The Mayor of Springfield, Christine Lundberg, announced tonight there will be a mural honoring the author Ken Kesey. Ken’s family was present at Wildish Hall with the Mayor, which tells the citizens of the city I dwell in, that the Kesey Family Legacy is controlled by the family, and their blessing is needed for such an event.
This mural will be painted on the wall of the Odd Fellow’s Hall of which my kindred belonged in San Francisco.
She announced plans for a new downtown mural — this one celebrating not “The Simpsons” cartoon family but rather “another pop culture icon who lived life a little closer to our home”: author Ken Kesey. The announcement drew loud applause from a nearly full theater.
“We will recognize Kesey for his Springfield roots and his great contributions,” Lundberg said.
Kesey, best known for the novels “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sometimes a Great Notion,” graduated from Springfield High School in 1953.
Several members of Kesey’s family were in attendance, including his mother, Geneva, and daughters Shannon and Sunshine. Ken Kesey died in 2001.
In February, the city will begin accepting proposals to develop the concept for the mural and complete the artwork, according to city spokesman Niel Laudati. Kesey family members will be among those deciding which proposal to accept.
The mural will be painted on downtown’s Odd Fellows building, which houses the Plank Town Brewing Co.
Though the Kesey mural is sure to garner more national headlines for Springfield, the rest of Lundberg’s speech was closer to home.
Nancy Van Brasch Hamren brought her grandmother’s recipe to Springfield Creamery in the late ’60s when she started as bookkeeper. She still works in 2010 as office manager.
Nancy Van Brasch Hamren had a recipe. Her health-conscious grandmother made yogurt, and so did she during the months she lived on Ken Kesey’s farm near Eugene.
Hamren, a lanky, soft-spoken Californian, ran in circles simply psychedelic with history. She lived in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district from 1966 to 1968, the bookends to 1967’s Summer of Love. Her boyfriend’s sister was married to Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead’s shaggy-haired lead guitarist. And they all knew Ken Kesey — from his books, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sometimes a Great Notion,” and from the infamous, drug-juiced parties known as Acid Tests, which he hosted and promoted.
When Ken Kesey traveled to Britain to work with the Beatles in 1969, Hamren and her boyfriend moved to Oregon to look after his farm. When Kesey and his family returned, she needed a new pad and a job. Down at the creamery, his brother, Chuck, needed a bookkeeper. He and Sue hired Hamren, and they started talking yogurt.