Having met Neal Cassady in December 1946 in NYC, Jack Kerouac says so long to Neal on March 4, 1947, and Neal returns in a tear to Denver. By March 7, Neal has written a letter to Jack from Denver, the “Great Sex Letter,” astonishing and thrilling Jack with its energy & drive… It is also in March 1947, in Denver, that Neal meets Carolyn Robinson, who would be the enduring love of his life, and the linchpin in the relationship between Neal and Jack, and in a very real sense the anchor between Neal’s desire for constant movement and for deep connection and stability. It is Carolyn who becomes the motive for Neal’s move to San Francisco where she has gone. They take up residence on Russian Hill, where Jack joins them, and then move down to San Jose, his base from that point on, raising three children, though his time behind the wheel of Ken Kesey’s bus takes him away, ever further, to his death at age 42 on a train track in Mexico.
But back to December 1950… when Jack receives from Neal the 40,000 word “Joan Anderson letter,” the letter that Jack credits for giving him the approach he uses to rewrite On the Road, making it one of the great novels of the 20th century.
This March, on the 19th — Jack’s christening day, as it happens — we’ll welcome Neal’s daughter Jami to read from the Joan Anderson letter and from Off the Road, the autobiographical book by Carolyn Cassady, Jami’s mother, that tells so much about the guys that define the “Beat Generation” for all time.
The Patrick Wolff Quartet winds through the proceedings – Patrick Wolff, tenor sax; Adam Shulman, piano; Eric Markowitz, bass; and Evan Hughes, drums.