Beatrice Kozera | In Kerouac novel, 92
Beatrice Kozera, 92, the Los Angeles-born woman whose fleeting relationship with novelist Jack Kerouac was chronicled in On the Road, died Thursday of natural causes in Lakewood, Calif., said family friend Tim Hernandez.
Known to readers as "Terry the Mexican girl," Ms. Kozera learned only a few years ago, Hernandez said, that her 15-day relationship with Kerouac in the farmworker labor camps of Selma in 1947 was featured in his famous beat-generation novel and eventually a movie.
Hernandez tracked her down while he was researching her story for a book. After the author found, at the New York Public Library, letters and a postcard she had written to Kerouac, he showed them to her family, who recognized her handwriting.
"As far as she was concerned, she was a normal, ordinary person who at one point in her life met a man," said Hernandez, who interviewed her several times. "She never knew that this gentleman Kerouac ever became anything."
Ms. Kozera spent most of her early years with her farmworker family in California's fields and eventually settled in Fresno. - Associated Press