The modest brick house at 5169 10th Ave. in St. Petersburg sits unnoticed by everyone but the beatniks of America. A huge tree weeps shiningly in the front yard.
I walked up to the house and knocked on the old white screen door anticipating Kerouac to answer. He greeted me with open arms.
I told him he was the reason I choose creativity.
I asked him to tell me stories about his travels. Ones that I hadn’t already read.
I looked his lumberjack arms up and down and craved for them to be wrapped around me.
I asked him to tell me about Columbia and football, Neal Cassady and Mexico.
I did all these things in my mind, of course.
He might of thought it peculiar, a small woman knocking as his door professing her love for all things Kerouac. He might even have told me to get the fuck off his property. He despised the spotlight after all.
The front door was the last one Jack Kerouac walked through as he made his way to St. Anthony’s Hospital where he died the next day on October 21, 1969 at age 47.
Internal hemorrhaging from a lifetime of heavy drinking, an untreated hernia and unfortunate bar fight took the brilliant writers life.
The house in still owned by his family and everything inside still looks like it did when he lived there. His old chair remains covered with a tacky sheet.
The closest I’ll ever get to Kerouac now is the Flamingo Sports Bar on MLK Blvd. where he was a regular. They serve the “Jack Kerouac Special:” a shot of whiskey and a beer to wash it down with for $2.25.