"Do you think that Neal, as some have suggested, suffered deep GUILT (& pain) in connection with his children & his inability, finally, to perform a conventional fatherly role. That is, was he aware of it as a "failure" on his part?"

Less see, IF THERE HAD BEEN THAT DESIRE, THEN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A FAILURE, but I didn't see that desire at all. I wonder where others got that from.

What he feared before his parole from San Quentin was that without the support of his family he would very quickly be returned to prison. That was because he thought that he wouldn't be able to resist the temptations that would be so easily available to him. Just talking about tripping with his friends would light his face up with ecstatic restless excitement. It was clear to me watching him as it was to himself that that WAS what he was dying to do. That also brought the fear of the gendarmes on. he also expected the gendarmes to be right on him. He did not want to be returned to San Quentin. He was not afraid of work and he was hoping that his family would help him to present to his parole officer an image of a responsible hard working family man, and to not scrutinize his life too closely. But Carolyn who had stopped visiting him had written to him a in letter that she was not going to be around when he got out. She was planning to take the kids to Scotland where she had relatives. Aside from various other misunderstandings Carolyn had no concept of what marijuana meant to him. She was very angry that he had been smoking marijuana and did not trust him to stop that or the other escapades with his friends. The scenario which finds his wife and kids gone when he comes out of prison was a sure invitation to an early parole violation, he felt.

Neal asked me to plead with her to not leave when he came out. I did go to see her and she agreed that if I promised to stay in touch and to help, that she would give it a try. At that point I also did not yet understand why anyone would risk trouble for marijuana (speed did not seem to be that much of an acknowledged issue). Neal had shown me that with all of my training as a Psychologist, I had only seen one small paragraph which lumped marijuana as one of the narcotic drugs.

When he got out he got the job at the tire company and simply lived a double life. As soon as he could after work, or on weekends he would be gone with one excuse or another to do his things. Party, women, drugs, just to be on the go. There was a Los Gatos man that Carolyn introduced to Neal hoping to keep him away from his old pot smoking buddies. Neal would often go to see him, but what she didn't know was that he would smoke grass with that guy, who also was extremely appreciative of Neal for turning him on. Neal used to hang out with other ladies and go to parties to Berkeley, San Francisco and often come to visit me in Tiburon, before I moved in with the Cassady family. Whatever he did he was mostly excited about the larger transcendant metaphysical aspects of things. He moved out as soon as his parole was over.

By the way, I didn't read anything that anyone had written about him. Maybe I am just repeating things you read about somewhere. But it is all first hand experience that I am relating to you.

I never knew a Neal who wanted to be a family man. Neal was very much a ham also, and was always trying to play the roles that people phantasized about him. Hell, he didn't even try, he'd just naturally and enthusiastically fall into the roles that he very intuitively saw people expecting of him. Sometimes he would enjoy playing the family man role for a bit. There were times when the whole family would be watching TV for awhile. Of course the family would have to watch the races plus several other shows that he would navigate. Very often he would disappear in the bathtub for very , very long periods of time after work. I did not realize at the time that he was stoned there. I have never run into a person whose mind was as fast and whose sweep was as wide as was Neal's. I never saw any guilt ridden Neal. The most guilt feelings that I saw in him were about the woman who jumped to her death. He felt deeply about that when he was in San Quentin, but still not with a feeling of personal responsibility.

Neal confided in me quite a bit and until the end, no matter what he was involved in, he would stop by often and run through what was going on with him. He stopped at my house in Los Gatos on the way to his last trip to Mexico from Oregon and told me about the discomfort that he felt playing the role around the pranksters and didn't know how to tone himself down. There also was a woman that he was interested in at that time who left him for AG's company. That was a tough one for him.

His secret ambition from his youth was to live a life of contemplation. The life of a monk was a dream to him,and he saw his very intense sexuality and sexual popularity as a weakness that prevented him from living that life, but I don't think he felt guilty about it. It seemed to me to be more like a phantasy about an unattainable chalenge to him.

He did feel sad about not being able to communicate well with his children. I thought a lot of it was the fact that he had to hide who he realy was from Carolyn as well. One of the first things that he did after coming out of San Quentin was to check if the marijuana seeds that he had hidden in the garage were still there (they were), and to find friends to turn on with.

He did not find it difficult to be around his children. Before I got a car he would often take Johnny in the car with him after work and drive to San Jose to get me. We almost always stopped in the liquor store for sneaker bars on the way. Both of them were happy to be together doing small even if Neal wished for a closer understanding. I don't think he felt guilty, or a failure in what he tried to be although he wished he could communicate more meaningfully with the kids.

I am trying to give you a feeling for whats and whys of my conclusions about your question. I will continue to try if you feel I can clarify anything.

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