Thursday, August 17, 2006


At one of several colleges I attended, my favorite friend was a girl named Grace Wing. She was bright, funny and very beautiful, as out of place at that particular school as I was. Grace was braver than I with adventurous hair on which she often experimented with color, and a pet snake that coiled against her belly when she lay on her bed, reading.

Toward the end of the semester she lent me her treasured Johnny Mathis album, which was later stolen from my room along with some of mine. I never replaced it, which was inexcusable and I lost a friend I really liked, for how could anyone stay friends with someone who demonstrated so little caring and social awareness?

A few years later, the band Jefferson Airplane became a huge sensation and their lead singer was my old friend, now Grace Slick. I once saw an interview in which she credited Johnny Mathis as one of her earliest influences. To this day, I believe she had the single best female voice in Rock music, ever. To say that she was the voice of our generation is a gross understatement.

I still feel terrible that I treated her so shabbily. For years I searched music stores for the Mathis album, which I believe was his first, in hopes of finding Grace and sending it to her. She certainly didn't need me to provide it, but doing so would have given me closure of a sort. And I still owe her.

I try to be more careful with my friends now because they are far more precious than I realized when I was young.


Anonymous said...

I have a few of those haunting memories too, things I wish I had handled with more kindness, more sensitivity, and certainly more grace. We don't forgive ourselves nearly as quickly as others do, I'm sure. But I am just as sure that the fact that we remember these things and that they still prick the conscience years later says something about the people we've become.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Thank you for your most kind and beautifully stated comments.

Maybe all we can do in such cases is to honor those we've wronged by practicing more grace with those who are in our lives now.

kim said...

maybe you should send grace a few johnny cd's ? or a rare album bought on ebay with a little note ?
if she doesnt acknowledge it at least you will feel like you tried ?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

The rare album is a great idea. I would love to if I could find her address.

And acknowledgement isn't important. She may not even remember me, but it's always fun to get an unexpected present. (Although that could be scary in this day and age, sadly.)

Jennifer said...

There are a few important lessons to be learned in that story. Not the least of which is the continuing theme of what a vastly interesting life it is you've lived.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Well, isn't everyone's? Our lives take unexpected twists that somehow turn out, more often than not, to be better than the True Path we thought we were derailed from at the time.

I've been enjoying your blog, too, Jennifer.

Los Angelista said...

Wow! Just wow! That is really something. You seriously need to make a book out of some of these stories.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Wow. You worked hard to find this post. I'm so flattered and hope you know that I would do the same for one of yours.

I still wish I could send her a gift to make it up to her, but once she became famous I really couldn't because it would have seemed as if that was the only reason.

I think she lives in Malibu now.