In October 1942, Jack Kerouac had just completed a voyage as a Merchant Marine in the North Atlantic, aboard the troop transport ship, SS Dorchester. Those events would become fodder for his first novel, The Sea is My Brother, and later referenced in Vanity of Duluoz. He returned to Columbia University, intending to delve back into his studies as he’d left them. His departure from the Merchant Marine was in part prompted by his coach, Lou Little, who had been urging him to pick up the pigskin again as well. This turn of events proved extremely lucky, as months later the Dorchester was torpedoed by a German U-boat, and 675 souls perished when she sank. But that’s another story.