Goodbye to Susan

Posted By on April 26, 2008

A few weeks ago, when I told my old friend Eric about how my old friend Jack was doing (maybe not so good), he wrote back sympathizing and told me Susan Connell-Mettauer had died. Susan Connell was my girlfriend in 1963; we danced to the Beatles, had a passionate affair, and were busted by her aunt because she didn’t want me, 20 then, screwing Susan, 16 then. Cambridge police put us into separate interrogation rooms (we didn’t know what each other was doing), got us to confess to the affair, and sentenced me to six months’ probation and Susan to a mental hospital. The charge was fornication, an old Massachusetts blue law. It sucked – the aunt, the law, the situation. It drove us apart, not immediately at first, but for decades.

About 15 years ago, I seem to recall through Eric, I got in touch with Susan again and saw her in Boston. She’d aged a lot; she’d been drinking and drugging and her liver was shaky. It was great to see her anyhow, and strange. It’s funny how your past circles back on you.

A few years later, I saw her again, introducing her to my wife and kids. It was an odd encounter, not a meeting of the minds so much as a meeting of generations. She seemed to have gotten stuck while I had moved on – and even then, I didn’t feel as if I could do anything for her. Then I heard she was married. She wrote, well and tough, publishing some stories online. Maybe two years ago, she told me her marriage was over and she had to move out of her house in Marblehead. She’d been trying to get over her hepatitis but couldn’t lock into the right regimen. She never did get work. I lost touch with her again.

Then came the news, from Eric to me, that she’d died March 26. He’d heard about it from Susan Green, an old friend of his in Burlington, where I, Eric and Susan used to hang out in the ‘70s. Susan Connell and Susan Green, I discovered, had been friends, semi-related through rock ‘n’ roll. After we were together, Susan married Lee Mason, a drummer who was in a ‘60s rock group in Boston called the Bagatelle. Susan Green, meanwhile, was associated with Willie Alexander (once of The Lost, later of Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom Band), a friend of Lee’s. So the network deepened and extended and I’m glad it’s held; I’ve been in touch with Susan Green about this and hope I can join her and other mourners of the late Susan Connell-Mettauer (expired March 26 before she could secure the liver transplant she needed), probably in Boston, where, it seems, it all began and still continues.

I miss Susan. I wish I could have helped her. That she died the way she did is very sad. That she didn’t live as rewardingly as her passion promised may even be sadder.


2 Responses to “Goodbye to Susan”

  1. Sandra says:

    This line about Susan is really beautiful and meaningful to me. I think I will print it and keep it for my own guidance in the future.

    “That she died the way she did is very sad. That she didn’t live as rewardingly as her passion promised may even be sadder.”

    It was good to see you the other night. I will be there next week for the John O’Brien thing. Perhaps I will see you there.

  2. Sau gut! Endlich mal jemand der meiner Meinung ist.

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