Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Mystery Of Maggie Cassidy.

Today i thought i'd tell you about a book which arrived in the post today.It is only a small paperback but i think it is great.It is called Maggie Cassidy, A Love Story by Jack Kerouac.A first edition published by Avon in the USA in 1959.Maggie Cassidy was a fictionalised account of Jack's relationship with his first love Mary Carney.As you can see it is signed 'John L. Kerouac' which is Jack's real name and the name under which his first novel The Town And The City was published many years earlier.It seems a bit formal to call himself John when everyone knows him as Jack.On the opposite page he has written Dear Jerce-sweetheart-June 13 1960.Jack Kerouac has been a favourite writer of mine for decades so it is great to own a book signed by him.
I wonder who Jerce was?.I looked up the name and it means 'tranquil'.I have never heard the name before.It got curiouser and curiouser.I decided to try and find out what Jack was doing on June 13th 1960.I googled Jack Kerouac June 13 1960 and incredibly this came up.
On ebay somebody is selling a cheque signed by Jack Kerouac on the very day that he signed my book.Although he has signed that cheque Jack you can clearly see that the Kerouac is exactly the same as on my book.The cheque is for a tax bill to the Inland Revenue.They are asking $6,999 for the signed cheque so what does that make my signed first edition worth?.How did that cheque get into the public domain?Is it normal for the US tax authorities to sell off cheques from famous people?.I don't think that would happen in Britain would it?.
                                                         1960 was a busy year for Jack,he had three books published,Tristessa,Lonesome Traveller,and Book Of Dreams so there was money coming into the house.In June 1960 i think Jack was living in Northport, Long Island with his mother and i expect on that day he dealt with a few business matters like paying bills and then he signed a book for somebody called Jerce and posted it to them.Fifty two years later the book arrived at my door.I still don't know who Jerce is.Has anyone got any idea?


I wrote that story a year ago and nobody  came forward with any info about the identity of  'Jerce'. That was until today. I had put the book on ebay a couple of days ago with the starting price of what i paid for it and my nephew Dominis saw it and contacted me about a postcard written by Jack Kerouac which was also for sale on ebay for £10,000. The postcard was addressed to Joyce Glassman.. Joyce Glassman was Jack's girlfriend at the time and she later became Joyce Johnson and wrote the best selling book Minor Characters about her time with Jack.  The stunning thing is that Jack begins the postcard  'Dear Jerce, Sweetheart', exactly the same as in my book. Jerce is the Brooklyn way of saying Joyce. 
                                                                                     The mystery of Maggie Cassidy has finally being solved. Thanks a lot Dominic.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Message From The Past

Several years ago when i was employed as a furniture restorer i discovered this old letter in a dresser i was mending.I took it home meaning to investigate it later but forgot about it. A couple of days ago when looking for something else i found it and read it through . I'm not sure about it because it seems to be a photo-copy of an original letter. I'm sure the original letter is genuine but if someone could cast some fresh light on it i would be very grateful. I'd love to know what happened to Pam & Jill because it is possible they are still alive.If you click on the pages you should be able to read them.

Thorn Farm
Nr Exeter

Dear Mummy & Daddy,
                                         We had a terrible raid on Exeter this morning.The warning sounded at about 1.45 am. We got up and went downstairs.Soon the planes were over and bombs were dropped, Jean & i dived under the dining room table. Then Mrs Every went up-stairs and shouted or rather screamed that the house was on fire. We all went upstairs & Jean &i took turns in pumping the stirrup pump and the water was coming out the top & Jean & i got soaked as we only had a nightdress, bed jacket,dressing gown & a raincoat on. While we were pumping  Jerry dropped H & S & and it blew the windows in & it blew Jean into the pool of water that the stirrup pump had made. Then i went into the bedroom &just got the things which were on the chair by my bed & went downstairs & stood in the passage leading to the kitchen &Jean & i were awfully cold as we had wet things on and the window had been blown out.  Then the roof fell in & H& E's still dropping near us.. When it had quietened down again we went out the back door and gate & went across to the children's home where they were bringing in patients from the City Hospital.Then we went to number 9 in The Cres' & then we were lent clothes.We stayed there until about 7.45 & then we came out to the farm which is 10 miles away from Exeter. We've hardly got any clothes left. I have lost my new hat &coat also my glasses in the fire. All i have is a pair of shoes,also slippers, stockings,i pair knickers,2 bodices,2 vests,1  nightdress, i bed jacket, 1 school blouse, 1 dressing gown & rain coat. That's all we got.

                                                                                                     Miss Every said will you please wire or write as soon as possible to me to let me know which train you would like me to catch, also which day.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Don't come down to fetch me because you couldn't sleep here at the farm.
                                                                                                         It was absolutely a nightmare as we were having dive bombings.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Mrs Every hasn't a stick left of her house except 2 pictures.The house is absolutely gutted. Nothing left of the house except the 4 walls.
                                                                                             Hope you are all well. See you all soon.
                                                                                               xxxxxx Love Pam xxxxxxx