The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Garage Memories

Atop the UMass garage.

Critics have said that the buildings erected at UMass during the 1960's look like Soviet Union era architecture - nightmares of poured concrete. No doubt one of the buildings they were thinking of was the campus garage.

To brighten up the garage, banners have been hung promoting student clubs. This one for the Pre-Med Society features Sam the Minuteman in scrub gear.

Let's go inside and climb to the roof!

Gee I must be getting old, as it was more of a climb than I thought. Or maybe it's the thousands of joints and all that crack I've smoked over the years. Anyway, I was glad when I finally reached the last stair!

At last I gazed upon the sundrenched top level of the garage!

From one direction you can see the Student Union.

From another you can see the bookstore and the mountains beyond.

When my friend Bodie Chesbro and I used to work as apprentice meat cutters at the Big Y in ol' Pine Point, sometimes after work we'd jump in his car or on the back of his Kawasaki and go roaring down the highway to UMass. We'd arrive at the parking garage, go to the top and hang out there, smoking joints and guzzling beer. The music from the car radio would be blaring, and we would party like madmen beneath the stars and the towering library. Sometimes we would stay until the sun came up.

What fun it was, and never once were we bothered by the campus police.

I miss you Bodie.

David "Bodie" Chesbro
1954 - 2005

I'm nearly speechless with dismay over the news in this morning's paper of the death of Dave Chesbro, whom everyone knew as "Bodie," a notorious figure in the 16 Acres/Pine Point section of Springfield and one of my fellow meatcutters at the Pine Point Big Y back in the day. We worked with mostly older Polish guys and as the kids in the outfit we bonded.

In those days Bodie looked and acted like a motorcycle outlaw, and I'll always remember as we arrived at work at dawn to begin preparing the day's meats how he used to come roaring across the empty parking lot on his beloved Kawasaki, doing wheelies and other dangerous tricks for us that in retrospect make me wonder how he lived as long as he did, actually reaching the age of 50, a birthday not seen by many of the boys of Pine Point from that generation.

Sometimes, despite the angry protests of the store manager, Bodie would pull some of his motorcycle stunts coming back from lunch when the store was open and there were customers in the parking lot. I don't know what disturbed the customers more, seeing this character with a wild blond afro squealing and hurtling across the parking lot while letting out a blood-curdling banshee scream; or when they realized a few minutes later while shopping for their meat that the very same maniac from the parking lot was behind the meat counter waving a eight-inch razor sharp blade that could cut through your jugular like butter! He was smooth with a knife and could probably have become as good a meatcutter as the old Poles had he not decided he liked the looser schedule of the construction trade.

I know he wouldn't mind if I reveal what all his closest friends knew, which was that his tough-guy persona was largely an act, although a convincing one. Walking down the street with him I was often amused to see old ladies actually cringe as we went past them. But there were nights after work, and these are the times with him that I remember best, when I would jump on the back of the bike with some beer and buds and head out to some field in the country, places in Monson or Hampden or other cowtowns that only he knew and which I could never relocate in the daylight. He knew how to ride only two ways, reckless and insane, but I never felt afraid to ride with him. He had an uncanny ability to judge inter-spatial relationships and the geometrics of other moving objects. As they say in the motocross world, "He knew time."

Once we reached our destination at the end of those nighttime rides, and if he got high enough to open up, he was really sensitive and smart in a way that I don't think most people realized. He had the sharpest mind for doing mathematics in his head of anyone I've known, and he once shocked everyone by briefly attending STCC to study accounting. Everyone laughed at the very notion of such a thing, but I believe that had his life path been different he could indeed have been a fine accountant.

In some ways I think he saw the world too clearly, and that was part of what made him so wild. I mostly lost track of him after he left the meatcutting world, although occasionally word would reach me of him through mutual friends, and it was not always happy news. He was a great fun-hog, and everybody loved him for the energy and the excitement he could stir up, but he wasn't always a good judge of when the fun crossed the line into self-destruction.

The energy level of the world dropped a few ampage points when he died in a motorcycle crash on Wednesday night. I know I speak for everyone who knew Bodie Chesbro when I say that he was one of life's wonderfully unique and unrepeatable experiences. Rest easy, brave spirit.

For you straight guys, here's a picture someone sent me of a woman with two big boobs.

Around UMass, Democrats have been trying to scare students into registering to vote with this poster plastered all over campus.

Northampton favorites School for the Dead perform an autobiographical song on the lawn of the Forbes Library last week.

No comments: