Friday, January 27, 2012

Farewell to the Chief

The guy on the left, "Chief" died last Thursday morning. That's my dad on the right. I knew Chief before he was called that. I don't want to use his real name here. We first got to know each other in 9th grade.
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In 9th grade my junior high school started an experimental science program with Duke University called Q.P.S. That stands for Quantative Physical Science. The room had the two-seater desks in three rows. I ended up front and center with Chief as my partner. It was a strange class. I've often wondered if there were not more to it than trying to teach us science. First of all, the teacher never smiled and owned 5 outfits. Yes, 5 outfits: one for each day of the week. Second, Chief and I were very smart and the whole rest of the class were dumber than rocks.
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Chief's and my test grades were typically 98 to 106 while the rest of the class averaged about 62. It was very strange. Chief and I made a great team because he did the math stuff and I did the word stuff. We moved onto high school after that, so I don't know if they kept up the Q.P.S. experiment or not, but I'm sure our classroom confused whoever was keeping the data.
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In the middle of 10th grade I collected a high school boyfriend. He had a best friend and the three of us hung out and I guess word got out that our apartment was a cool place to hang out. (Dad smoked pot and we always had booze. Also there was a basketball court just steps away from my front door.) So by the time we all graduated, there was a pretty solid twelve of us. They were all guys except me.
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I'm not sure when Chief joined the group, but I think it was pretty early on. There was a running argument about how Chief got his nickname. My high school boyfriend claimed that Chief walked in the door one day and he said, "CHEEEEEEEEEE." And I think he meant it as an insult as in "Cheap." But with everybody being stoned or whatever, people heard "Chief" and then called him that all night. And then pretty much the rest of his life.
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Back when we were 18 or 19 we were joking around about who would be the first one to die and everyone simultaneously yelled, "Chieeeeeeef!" Of course at the time we all imagined it would be just a few years away in a car wrapped around a tree. Well, he was the first one to die, but he lived to be 50 and quite frankly we were not really as surprised by his death so much as that he lived this long.
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I've mentioned Chief before on a post way back in 2005, before I really even had any readers. It's my jail story. I have another goofy story with Chief about a stupid road trip, and then another Chief story about another road trip and a few more but they are stories more suitable for bars. He really was a character. I last saw him when Dad died. I imagine they are having a beer and some laughs together in the great beyond. If I could say something to him I would say, "May your spirit soar and be peaceful and for God's sake, stop saying 'Like I said' before every sentence!!"

7 comments:

VioletSky said...

Condolences. But you do have many memories.
You have had quite a life!

No worries about the nola cemetery oics. You can get more when you go back another time!!

lgsquirrel said...

Sorry for your loss. Such friends are really part of who you are.

haphazardlife said...

Sorry for your loss Geewits. 50 is way too young.

mrwriteon said...

So sorry for the loss of your friend. That's tough, I know. I've been there as I just wrote about.

geewits said...

V,
~~Well I can take the pics out of the frame when my arm gets better.

LGS,
~~So true.

Jazz,
~~For Chief, 50 seemed like a very long time. But yeah.

Ian,
~~Yes. There's something so final about knowing you will never speak to someone again.

Carole said...

I notice what beautiful eyes Chief had in this photo. Were they beautiful in person?

geewits said...

Carole,
~~He did have arresting eyes.