March 12, 1922 in the family home at 9 Lupine Road, Lowell, Massachusetts.

Jack Kerouac's birthplace: 9 Lupine Road in Lowell, MA
(c) 2011 Rick Dale

Given that this blog is singularly Kerouac-focused, it's difficult to say much about Jack that we haven't said over the past 13 years of this blog's existence. Let's therefore let Jack speak for himself about the day he was born:

March 12, 1922, at five o'clock in the afternoon, in Lowell, Mass. was the day of the first thaw. I was born on the second floor of a wooden house on Lupine Road, which to this day sits on top of a hill overlooking Lakeview Avenue and the broad Merrimack River. From this house my mother, God bless her dear heart, lay listening to the distant roar of the Pawtucket Falls a mile away; she has told me all this. Besides of which it was a strange afternoon, red as fire; "noisy with a lyrical thaw," as I said in my fictions of the past, and that is to say the snow was melting so fast you could hear it in a million small streams under the vast snowy banksides crumbling just a little in their middles from the weight of the moisture. Pines dripped like the seasonal maple, made gum and gummy firsmells in the air. Great shoulders of snow dropped precipitous from their bleak wood. These descriptions are necessary at this point, for the following reason. (December 28, 1950 letter to Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac: Selected Letters 1940-1956, 1995, Penguin Books, pp. 248-249)

Jack goes on about his birth -- I encourage you to look up this letter and read it in its entirety.

Here in Maine we're having a couple days of thaw as Jack described. His description is spot on. It was a good day to be born.

Happy Birthday in heaven, Jack. Say "hi" to Lawrence for us.

1 comment:

robin andrea said...

Loved reading Jack's own words about the day of his birth. Yes, Happy Birthday, Jack, and say hi to Lawrence for us.