Sunday, February 27, 2011


I have found one thing to be constant on my path following Mike Porco and the lives he touched along the way: love. 

They loved him. And he loved them back. 

But it's not just that. The most amazing thing to me is that it's still flowing to this day. To my great fortune, and perhaps only because of my bloodline, much of it has been transfered to me. There's a sincere and palpable reverence between all the kindered spirits within this community. Everyone has welcomed me in no questions asked. I like to say that I've been "grandfathered in." Everyone I've contacted with and connected with have made me feel right at home. They've shared their memories and feelings with me as if they've known me for years. And to think that I've only introduced myself to Grandpa's ol' friends a short 16 months ago...I feel like I've been here in some way all along. 

The very first person I contacted one late November evening was Suze Rotolo. I told her I was writing a book on Gerde's and Mike and from right there and then, she became my biggest supporter and cheerleader. She seemed to have that effect on people. She followed my movements as I promoted the anniversary party from afar and offered encouragement through timely emails I could have never expected.

We met for lunch last February and got carried away in conversation so quickly that my note pad, which typically became full of illegible words, was mostly empty. We talked about lots more than Gerdes and had quite a laugh together. She told me to keep contacting people because I had a "magic name." She helped connecting me with Terri Thal, Sylvia Tyson, Alix Dobson, John Cohen and everyone's Godfather, Isreal Young. I assumed that I'd see her again for a follow up of our own one of these days...  

On the task of book writing (something she only needed to do once with A FREEWHEELIN' TIME), she merely shared her thoughts from her own experience in writing her memoirs. It's that advice that I still hear in my head: don't look at the mountain just keep taking steps...find one ear to hear what you're trying to say. To her, that ear was her son, Luca. She wanted him to know her completely. She just happened to let the world find out about her in the process, too. The other thing she told me after the Reunion was, keep your vision and TRUST ADVICE FROM ARTISTS AT ALL TIMES!  

I've had many heartfelt conversations thus far and I've been pleasantly surprised to find men openly bidding me adieu with a sincere "love ya" or just plain ol' "I love you, man." Why? I can only guess that they mean it. I've seen Vince Martin tell David Amram the same. I've heard it from Buzzy Linhart. Why?

Perhaps because, as Sally Spring told me, we're all in this together. The connections are real. The sentiment is honest and unforced. And that's why Suze's loss is a great loss to this whole family, no matter how long you've been a part of it. (And, men, just admit it. You can see why she was born to be Suze) 

And now I have regrets that I didn't get to tell as much to Suze. Personally, I'm not a big fan when people use their Facebook page, or their blog for that matter, to "speak" to Jimi or George Harrison on their birthdays...just not my style. 

But I will say here, to the memory of Suze Rotolo, Thank you, Sweetie. I love you. I'll miss you. Ciao Bella

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