Saturday, November 10, 2012

MAGGIE CASSIDY (annotations)

Annotated to McGraw-Hill edition (1978): page number precedes each annotation. This is an ongoing project, any contributions you may have will be greatly appreciated.

My goal is to dig out some of the more obscure background pertaining to Kerouac's Lowell novel, as well as the more commonly known information, some of which is culled from Kerouac scholar Dave Moore's own finds. All credited sources are forthcoming.

I plan on using much of this for my expanded version of The Seeds of Galloway: A Guide to Jack Kerouac's Lowell and Lowell Novels.


[5] "what we had heard the cowboy sing": there is no listing for the films playing at the Gates on January 1, 1939. The films featured in other theatres in the vicinity are Last Warning; There Goes My Heart; Blondie; Smash the Spy Ring; Brave Little Tailor; Wings in the Dark; Night Hawk; The Chaser and The Lady Object.

The one lead I do have is that the song quoted in the opening page of Maggie Cassidy could actually be "Rye Whiskey" performed by Tex Ritter in the film Song of the Gringo released in 1936. "Rye Whiskey" is a variant of the folk song "Jack o' Diamond."

Ritter's rendition sort of suits the mournful drunken lament of G.J. Rigopoulos.

[5] "in the Gates Theatre": The Gates Theatre was formerly the Lowell Opera House, built in 1887. It was located on 12 Gorham Street and 347 Central Street (what is now called "Towers Corner") where it straddled the fork between the two streets. After the theatre changed hands several times, it became the Gates Theatre in 1934 before turning, once again, to the State Theatre in 1943. In 1958 it was razed. Today there are apartments in that location.

[5] "G.J. Rigolopoulos": George J. Apostolos (1922-2010) was a friend of Jack Kerouac who lived in the Pawtucketville section of Lowell. He maintained a lengthy correspondence with Kerouac through the 1940s. He later became an insurance agent in Lowell.

[5] "Jack o diamonds, Jack o diamonds, you'll be my downfall": "Jack o' Diamonds" is a traditional folk song from the state of Texas. It has been recorded by Tex Ritter and many others before the start of World War II. 

[5] "New Years 1939": Jack Kerouac during this time was on winter break from classes before completing his last year at Lowell High School.

[5] "Scotty Boldieu": Joseph Henry Beaulieu (1922-1975) was a boyhood friend of Jack Kerouac who lived in Pawtuckville. 

[5] "Albert Lauzon": Roland "Salvy" Salvas (1924 - ?) was a boyhood friend of Jack Kerouac who lived in Pawtucketville. (he is pictured below, second from the left, top row)

[5] "Vinny Bergerac": Freddy Bertrand (1922 - ?) was a boyhood friend of Jack Kerouac in Lowell.

[5] "Jacky Duluoz": Jack Kerouac's (1922-1969) pseudonym.

[5] "when all we had to do was walk across the river ...": the likely route is from the Kerouac family apartment on Moody Street (now University Avenue) in Pawtucketville where Jacky Dulouz lives in the novel. This apartment is located within a three-story tenement. The Kerouacs resided in the top floor apartment from 1938 until 1940. Jacky Duluoz's room was in the far corner of the top floor;

across the Moody Street bridge;

up Moody Street;

into downtown Lowell where he would have wended his way along cobblestoned streets into the Acre section of Lowell, partially populated by Greek-Americans ("a thousand Greek boys") and Irish-Americans.

The year of when the novel opens, Lowell was undergoing an Urban Renewal Project that was reshaping the poor neighborhood of the Acre. It was to become the North Common Village. The plan was for th emass eviction of its Greek residents which raised the ire of local Greek leaders who formed the Lowell Anti-Housing Committee. By the end of 1939, the new committee had failed to stop the Lowell Housing Authority from moving ahead with its plans, and on the 29th, the last family of tenants left what was formerly known as the "Greek Acre." When North Common Village was compleyed in 1940, very few Greeks returned to live there. This urban project is now known for impacting the devastation of an ethnic community, an aspect Lowell is now known for.

[6] "Riverside Street":  Riverside Street would have intersected Moody Street (at the point of the Pawtucketville side of the Moody Street bridge) during the time of this novel. It is also known for the "wrinkly tar corner" where the novel Dr. Sax opens.

[side note] Miss Helen L. Mansfield, Kerouac's English teacher (or as Sampasscoopies refers to as "one of the most popular Lowelltown schoolmarms") from Bartlett Junior High School, lived just off of Riverside Street at 12 White Street in Pawtucketville where she remained after her mother died at this home on April 11, 1932. She was notable in the community, not only for her loyalty toward education, but was also a president of the Lowell Christian Endeavor Union, the Greater Lowell mental health committee as well as other civic organizations. Through the late 1940s and 50s, she was also noted as a great lecturer and traveler (one of her most popular talks was her experience out west with the Hopi Indians in the summer of 1948, a trip to Mexico and a discussion on "How to be Tolerant of Elderly People."  Maybe she crossed paths with her ex-student!). She was perceived in her time as an influential citizen of Lowell and an advocate of mental health care.

She remained a lifelong resident of Lowell. I am still looking for more info, but so far she seemes to have disappeared from public records in 1957.


questions to explore:

where is Mill Pond [7]?

Can we find some of the other boys that are named in the opening page, living or dead?

to be continued ...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the page. Am thinking a about a trip to Lowell in the fall.


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