On The Road Part Two

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on June 25, 2019














One moment in the integration of On The Road into PG’s life in McMansionville GA was the washing machine incident. PG was doing the clothes. When the machine gets to the spin dry cycle, the clothes settle unevenly in the spin basket. The machine starts to rock on its feet, and make machine noise music of Lou Reed proportions. PG will rest his butt against the side of the machine, and read OTR. This helps the machine settle down. Dick hungry PG enjoys the ride.

Meanwhile, OTR is sitting there, patiently waiting on the slack blogger to write yet another chapter. Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) is back in Frisco. As soon as Dean (Neal Cassady) gets there, he takes off in search of pussy. … “‘Oh I love, love, love women! I think women are wonderful! I love women!’ He spat out the window; he groaned; he clutched his head. Great beads of sweat fell from his forehead from pure excitement and exhaustion.”… Marylou, the Dean-babe they went cross country with, has run off with some rich people she knows. Sal is broke, starving, and dreaming of food. “There were places where hamburgs sizzled on grills and coffee was just a nickel.” Sal was in the pre-beatnik San Francisco of 1948, 71 years before PG rode the washing machine in summertime Brookhaven. The culture may be internet processed, but the fridge has food, and the clothes are going to be clean in a little while.

Part Two of OTR starts with Sal back in New Jersey. He takes his aunt down to Virginia for a family holiday. Who should show up but Dean Moriarty, first wife Marylou, and Ed Dunkel … “ready to do anything Dean asked him, and at this time Dean was too busy for scruples.” Sal’s aunt has furniture to take back to New Jersey, which Dean winds up taking in his ’49 Hudson. There is an extended New Years Eve party in New York. Before long, Dean needs to get back to Frisco, and he talks Sal into going along. … “… but now the bug as one me again, and the bug’s name was Dean Moriarty and I was off on another spurt around the road.” … They go through Washington as Harry Truman is being sworn in for a full term as POTUS. Around that time, they got a costly speeding ticket in Virginia. They paid that off, leaving them very little money to get to California. (Ed Dunkel, aka Al Hinkle, was the “sole survivor” of the OTR characters. He died December 26, 2018.)

The first stop is New Orleans. Old Bull Lee (William S. Burroughs) is there, along with Galatea, the wife of Ed Dunkel. The cadaverous OBL is leading the opiated life described in Junky. Galatea is one of the more curious side stories of OTR. Ed meets her out west. “These two mindless cads decided to bring the girl along to the east and have her foot the bill … By the time they got to Tucson she was broke. Dean and Ed gave her the slip in a hotel lobby and resumed the voyage alone …”

Galatea made it to New Orleans, and Old Bull Lee. Galatea was reunited with Ed, and began their life together. 46 years later, Galatea … whose real name was Helen … was still with Al Hinkle. Here is the honeymoon story. Better Homes and Gardens chose not to publish this tale.

… the Burroughses weren’t all too happy to have had Helen ‘dumped’ on them. As a matter of fact, when Helen first got there, Bill wasn’t happy and began writing letters to Allen (Ginsberg) in New York telling him to tell me to come and get her out of his house, it’s not a hotel! When we finally got to their house, which was actually in Algiers, LA (across the Mississippi River from New Orleans), Bill and Joan welcomed us. Helen had made herself indispensible in the three weeks she had been there, caring for both the Burroughs children (Joan’s three year old daughter Julie and William Jr., who was an infant at that time); she bathed them, fed them, and generally kept them out of their parents’ way. Bill and Joan actually asked Helen and I if we would stay with them – he had a room all ready to fix up for us! But Helen wanted out – she couldn’t believe how they lived, how little care they took of their children; never mind the house, which was dirty, with lizards running around everywhere.

Helen was appalled by Joan’s use of the Benzedrine inhalers – she would open them up and swallow the cotton. Joan would send Helen to buy an inhaler almost every day. Once Helen mentioned to Joan that the pharmacist told her he would happily sell her ten inhalers at a time because he knew she was not the type to abuse them, to which Joan replied, “So, where are they?” And Helen never figured out that Bill was using heroin – she just thought he was stoned on marijuana all the time (which he was, on top of the heroin). It was all just a little too crazy for Helen, and she was glad when we turned down their offer of a room and found ourselves a room in New Orleans, where we stayed for about six weeks. It was a low-budget adventure, but we did get our honeymoon and we enjoyed it immensely.”

Sal and OBL went to the racetrack. Sal had a vision about his father, and told OBL to bet on a horse because of it. OBL ignored Sal. The horse won, and paid fifty to one. Soon after that, OBL kicked the bunch out. They headed to Frisco without any money. They stole food and gasoline. They picked up hitchhikers, who promised money from a rich aunt down the road, who sometimes existed. Dean cut off the gas while going downhill and coasted. Sal did not like to drive … “I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” … took up space and grooved on the goneness of it all. “And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy I had always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move one, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiances shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotus-lands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven.”

After much hunger and grooviness, Dean, Sal, and Marylou made it to Frisco. Dean promptly dumped Marylou to take up with kids-mama Camille. “You see what a bastard he is?… Dean will leave you out in the cold anytime it’s in his interest.” Sal wanders the city dreaming of food, until he gets his GI bill money, and decides to go back to New Jersey. “What I accomplished by going to Frisco I don’t know. Camille wanted me to leave; Dean didn’t care one way or the other. I bought a loaf of bread and meats and made myself ten sandwiches to cross the country with again; they were all going to go rotten on me by the time I got to Dakota. … We were all thinking we’d never see one another again and we didn’t care.”

The first draft of this piece is done. PG gets more coffee, and goes to work on another project. He is producing a sticker picture based on Lizard (No. 56) by M.C. Escher. Today is the day to start cutting out lizards. These pieces are larger, and more complicated, than what PG usually cuts out. The Grateful Dead is goofing on “China Cat Sunflower” in the background. Jerry would have made a lousy headlight on a northbound train.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Balboa Beach Bathing Beauty Parade, 1925 “Notes: J278572 U.S. Copyright Office, Copyright deposit; M. F. Weaver; September 14, 1925, Copyright claimant’s address: L[os] A[ngeles], No. 4100-2. May be a fashion parade. Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. No renewal found in Copyright Office.” Picture #06662 is from “Second International Pageant of Pulchritude and Eighth Annual Bathing Girl Revue, May 21, 22, 23, 1927, Galveston TX.” The chamblee54 On The Road series is complete. part one part two part three part four part five part six part seven

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  1. On The Road Part Three | Chamblee54 said, on July 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm

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