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I told you we were nicknaming fools. One of the friends I made when I first went to ORD was Seaweed. He was a controller in the TRACON and also lived in the same neighborhood where we’d recently purchased a home. We occasionally even shared a ride, although not very often, as we were on different crews, and we even socialized a little with him and his wife, Sandi.
You don’t care about the bonafides of me knowing him, though, you just want to cut to the chase and find out how he became Seaweed. It’s probably not as great a story as it is a name, but here it is: he came to work one day wearing a sweater against the chill and it was apparently a pretty ratty, green sweater and someone opined that it looked like he’d thrown a piece of seaweed over his shoulders. That’s it. It didn’t take much to amuse us.
I’m not sure of the time frame, nor, 40 years later, am I even sure of the facilities, but sometime in the middle ’70s, Seaweed bid on an Assistant Chief job at SPI and was selected. Although a downgrade in terms of money (he went from a GS-13 down to a GS-12, I think), it was a second level management spot, which was quite a jump and got him in the management track, even at a lower level tower. I heard he got selected a couple of years later for an Assistant Chief’s job at MCI, but that’s the one I’m not sure about.
I do recall that he and Sandi were both from the BNA area and that his ultimate dream was to get back there. It’s very possible he was able to bid there from MCI, a probability that is dimly in my memory as having happened, but I can’t swear to it.
Sandi enjoyed ceramics and I remember helping Seaweed run a 240V line for her new kiln. She even made us a beautiful, crackled finish pitcher and wash basin set which we still have displayed prominently. We heard years later that she suffered some health problems, but sadly, never heard more about it nor them, and I’ve not seen nor talked with him to this day.
I hope he sees this and writes—Seaweed! Look below—there’s an email link on every page.
Update!: He did and he has. The sad part of the story is he lost dear Sandi several years ago. But the story gets better, because it turns out he’s wintering about 100 miles from here. We arranged to meet in SGJ for lunch and we got to meet his new wife. I told him in a follow up email, “I hate to use that cliched metaphor of ‘old glove’ or ‘worn slipper’ but it sure felt like the last time we had seen each other was just a couple of days earlier and not 37 years, didn't it?” I can’t wait to do it again.
Last updated: 22 March 2012