All Kerouac, All the Time (Seems Like)

The front page of the “Home” section of the NYTimes today has an article headlined “The Jack Kerouac of Junk,” which is a profile of the co-star of the popular “American Pickers” weekly program on the History Channel (5.5 million people watch). The “antiques” dealer who started rescuing bicyles and fixing them up for sale says one day he had an epiphany. “‘What am I doing here, man? I need to be on the road.’ So I closed the shop, bought a cargo van and hit the back roads. I was a full-on hobo—a Jack Kerouac of junk.”

Well, there you go. Read the article by Steven Kurutz here, and get the NYT if you want more. The photos are terrific.

Photo by Michelle Litvin (courtesy of

Our colleague and occasional contributor Steve O’Connor (author of “Smokestack Lighting” and “The Spy in the City of Books”) passed along an anecdote about a recent encounter in the Old Worthen Tavern with a patron who was curious about the place and its Kerouac connections. Steve asked him where he was from. “Argentina,” said the man, who then explained that all of his friends in Argentina were crazy for Kerouac and reading the novels and poetry in Spanish translations. He was tracking Jack in the real Lowell after discovering us in fiction. True-story novels, in Kerouac talk.

Well, there you go. Again.

One Response to All Kerouac, All the Time (Seems Like)

  1. Marie says:

    Thanks Paul for posting this story and link.
    I’m a big fan of “American Pickers” and Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz. The show is a running history lesson and a lesson about some real American characters. One show opened in the Gettysburg Museum whose curator/owner wanted the guys to get some specific Civil War pieces to add to the collection – guns I think. As the camera panned the shop/museum – there it was! A beautifully framed antique American flag with this citation: “in memory Post 185 G.A.R Lowell, Mass.”. It lit up the e-mails of the Lowell Historical Society! So the beat goes on … with those Lowell connections!