As we grow older our universe begins to shrink at a quickened pace. I am surrounded by younger people most of the time which is a good thing on many levels. It keeps me in the present while still allowing future possibilities. This does not deny the reality that I am not a young man. One of the things that goes along with this landscape is that I have been saying goodbye more than I say hello. I received a phone call a couple of days ago from my friend Jody who was one of my classmates at Santa Clara a lifetime ago.  She and I and most of our pod were I guess, sort of artsy in a school that at that time was very conservative. The first year I was there in 1962 was the first year the school was co-ed. Dark ages indeed.

Anyway, Susan and I were friends and around the time we all graduated she would marry my roommate Peter. Before all that, however as the folk scene was burgeoning in the San Jose area Paul Kantner (my old friend who got me into the Airplane some years later) bought a 650 BSA Super Rocket motorcycle. He had never ridden before and back then none of us wore helmets or other protective gear. It was literally an accident waiting to happen. One night leaving a gig at the Folk Theater in San Jose Paul crashed the bike flying through the air and stopping only when his head hit a metal light post. It was a serious injury and he was lucky to survive it. They would up removing part of his skull and putting a metal screen in his head but that is a story for another time.

The police took the bike to impound and Paul to the hospital. I wanted to go see him and I asked Susan to go along. We visited for a while and he asked me to go pick up the bike for him. I remember it like it was yesterday. Susan was wearing a summer dress and sandals. (Do summer dresses even exist any more?) I had jeans and a T-shirt and sneakers. None of us would ride dressed like that today… but it was not today.

We got the bike and I rode it back to campus where it lived until Paul got out of the hospital.

Susan died yesterday of cancer, but as her granddaughter told me, she is at peace now. We hadn’t seen each other in years. There was literally a lifetime between then and now but I can still feel the summer wind blowing across our faces and through our hair.

Life leads us all on our own destination journeys but at the end of the day,  old friends know where you came from.

Fair winds and following seas Susan…

We were young together…


  1. Comment made on April 30, 2022 by Rick


    I very selfishly appropriated your reflection, taking it for my own feelings about a time and place I wouldn’t have yet experienced then for another few years; when a child on the scene, a witness to the Summer of Love. Falling in love, or something close to it, with the “big girls”, and their summer dresses. And, of course, the Airplane. Always, that. Somebody to love – indeed!

    My Captain! My Captain! The treasure is yours, moreover the treasured memories. Thanks for sharing Susan. (Now, Paul…did you have to bring him up?)


  2. Comment made on April 19, 2022 by Sally

    Sweet memories.
    RIP Susan.
    Hugs to you and Susan’s family ~

  3. Comment made on April 14, 2022 by Dale Radeleff

    Jorma :
    No problem Dale. Take care of yourself!

    Thank you Jorma

  4. Comment made on April 14, 2022 by Dale Radeleff

    Jorma, first off my intensions were NOT to hijack this thread but I do thank everyone for the kind words of encouragement, I’ll be posting how I do with this disease on Instagram, Bonechicken_Radeleff and on Facebook, Dale Radeleff, I will keep everyone infromed there 😉

    Happy Birthday Jack!!! If you guys are traveling through Carson City or Reno on your way to San Diego make sure you give me a call and I’ll meet you guys someplace for lunch or dinner. Again, thank you everyone for the kind words.

  5. Comment made on April 13, 2022 by Care Georgas

    @Dale Radeleff Fuck. My belief is IN miracles. Isn’t don’t belong in that damned sentence. My dumb ass can kill a vibe quick as you can a mosquito. I really hope the best.

  6. Comment made on April 13, 2022 by Carey Georgas

    @Dale Radeleff Hey Dale. In my haste I missed your post. Man, my first hope and belief is isn’t miracles, so I hope you got down there today and heard an “oops, wrong diagnosis”. Barring that, whatever it is you got my sincere hope and prayer is that it is early and easily treatable. May the peace that surpasses understanding be yours whatever your future holds. Grace be with you.

  7. Comment made on April 13, 2022 by Ed

    @Dale Radeleff
    Best wishes, Dale. And healing vibes from everyone, I’m sure.

  8. Comment made on April 13, 2022 by Peter

    I see that in August you’ll be visiting San Diego.
    A dear friend of mine from the East Coast performs regularly as “The Dowling Garagegrass experiment” in town. I don’t know how to add a link to this or any page for that matter. I would suggest that anyone on this site would certainly enjoy their contribution to the live music scene. Maybe while on the road if you can find time to check out one or more their videos on you tube and give them a shout out while in town. He would undoubtedly be both shocked and tickled pink.
    Wishful thinking..

  9. Comment made on April 13, 2022 by eaglesteve

    My condolences Jorma.

    Time keeps slipping on, as does life, and so while I am sad for your loss……….

    Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday to Jack
    Happy Birthday to a Devil, Devil, Devil of a Man
    Happy Birthday to you………

    and many many many more

  10. Comment made on April 13, 2022 by Carey Georgas

    I am right now at lake Sam Rayburn on a fishing trip with my college roommate and best friend since 1972. We see each other once or twice a year, and I have a couple other mates I’ve been friends with since kindergarten. The ones who knew each other young have a bond that transcends time, and those who still have those special friends can experience the past in a special light. I count myself a fortunate man, and thank you,Jorma, for bringing up such thoughts that help us shake loose the memories locked in our minds.

  11. Comment made on April 13, 2022 by Dale Radeleff

    On my bucket list is to visit my best friend from High School, he lives in Michigan about 500 miles from the Fur Peace Ranch, and to visit the Fur Peace Ranch. I may have to move these desires along a little faster as I find out today what kind of Cancer I have and how far along it is.

  12. Comment made on April 13, 2022 by Ed

    “We were young together…”
    Are there four more poignant words?
    I was recently with my best friend from high school, still my best friend. We met in 1968.
    Man, it goes fast.

  13. Sorry for your loss, Jorma. While we don’t go back to college days with you, many of us here were young(er) with you once. We remember you and Jack as young men, as you provided the events and soundtrack for much of our joyous youth. Our timing was very lucky!

  14. Comment made on April 12, 2022 by Peter

    One of the many crystal clear, high definition memories from my youth, was the time my uncle instructed me and my cousin to walk toward this palm sized, wind up super 8 movie camera and smile while waving hello. That early memory was and still is, burned into my brain. Forty three years later I finally viewed that film for the first time. It was taken on Easter Sunday 1964, which meant that I was two years and four months old at the time. Since then, I now refer to the height of certain objects in these memories to gain perspective of my age when referring to other and equally vivid, past recollections.

  15. Comment made on April 12, 2022 by Brad

    Your words ache and inspire and ring out dear Jorma. Thank you, with my condolences as well.

    Exactly different yet exactly the same shared human process of Hello and Goodbye which you describe, in the past 10 days I’ve lost a dear aunt to Alzheimer’s and my 15 year old beagle Annie. I am reminded from the recovery rooms that “tears are good, they come from a heart which feels deeply.”

    A snippet from a Celtic prayer states:
    Take time, be gentle
    As you walk with grief

    Peace be with you

  16. Comment made on April 12, 2022 by Don Gehre

    It’s amazing that some events that happened so long ago appear so fresh and alive in our memories. In the philosophy game, that’s part of my universe, we call it anhistorical, meaning in time and out of time. Paradox? Yeah, but some real meat on the bone. Condolences for your loss.

  17. Comment made on April 12, 2022 by Watson McCoy

    A beautiful and bittersweet memory of youthful days.

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