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All Roads Lead to Rocky Mount by Daniel Barth
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All Roads Lead to Rocky Mount by Dan Barth       Page 8

 

"I transferred to my local bus and instructed the driver to let me off at the country road that wound three miles through the piney woods to my mother's house in Big Easonburg Woods which is a country crossroads outside Rocky Mount."
~ Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

 
After the tv shop the final stop on our Rocky Mount Kerouac tour was the house in Big Easonburg Woods, since renamed West Mount, where the Blakes lived in the mid-1950's. From the Tarboro Street house they had moved briefly to Kinston, North Carolina. On returning to Rocky Mount they moved to this house, which Kerouac describes in The Dharma Bums. It was on the back porch and in the kitchen here that he wrote Visions of Gerard. He also meditated in the nearby woods, read Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson, and filled sections of a journal which would one day be published as Some of the Dharma.

 

Dan and Nate out front of the Blake House

 
Mike had contacted the current residents of this house, but they were not interested in getting together with any Kerowackos. Apparently the flying of U. S. and Canadian flags was not intended as a Kerouac tribute. As Canadian Kerouac aficionado Rod Anstee pointed out to me, anyone honoring Kerouac's French Canadian roots would be more likely to fly a Quebec flag.

No one was home the afternoon we stopped by, so we explored outside and took a few photos. The neighborhood was not as countrified as described by Kerouac. He talks about cotton fields and pine woods. I'm sure there had been a fair amount of change since the 1950's. There were still a lot of pine trees and the area still had a nice rural Carolina feel to it, but basically it was residential. The crossroads store depicted by Kerouac was now a cafe and grille.

 

Bubba's Place

 

"When I'd go to the country store to buy bread and milk the old boys there sitting around among bamboo poles and molasses barrels'd say, 'What you do in those woods?'"
~ Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

 

 

Dan Barth, hat in hand, in front of Blake House

 

"MORNING   DEC. 27   1955    ROCKY MOUNT
Today I begin the opening novel (chronologically) of DULUOZ LEGEND - VISIONS OF GERARD, the story of the first four years of my life, of my brother who is my true self as Bodhisattva Hero - the mournful idealistic little boy in the gloomy rain -"
~ Kerouac, Some of the Dharma

 


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Description: Some of the Dharma. Begun in December 1951 as a notebook for his Buddhist studies, this work records Kerouac's reactions to a variety of Buddhist texts. Over the course of five years, it grew to include poems, prayers, dialogs, meditations, and notes on his reading, as well as commentary on family, friends, and meaningful concerns in his life.

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