Another Wayne Chiodi story

Wayne Chiodi was one of those people who happened to be larger than life itself. An existentialist thought is that one is nothing more than a sum of all actions while on earth. I wonder if anyone has totaled up Wayne’s because he certainly had a profound effect on so many. The fact alone that I could be one of two people in a pool in Deerfield, Illinois and end up having a commonality with the person because of having known Wayne is one thing but then I think of the brilliance of a man whose mind needed to be culled of as much as possible before leaving us because he was the only one who understood certain things and that his loss would actually create a void (in his work life). Most of us are disgustingly easily replaced.

We, as a family, had visited Wayne’s abode in Northbrook, an unassuming North Shore home filled with the usual things. Wayne and Carol were there, however, and that changed it all. Despite Wayne’s brilliance, he was a very down to earth person, a quiet man, unassuming and humble. When I think of the people who don’t deserve half of the accolades they acquire and yet literally demand them and think of Wayne with huge accomplishments and no desire and need for anything beyond what he did. And he had that uncanny ability to put everyone at total ease in a conversation.

Wayne had a most interesting collection of model cars, the kind that you use a transmitter to control, and he never ceased to amaze us all, especially my sons who were enamored of such vehicles. Wayne would pretty much get down on the floor and play, play must have been a great way for his mind to unwind.

I think of Wayne now and frankly I cannot believe he is gone. His passing was so, so wrong.

I think the most telling point of how wrong it was is that his beloved car, his very cool Mustang decided, yes decided, that it was not going to continue to exist without him. As I recall, and my memory is rusty here, the car was taken out after Wayne’s death. I cannot remember if it already been sold to someone or if it was just a simple jaunt but even before leaving the sub-division where Wayne and Carol lived, it went up in flames, yes, real flames, I don’t recall the whole story, and it was totally destroyed. It left a melted section of pavement where it spent its last moments. Now if that isn’t some interesting symbolism, I don’t know what is!

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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