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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Does anyone care a damn about an ailing Carolyn Cassady as she approaches her 90th birthday?

Some time ago – it was back in October - I put up a post about Carolyn Cassady, widow of Neal (Dean Moriarty of On The Road) and the difficulties she is currently facing as she approaches her 90th birthday. If you want to cross-reference it, here’s the link: http://walkinonnails.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/what-carolyn-cassady-could-do-with.html

There were in fact a handful of follow-up posts (10 October, 22 October, 29 October and 1st November), after the Daily Telegraph published an article about her – and more or less managed to gloss over the main point, that she is alone, frail, and unable to get her son (John) into the country to help look after her.

I did a lot of work around then, trying to arouse some interest and provoke some sort of action on John Cassady’s behalf. I’d contacted the journo who wrote the Telegraph piece. I wrote to my own Member of Parliament, to the Culture Secretary, and to Carolyn’s M.P. I think the sum total of responses was one from my local M.P. saying that since Carolyn did not live in her constituency there was nothing she could do. From the Culture Secretary, nothing; from Carolyn’s representative in Parliament, nothing. I also wrote to a number of people in the broadcasting and print media: literary editors, or example, at several high-end newspapers. Result, nothing.

Five months on, where are we? Well, to be perfectly honest, we’re probably precisely where we started, except that Carolyn is in worse shape. I had an email from her the other day, and I’ll quote from it.

“No, no progress… and the only response from my MP was that he’d sent my letter to some woman higher up on the ladder, but, of course, to her this is trivia; to us urgent. So it will remain in her IN box for years.  I guess there is little hope. What a devastating stupid mistake at this time; I really do need him, and he really needs to know what he’ll face when I’m gone. Which could be any minute; I get wobblier every day. I’m trying to avoid the social services, but I’m glad they are there. I’m too private a person and don’t like strangers invading my space. Yesterday I risked a trip to Tesco’s and made it!

I keep busy with emails from fans and writers as well as the family. Of course TV fills some hours, and I read, but my eyes get weaker, so that is minimal. I have mountains of DVD movies, and my memory so poor, it’s like seeing some for the first time.  Ah me, old age, what a drag.”

I don’t get many comments on this blog – never have – but if anybody has any ideas as to how we might stir the authorities I’d be glad to hear them. Meanwhile I shall scratch my head and see whether I can stir up some more media interest.