Carolyn Cassady was a witness to history. Her husband Neal Cassady was a key member of the Beat Generation and she was also romantically involved with On the Road author Jack Kerouac.
She has recorded her experiences in an intriguing book called Off the Road. But, in spite of being so close to the Beat Generation, Carolyn Cassady didn’t enjoy life in the 1960s:
Carolyn Cassady (Standard American accent):
Well, of course, I didn’t like the drug business and the kids all just seemed to go wild and I’m afraid I’m too traditional, too old-fashioned, I believe in order. I think the universe demands order and harmony and I don’t see any! So it’s very sad. Although I realise that, of course, just before that, that our society had become so smug and hypocritical that… World War Two and its horrors kind of woke up, you know, a lot of people.
Carolyn divorced Neal in 1963. The following year Neal drove “the Merry Pranksters,” who were effectively the first hippies, across America across a psychedelic bus but, once again, Carolyn didn’t approve:
Well, yeah, of course, they were always on acid and pot, all the time. There was a wonderful book written by Gretchen Fetchen, who’s a friend of mine still, and she told, you know, exactly what was happening every day. She and those women lived on buses for a whole year, you know, breeding like rabbits, and every day, all day and night, they were on acid and pot, so pretty revolting, you know!
(Carolyn Cassady was talking to Mark Worden)