by James C. Stephens

Thursday, April 22, 1977

Days are getting warmer, but the nights are still cool enough to sleep well. A lot has transpired in the past week and a half. Friday last I and about 10 other guys took out our friend Bob Rafkin and got him drunk as a skunk, since he was getting married the next day. We went to McGinty’s, the Fox Inn. Had a great time, that is until the morning. I can’t remember having such a big hangover. Boy was I in pain. Luckily I made it to the wedding in time, although I ended up doing Gongyo in the back of a Mustang sitting next to a trash bin for the champagne.

That wedding was very groovy. As a matter of fact I had a most interesting thing happen, but maybe it was nothing. I was supposed to get a ride back with the guy I rode with-Sal Rivas, but it ended up I rode back with Suzanne Harris. Now before I left, I thanked the priest for the use of the temple. He said thank you for cleaning it so well afterwards.

He then said, “Are you married?”

“No,” I replied.

“When you get married you’ll have to use the temple.”

I said, “Of course.”

He then looked at me most seriously and said, “I think you will be getting married very soon.”  That freaked me for sure.

I rode back with Suzanne and Catherine a friend of the family. We had an interesting talk. She asked me lots of questions, age, length of practice, etc. I asked her many as well.

At times I think I make too much of such things, you know, read things into situations, make assumptions that have no base. Well I asked her out for dinner, but she had a guidance appointment with Mr. Kikimura. She explained to me that she was presently going through some heavy human revolution. The long and short of it is I became attracted to her.

Tuesday, I called her about 11:00 for a date, but all she said was when I asked her if she could talk or was she busy was- “Is it important, related to a meeting schedule?”

“No,” I said. “Okay, I’ll call some other time.”

Tonight I saw her at our general chapter meeting, but got the impression she was avoiding me like the plague. I asked her Shibucho, Don Mentzer, who is a favorite person of min, if he knew of any reason, or boyfriend, or situation why it would not be okay for me to ask her out. He said, “Well, she’s a tiger, Jim. She’s been through some men. But she changes, does human revolution. I don’t see why not.”

I didn’t get the best vibes from him, like maybe she wasn’t my type. So I couldn’t make connections with her. I’ve been so damned nervous about it, it hardly seems worth it. If she says no, well, if she says yes…

Daddy Long Legs Book CoverA bright note aside from my normal sancho goma problems which are pretty natural, is Mr. Bell talked to Rejicho about our literary group and thanked him for encouraging me and mentioned my name to him. He said he is very happy about the group and that members are trying to do these things. He then said he would like to suggest a book and pulled it from his shelf. It was in Japanese called Daddy Long Legs. He then explained. “It’s one of President Ikeda’s favorite books. You can read it in a night, it is short.” Believe me I am very encouraged!

Talked to Mr. Inabe at Malibu tonight. It seems his mother is extremely ill and he is going to Japan for two weeks. He doesn’t expect her to live. She is however in her nineties.

Mr. Inabe asked me if I could call all the Tobans from Santa Monica and North Hollywood and make sure they make it to Malibu. I said I’d be glad to.

I deeply like and respect this man, Mr. Inabe. He has pulled me through many heavy times.

April 29, 1977

Was so nervous and tired about asking Suzanne out. Called her. She has a boyfriend. Much relieved.


Bob passed away after a losing a bout with cancer in 2013. He was a great roommate. A genuinely nice guy and like an elder brother. I wished we would have kept in contact over the years. He is survived by his daughter Shelby Layne Rafkin. He was a very skilled guitarist who practiced 8 hours a day. “His career began rubbing shoulders with Bob Dylan and the folk scene of the ’60s in Greenwich Village. He was an in-demand session player in Los Angeles for years working with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Gene Vincent, the Everly Brothers and the Lovin’ Spoonful.”

I remember Bob performing “I’d Rather Be An Outlaw.” It’s quite interesting in that my great grandfather John Wesley Stephens survived an attack from the railroad skinners who raided his ranch and stole his cattle to feed the laborers building the transcontinental railroad. Great Grandpa Stephens took 44 stitches after he was left for dead by the skinners and survived. He walked with a cane until his death.  He used to read the Book of Revelation to his family each Sunday evening at their home in Texas.

I also liked his song “Lazy Waters” which he composed for the Byrds, but I actually like his performance much better.


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