October 15, 2008
Still on the road . . .
by Dennis Johnson
A judge in Clearwater, Florida has postponed a trial scheduled to decide whether a will left by Jack Kerouac‘s mother, Gabrielle Kerouac, was forged. As a report in the Tampa Tribune by notes, “Gabrielle Kerouac, who died in 1973, left all of her son’s belongings to his third wife, Stella Sampas Kerouac. The estate included unpublished manuscripts, journals and thousands of letters currently valued at $20 million, in addition to the St. Petersburg house where the literary icon lived at the time of his death in 1969.” However, as David Perry notes in a report in Kerouac’s hometown newspaper, The Lowell (Mass) Sun, the 35–year fight over Kerouac’s estate has been “long and pitched,” but at the heart of it is a sad story: Paul Blake Jr., “Kerouac’s last living blood relative, a nephew . . . . Homeless, ill and a recovering alcoholic . . . .”
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives