I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.Jack KerouacClick anywhere
Henri Cru was one of the friends that Jack Kerouac met at Horace Mann School, New York, in 1939. Their friendship sustained for many years, and Cru featured as a character in several of Kerouac’s books. He was the model for “Remi Boncoeur” in On the Road and “Deni Bleu” in Visions of Cody, Lonesome Traveller, Desolation Angels, Vanity of Duluoz and Book of Dreams. After a working lifetime of sailing the seas as a marine electrician, Henri retired to live in Greenwich Village, New York, where he continued to pursue his interest in horse-racing. Cru emerges as a shadowy character in the various Kerouac biographies, probably because he seems not to have been interviewed by the researchers concerned. I am indebted to Edie Parker for putting me in touch with Henri Cru in 1982. Henri was then in Bellevue Hospital, New York, recuperating after having his left leg amputated as a result of diabetes. In answer to my questions, letters followed from Henri, carefully drafted in capital letters in the style described by Kerouac. Henri Cru sadly died in 1992.