|L-to-R top row: Neal Cassady, Albert Saijo, Joan Vollmer Adams; L-to-R bottom row: Gabrielle Kerouac, Mary Frank, Allen Temko
February 4 is a date on which no less than 7 people that Jack Kerouac immortalized in his works were born or died. I am not aware of another similarly synchronous and significant date (purposeful alliteration there).
I won't rank these in any particular order of importance, and I'm not going into much detail about any of them for sake of time. When relevant, I included links to other posts I've written about the person or to biographical information of some sort.
Today is the date in 1968 that Kerouac muse and friend Neal Cassady died. Kerouac immortalized Cassady in On The Road as the central character, Dean Moriarty, but also dedicated an entire book to the Holy Goof, Visions of Cody, in which he appeared as Cody Pomeray. Cassady also appeared as: Cody Pomeray in Book of Dreams, Big Sur, Desolation Angels, and Book of Sketches; Leroy in The Subterraneans; and Neal Cassady in Lonesome Traveler, Desolation Angels, and Satori in Paris.
Kerouac friend and writer Albert Saijo was born this date in 1926. Albert appeared as George Baso in Big Sur and co-authored Trip Trap: Haiku on the Road with Kerouac and Lew Welch based on a road trip across America in Welch's jeep.
Core early Beat Generation figure, Joan Vollmer Adams, was born this date in 1923. She appeared as Jane Lee in On The Road; Jane in The Subterraneans; June Evans in Book of Dreams, Desolation Angels, and Vanity of Duluoz; June Hubbard in Visions of Cody; Joan in The Haunted Life and Other Writings; Mary Dennison in The Town and the City; and "my old lady" in And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks.
Jack Kerouac's mother, Gabrielle, was born this date in 1895. She appeared as Angie in Vanity of Duluoz and Desolation Angels; Ma in Book of Dreams; Angy in Maggie Cassidy; Angy Duluoz in Doctor Sax; Ange Duluoz in Visions of Gerard; Marguerite Martin in The Town and the City; and, Sal's Aunt in On The Road.
Visual artist and wife of photographer Robert Frank, Mary, was born this date in 1933. She appeared as Mary Frank in Lonesome Traveler. She is the only one of the six characters featured today who is still alive as of this posting (as far as I know), making her 91. Her picture above was grabbed from this clip of Kerouac et al. in NYC in 1959 (see her talking to Jack around the 2:10 mark).
Architectural critic, writer, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Kerouac friend Allen Temko was born this date in 1924. He appeared as: Roland Major in On The Road; Irving Minko in Book of Dreams; Irwin Minko in Desolation Angels; Allen Minko in Visions of Cody; and, Alan Minko in Book of Dreams (expanded edition).
Livermore Falls, Maine native and U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Bogan died on this date in 1970. She shows up in two of Kerouac's works: as Leontine McGee in The Dharma Bums and as Bernice Whalen in Desolation Angels. Click HERE for a post wherein I curated her book of poetry, The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968.
RIP, Mr. Cassady and Ms. Bogan, and Happy Birthday to Mr. Saijo, Ms. Adams, Ms. Kerouac, Ms. Frank, and Mr. Temko.