[n.p.]: Friday eve, November 1942.
1 p. Dated in holograph and with initialed holograph note in upper margin. 4to. "I am wasting my money and my health here at Columbia...it's been one huge debauchery ... I want to go back to the sea" Single sheet of blank stationery. Old folds and wrinkles, tiny tear along one fold, trace soiling. Item #312846
An outstanding early Kerouac letter to his closest friend from his formative years in Lowell, Mass, Sebastian Sampas, complaining about life at Columbia, and trying to persuade Sampas to join him in a stint with the merchant marines.
"I personally have seen enough of the Navy regimentation here at Columbia...I don't believe I shall join the Naval Reserve. [...] I believe I shall go back to the Merchant Marine for the duration of the war as ordinary seaman. I am wasting my money and my health here at Columbia...it's been one huge debauchery. [...] I want to go back to the sea...for the money, for the leisure and study, for the heart-rending romance, and for the pith of the moment. Sebastian, come with me, come with me! [...] Don't you want to travel to the Mediterranean ports, perhaps Algiers, to Morocco, Fez, the Persian Gulf, Calcutta, Alexandria, perhaps the old ports of Spain [...] I don't want to go alone this time. I want my friend with me...my mad poet brother. [...] As soon as you take your papers out, we shall go down to New York or Baltimore and grab a nice clean tanker or freighter, not a rotten swarming tub like the Dorchester. [...] You may write your great lyric poem, "The Seaman's Song" and I shall write the novel "A Seaman's Semen." Kerouac signs off, "Your Comrade, Jean"
Sampas did not take Kerouac up on the invitation; he enlisted in the Army instead and died in March 1944 from a wound sustained during the Battle of Anzio. Kerouac would marry Sampas' younger sister Stella in 1966. On re-reading this letter at some later date, Kerouac penciled a note in the upper margin: "A relic of battered pasts and buried projects....(JK)"
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