Kerouac in Rocky Mount, N.C. cont'd
In the photo above, you can see the back of the house on West Mount Drive in Rocky Mount, N.C. where Jack Kerouac spent several months in early 1956.
He lived there with his sister, Caroline, or Nin, and her husband, Paul Blake.
It's only through the dedication of John J Dorfner of Raleigh, N.C., that we know about this house. In the early 1980s, after moving to the state with his wife, he became obsessed with knowing more about Kerouac's time in Rocky Mount.
Understand, nowhere did any biographer mention the possible location of the house. That's why when I made a similar search about the same time, I came up empty handed.
I was working at my first newspaper job in 1986 and heard from another writer that Kerouac had spent time in Rocky Mount. I figured it was a rumor really, and thought little of it. Then, I read a column by another reporter, Cindy Trew, who wrote about tracking down the house in "Big Easonburg Woods." I was very touched by her column; she was a fine writer.
So I trekked to Braswell Memorial Library, looked through the North Carolina collection. Nothing. I drove around in Little Easonburg, which is just west of town on Sunset Avenue. Nothing.
Then in the late 1990s, curious again, I went to Braswell Library.
By this time, Mr. Dorfner had published his slim, but dense, volume, Kerouac: Visions of Rocky Mount.
There were photos inside and I drove along West Mount Drive until I found the house. It is pictured above.
AHEAD: How John Dorfner found the Blake-Kerouac House and saved it from obscurity, for now, at least