Times photo-CHERIE DIEZ
The house at 5169 10th Avenue North.   In 1969, Kerouac wrote to his first wife, Edith Parker: "I'm not rich like you think but the house is a beaut, the yard has a fenced in grass, tree and jungled area:   There's a screened porch.   Walk to store.   Hurricane proof Spanish modern CASTLE, which explains where all the money went".

"I do not admit that I am the father of this child, only that she bears my name".   Kerouac, at 1962 paternity hearing.

Jan Kerouac didn't meet her father until she was 10 years old.   They got together at a hamburger joint in Brooklyn the day Kerouac, gave blood that would prove he was Jan's father.   "You're a lovely little girl, but you're not my daughter", she says he told her.

He took her to a liquor store and bought a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream.   Jan saved the cork.

She didn't see him again for five years.   She stopped by his home in Lowell on her way to Mexico to write a book with her boyfriend, John Lash.   Kerouac was watching the Beverly Hillbillies, and drinking scotch.   He showed Jan and Lash some of his paintings. "Use my name", he told Jan. "Write a book".   "It was a typical display of drunken arrogance", said Lash, who later married Jan.

She never saw her father again.   She heard on the radio that he had died.   "I don't think she ever came to grips with that rejection", said David Bowers, Jan's stepbrother. "Here you are, your father is seen as a cultural icon but, on the other hand, you have no relationship with him.   She had a mix of pride and disappointment".

She drank heavily as a teenager, prostituted, took LSD and heroin, and spent time in institutions, including New York's Bellevue.   She traveled places he traveled, wrote in his autobiographical style, had little success.

At a Jack Kerouac conference in 1982 in Bolder, Colorado, John Steinbeck's son asked her why she was broke.   He said she was due some of her father's royalty payments.

A lawyer confirmed it: Though her father left her nothing, when his books came up for copyright renewal, she was entitled to half the royalties.

In 1985, On the Road came up.   After Jan threatened to sue Stella and family for the payments, they agreed that Jan would get $4,000.00 and half of future royalties.   By the 1990's, she was getting up to $100,000.00 a year.

In 1990, Jan came to St. Petersburg and knocked on the door at 10th Avenue North.   She wasn't sure who might open it.   Two decades after her father's death, the St. Petersburg white pages still listed "Jack Kerouac" (The phone number rang at the house until 1999)

John Sampas opened the door.   He was Stella's youngest brother and gatekeeper of much of Kerouac's literary archive.   Not only had his sister been Kerouac's wife, his brother had been one of Kerouac's closest friends.

He invited her to sit in her father's swivel chair at his dark wood desk.   She said she felt "like a little boy in the cockpit of his father's plane, like I was at the controls".   Sampas asked, "Well, would you like anything else?"   "Well, the desk".   Sampas refused,   He says Jan had bragged to him that she sold desks at garage sales by telling buyers they belonged to her father.   If he gave her the real thing, he was afraid she'd sell it, too.   "No way I was going to give it to her after her garage sale story", he said.

The real garage sale, critics say, was about to begin.

"The Jack Kerouac Lofts are being designed to appeal to a new generation of buyer..." Ad for a condo complex in Denver.

Jeffrey Weinberg couldn't believe what John Sampas was asking.   A Kerouac fan, Weinberg owned a book shop in Sudbury, Mass., that specialized in Beat materials.   Now Sampas was asking him to inspect and sell materials from Kerouac's estate.   Music to his ears.     

Sampas ushered Weinberg into his Victorian home in Lowell one Sunday and locked the door behind them.   Kerouac clutter was ever where.   Manuscripts of Mexico City Blues and The Subterraneans lay out, filing cabinets overflowed, the baseball game Kerouac invented was spread on the floor.   Cats wondered about.   "I was willing to get involved just to be near this stuff", Weinberg said.   "These are the crown jewels of Beat".   He said Sampas told him, "I want to turn some of this stuff into cash".

Weinberg said he began selling books from Kerouac's  personal library, his paintings, letters, original manuscripts and first editions that the author had inscribed for Stella.

Scouting for buyers, Weinberg contacted the owner of Flashback books, whose daughter happened to be dating a Kerouac fan of some means, Jonny Depp.   The daughter's name: Winona Ryder.  

Depp came to Lowell.   He started with letters and manuscripts.   According to Weinberg, Sampas brought in a large box and said, "Johnny, I think you're going to like this stuff better".

In the box were Kerouac's clothes: hats, shoes, raincoats, jackets.   "Johnny tries on the clothes", Weinberg said, "And by god they fit".

Depp paid $15,000.00 for a raincoat, $5,000.00 for a rain hat, $10,000.00 for a tweed coat and $5,000.00 for a letter Kerouac had written to his friend, Neal Cassady, the model for Dean Moriarty in On the Road.

Sampas said he never sold anything important or related to Kerouac's work.   Most of the letters, journals and notebooks remain, including all original manuscripts.   He said he stored and handled all Kerouac material like the treasures they are.

What did he sell, he said, covered the costs of office equipment and cataloging the archive.   As the family member in charge of the estate, he said, "I had a financial responsibility to the heirs".

Sampas is 70 now, an antiques dabbler who collects notes Kerouac fans leave on the writer's grave in Lowell.

Some Kerouac devotees consider him Public Enemy No. 1.   Biographer Gerald Nicosia most of all.

"There are plenty of things rotten in the state of Kerouac right now, and I am hardly the only person to know it."   Nicosia, in a letter to his editor.

Nicosia is always fuming.   At his editors, at reporters who can't seem to get the Kerouac story right, at historians he thinks are selling out to make a buck off the Beat Generation.

At the University of Chicago in 1972, Nicosia didn't think his literature professors were giving Kerouac his due.   He vowed to write the definitive biography of Kerouac, and he did.   "If Jack ever had a bowel movement, Gerry's book can tell you what time", said Weinberg.

Nicosia spent six years, traveled 50,000 miles and interviewed more than 300 people in his research of the biography he titled Memory Babe, the nickname Kerouac's childhood friends gave him for his extraordinary memory.

When Sampas began selling pieces of the Kerouac archive, Nicosia called it a "fire sale", sacrilegious scattering of a literary relic.   "They weren't doing it secretly", he said.   "They issued catalogs.   They sold stuff hand over fist".

In the early 1990's, Nicosia said, Sampas pressured his publisher to pull Memory Babe out of print.   Nicosia thinks Sampas did it to get back at him for criticizing him publicly.   He found another publisher.