Interview with Chick Reeder

Chick's response to a query for something for cuke:


I was born.

Chick is listed as attending a meeting of the ZC biz committee that took place on 64-11-07

Chick was gone from the ZC by the time I came but I heard about him. He is said to be an excellent golfer. He comes from Laurel, Mississippi, where, after years of seeking and service, he has settled down. He's always been close to Silas Hoadley. I stayed with Chick and his wife Susan with Elin I think in early 1988 on our way to Atlanta. He'd not only sat at the early SFZC, he'd sat with Hsuan Hua, the Chinese master who founded the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah. Chick sat with him long before that when Hsuan Hua had an apartment building not far from Sokoji. He was called Dao Lun back then as I recall. A number of people at the ZC sat with him. Tim Buckley rented a room from him and I recall Tim telling me how strict he was about the rent being paid on time.

Years later Chick was back in Laurel and one day he got a call from the train station saying that there was a Chinese monk who didn't speak English and had a piece of paper with Chick's name on it. It was Hsuan Hua. Chick said he went and picked him up, fed him, they sat zazen all night in the back yard, and Chick took him back to meet his train the next day. That's how I remember it - something like that.

Another memory. Chick had spent time in Tiruvanammalai in India where the Ramana Ashram is. Either there or somewhere else in India he and his wife were approached by a sadu who said to them, "Dedicate your lives to the deaf and blind." As I recall from long ago, they went to Boston to study at a school that specialized in teaching people to work with the deaf and blind and did so for years. Something like that.

Elin and I had dinner with Chick and Susan in Sante Fe when we lived there in 1992-3. The subject of the civil rights movement came up and I mentioned that I'd been there in the spring of 1964 and knew Micky Schwerner and James Cheney who were murdered that summer along with Andrew Goodman . Chick said that Cheney was from Laurel and he knew the family, that his father Ben was a contractor who had done work for him. That led to the Reeder's maid getting hold of Ben Cheney. My son Kelly and I visited with Ben Chaney and his wife Fannie Lee and a group of black leaders in July of 1993 while on our way to Atlanta. It was a most touching meeting and I was grateful to Chick and Susan for making it possible. Here's a piece I wrote with that story a few years back, the conclusion to a twelve part series called Freedom Songs.

- dc (first posted 11-18-13, expanded 1--29-17)