My friend Alan Nadon died today. I hadn’t seen him since the 70s, from the Partly Dave Coffeehouse days, but we’d corresponded off and on. Mostly off, I’m sorry to say.
Scattered memories, probably inaccurate:
He came to Elkhart, Indiana from Chicago and always seemed to be wired tighter than the rest of us. There was a toughness about him, in his speech and taunting humor and his kinky hair and rough complexion, that belied the sweetness that was obviousness to anyone who knew him.
He was political, as we all were, but in a more pragmatic way. His mother worked for Representative Brademas, I think. When it looked like a Democrat could be elected Mayor and a half-dozen candidates ran for the nomination, Alan invited them all to his house to be interviewed. The idea was that it was a meeting of the Young Democrats of Elkhart, but that pretty meant Alan and any of us who wanted to show up. The candidates came.
He painted. I bought one of his paintings. I remember it being surreal and apocalyptic. I don’t know what happened to it. I have the impression that he did a comic strip for my underground paper under the name Tokal Harum.
Alan was a mensch. His love for Reenie was so apparent, back then and even more later, when she died. And his work as an electrical inspector he clearly took very seriously and obviously took real pride in. Real work with real human value. He belonged to professional organizations and worked to improve the profession itself. When he retired, I read that he was given a big sendoff. I know it had to have been emotional for those who had worked with him.
I sought his approval. I remember being ridiculously pleased when a bunch of us were eating at that place, what was it called, and he told me I had a lot of guts and I asked why and he said to be eating a chili cheese dog with a beard.
I can still hear him saying my name with indulgent humor, and I’m grateful for the memory.