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NauenThen

Heartbeat

Sad to hear about Carolyn Cassady's recent death at the age of 90. She was a charming, intelligent, adventurous, sometimes prickly friend. I knew her best in the '90s, after Alexandra Neil & I filmed her for a documentary about Jack Kerouac. I stayed with her in London a few years later, where we had a "theater orgy," as she called it. Another time, we went to a Yankees game: her first ballgame since the '40s. I took the FDR Drive up the East Side of Manhattan, a road that has caused more than one passenger to turn green with fear—I used to drive it every day, fast & careless, so I had no hesitation. As befits the wife of the best driver ever, Carolyn was as serene as a clam.

Almost the only time she snapped at me was once when I said drugs saved me—launched me from a predictable to an exciting life; she had seen drugs' destructiveness too close up to let that one go.

Here's a characteristic email, maybe the last I got from her:

Elinor—so happy to hear news of you and Alex. Gosh, darling little Zoe graduating from high school—well, I guess. Is the the gorgeous girl she was as a toddler? Ah, what a lovely window you opened to the past. I had recently run across the photos you gave me and the ones I took with that filming idea and the ones I took when you took me to Maine.

My memory is so poor—I have lived too long—and I am trying to think why I was in NYC such a long time then. I remember staying at Alex’s apt for a weekend alone, I think, when she was elsewhere. I remember going in a rowboat on the Hudson to a ship some friend of a friend was renovating to make into a nightclub, I remember the Flying somebodies, visiting jazz cafes in the village—all dim memories. Then you took me to Maine. (I never did get that romantic lobster dinner promised—just that huge waitress in that metal café—still good lobster no one shared)

It was a fabulous time, and I do love the village. Your place so small, but I am over the moon you still have your love—gosh.

So, bless your heart—thanks for remembering me.

Much love,
CC
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