Saturday, September 08, 2007

the beat goes on

The Boston Globe recently ran a series about retracing the route of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" 50 years later. Kerouac's widow says his message was misunderstood. I haven't picked up my copy of "On the Road" in a while. Time to revisit the journey...

Slate ran a piece that includes some interesting quotes from folks who were close to Kerouac. And here's a Sun-Times piece to add a bit more.

When I lived in New Hampshire, I visited Lowell many times. It was interesting to experience the transition of the Lowell millyard and nearby millworker housing from gritty, neglected bits of history to national historical site and Kerouac memorial. The blue collar life of a French-Canadian millworker family that Kerouac lived is a common thread in New England culture. I knew a number of people there whose parents or grandparents worked in the textile mills that were the lifeblood of the region until the Depression of the 1930s.

Every March, Lowell celebrates Kerouac's birthday. And they have another big celebration planned for October. Kerouac's scroll manuscript is on display at the Boott Cotton Mill Museum through the end of the October festivities.

If you happen to take a trip out that way, consider a stop in Lowell - for Kerouac, for all the history, and a taste of modern Lowell culture.

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