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Edie Kerouac-Parker


Edie Parker (1922-1993) was an author from the Beat Generation and the first wife of Jack Kerouac. She and Joan Vollmer shared an apartment on 118th Street in New York City, frequented by many Beats, among them Vollmer's eventual husband William S. Burroughs. Edie also represented "Judie Smith" in Kerouac's novel, The Town and the City.

Although Edie Parker was only part of the Beat movement for a short time, her role in the community was crucial to the development of the early Beat generation. Not only did Edie introduce Jack Kerouac to the infamous Lucian Carr, which got Jack involved in the Beat movement, but she formed a close relationship with Joan Vollmer Adams, who, like Edie, was no typical housewife.

Edie grew up wealthy, living in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She was part of the upper class there, attending parties and charming those around her with her good looks. In 1941, she attended Columbia University. Her parents wanted her to find a husband and settle down, but she had other ideas in mind. Edie quickly got involved with Jack Kerouac, who appealed to her because of his spontaneous personality and charming looks. Their zany personalities were very suiting, and they maintained a lasting love affair while Jack was off at sea. Edie found Jack both appealing and trying, as he was “…exhausting her patience by continually deserting her, for his mother’s hearth or for the sea.”

When Edie and Joan met, they became immediate friends, and they moved into an apartment together soon after. Their apartment provided them with freedom from the restrictive bonds that their families had over them and it became a popular gathering place that brought together the first major characters of the Beats.

Sources include: www.wikipedia.org, and www.womenofthebeat.org

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You'll Be Okay
My Life with Jack Kerouac
Edie Kerouac-Parker
"We’ve officially entered what might as well be called Jack Kerouac Awareness Month. It’s the 50th anniversary of the publication of 'On the Road,' and the commemorations include . . . a memoir, 'You’ll Be Okay,' from Kerouac’s first wife." – NY Times