FEBRUARY 10, 2019

HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE

This is one of the more difficult issues to write. Life is a vale of tears, full of suffering with only the the scant consolation that it does not go on forever. There is a guaranteed end to all of this, and that is all the guarantee we get. Not even Reincarnation is a guaranteed delivery.

When the body fails while the soul and mind are still in drive, we call that Tragedy, as in the case of Stephen Hawking during his lifetime. When the body fails entirely, halting the mind and allowing the soul to leave the body, we call that Finality, which is Death. After that, there is no going forward; we have only memories.

As of a few hours ago, Chad Chadwick, our in-house web developer and friend of many decades passed away due to a massive heart attack.

The legacy left by his work on Island-Life shall remain preserved for years to come; his personal touch remains on every page and is stamped in many lines of code and we are going to make sure his legacy remains preserved for years to come on the Internet.

We first worked together in a dark place underneath the freeway overpasses in San Francisco in the late 1980's. On the steps of that hardware supplier to contractors Chad attempted to teach us how to play the banjo.

Chad had always been a sharp and astute observer of events from the 1960's onward. He played music in livingroom sessions with founders of the Jefferson Airplane and soon became disillusioned with the music industry's lack of soul. He often had sharp words for Paul Kantner, with whom we attempted briefly a late rapprochement that collapsed due to the distances created between Fame and Normality. Chad felt that Kantner had unfairly stolen his girlfriend at the time.

A multi-instrumentalist, Chad could play banjo, guitar, harmonica and sing quite capably before his lung disease. While I would tune a guitar with a modern electronic tuner, he would call out the pitch on the dot with each adjustment. "Too sharp! Okay . . . a hair flat. . . Bingo! Aye natural!"

Chad was no stranger to this disjunct between Fame and the ocean of average-ness. His grandfather, Charles Nordhoff, wrote the book called Mutiny on the Bounty, that became made into a rather famous movie.

Nordhoff had three daughters and two sons with a half-Danish Titian wife named Christianne Tua Tearae Schmidt, sometimes referred to by the Titian word for "woman", Vahine. After the 2nd son died shortly after childbirth, Nordhoff divorced Vahine and either married or took as a mistress with whom he had three sons.

Marguerite moved eventually to the US, married John Chadwick, and had six children, with one child dying before birth.

Chad lived through the damaged generation that was the 60's and emerged with an acerbic, biting view of life, politics, culture, and American Life that was vividly presented with his savage commentary on the way things are -- the horrific and inevitable consequences of horrific, inhumane policies expressed domestically and abroad the consequences of which we see clearly played out in the present day, including a range of obscenities ranging from what happened to Victor Jara to Trump's porno bimbos.

We met in the late 1980's when both of us worked as slavey's for a contractor hardware-supply company called MacMurray Pacific underneath the freeway overpass at 7th street in San Francisco. There across the street from the 7th Street City Jail where the hookers kept in cells overnight were let out onto the street in the early morning, dressed in red negligee's and high heels, Chad attempted to teach us the banjo.

He had many stories of growing up in Sacramento and moving to San Francisco during the Hippie Era. Although not a Hippie exactly, for he always believed in working for a living, he embodied many of the best ideals of the Sixties Counterculture movements. He quickly realized the world was not going to change save by incremental bits as represented by individuals doing their small bit parts on behalf of peace, kindness and sanity. Other than tobacco and booze, he refrained from hard drugs after seeing what that stuff could do to people. Demonstrations were fine things, but the real work was done by each person acting morally responsible with and to other people around them. Not surprisingly Kurt Vonnegut was a favorite author.

For several years we lost touch until in the late 1990's we arranged for a visit at his lodgings and were shocked to see this once hale and hearty man hooked up to oxygen tanks.

After his diagnosis of COPD and attendant emphysema, Chad retreated from the world, attached to it by the narrow lifeline of the Internet, while still attempting to get out with the help of friends to public arenas.

Chad fought with the heart of a warrior of peace against the effects of his disease. He told us he had dreams of running, running uphill for miles and miles.

He suffered much as his COPD progressed, until he could not leave the house without an oxygen tank. Inside the house, he had to remain hooked to a machine that delivered air to his lungs 24 hours a day. Nevertheless, he remained feisty and pugnacious, challenging ignorant Internet trolls on message boards, posting acid comments on Facebook, and remaining continuously on tap with local as well as national news by way of all the outlets the Internet can provide.

Although he could be severe on self-maintained ignorance and outright boorishness, Chad also preserved the 60's ethic of love for all those who do not bully others. He was possessed of a kind heart that put him in the Aristocracy of the Heart, a level way above most of us who have to play catch-up with someone so magnanimous, so emotionally generous. He found beauty in the most obscure of places in people who had a hard time finding the beauty in themselves.

Ten years ago, with his sisters still alive, Chad married Tammy after a tumultuous courtship. She moved in with him and stayed with him through a couple house moves that ended on Park Avenue in the collection of buildings Tammy called Bungalow Court. With Tammy Chad experienced pretty much as much happiness as he could have under the circumstances of his failing health and it was Tammy who repeatedly brought Chad to the emergency room during his episodes.

Well he is out of it now. We lost a great heart and a great soul filled with wisdom. His suffering is now over and now the pain is left to the survivors. Sisters Shannon and Tina both passed away last year, leaving Shelly of who we can find not a trace. As far as we know , Chad is the last of the direct line engendered by the author of the Mutiny on the Bounty save for grandchildren.

Chad is survived by his loving wife, Tammy Chadwick, who lived in Alameda but as of Spring, moved to New Mexico.

As said in the beginning, Life is a vale of tears, full of sorrow and suffering. There is no escape from suffering, not even for Donald Trump; it may be that your time has not yet arrived, or you are particularly obtuse and unobservant -- these things do happen and probably so for Der Donald. Generally those people who have no feelings at all are called Sociopaths.

Again, there is some comfort, a scant comfort at that, there is an end to all of this. The suffering does not go on forever. And now Chad no longer suffers. He is gone and we remain with fond memories of having known him and the legacy left by his work on the Island-life web code shall persist for years.

 

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