Kerouac on Cape Cod

Kerouac’s former home at 20 Bristol Ave, Hyannis

Among the most salient points that Brian Hassett mentioned in his Beats on Film presentation at LCK was that despite all the negativity surrounding the release and subsequent damage done by The Subterraneans movie, there was one good thing that came from that episode in Jack’s life, in the form of a $15,000 check he received for the movie rights to the novel. Brian made a point to tell the audience it was the single biggest payday Jack ever had in his life, and with that money he was able to buy a house for himself and his mother in Northport, Long Island.

In 1966, Kerouac and his mother moved to Cape Cod, purchasing a home at 20 Bristol Ave in Hyannis. Though they lived there for only about a year, it was here he and Stella Sampas, his third wife, were married. Literally here—as they were wed at home by Town Clerk and Justice of the Peace Howard Sears, so that Mémère, who had recently suffered a stroke, could attend.  

We drove by 20 Bristol Ave on our way out of Hyannis. It is no longer the shining castle that it was when Jack bought it in 1960. I could only imagine what it might’ve looked like when Jack and Mémère lived there. There was a guy sitting in the front looking at us suspiciously as we took pictures. I imagined he was looking at us the same way Jack was looking at the world back in 1959.

We also visited one of Jack’s regular haunts: the 19th Hole, where he spent much of his Hyannis days drinking and writing.