From: Fred Feinberg, Mon, 11 Sep 2006 13:19:37
I just came across your Andy's Chili page, and my heart skipped a beat. Istarted MIT in 1979, and ate at Andy's quite often. But the next part is abit freaky. When I came back for grad school in 1984 (I'd been gone a year),a friend had a room open in this huge ramshackle house in Medford, and Idecided to avoid Ashdown and take my chances off campus. My room was... nextto Andy's. Yes: we were housemates for 4 years. For most of that time, hisreally cool girlfriend Charlene, who was a symphony bassoonist, also livedthere, along with a changing cast of pretty eclectic individuals (over 20 inthose 4 years).
He was a GREAT guy. He had health problems, exacerbated by the cold, all thattime (I left for a faculty job in 1988), and by the time I'd gone he wasalready considering selling the business. He was unfailingly friendly,helpful, polite, and over the years I'd met tons of his friends, as well ashis father and a daughter who'd already grown up.
People never realized just how hard Andy worked. He got up every day around4AM to go and cut onions, grate cheese, and start cooking chili. He madeeverything from scratch, even though it was killing him physically. Then, he'dstand in freezing or 100% humidity weather for 8+ hours, after which he'd takehis stuff back and clean everything out for the next day. 60+ hour weeks,usually.
Anyway, it's terrific that you've memorialized him this way. SO many peoplehave fond memories of him. I'm glad I got to know him as a friend as well asthat crazy-cool guy who fed and entertained a generation of, as he put it,"some of the smartest people in the world".
University of Michigan
PS: Lots of people thought Andy must not be educated or swift, but he wasboth. His sign said "Dr. Andy, P.H.D.", and often people would try topolitely tell him that it should be "Ph.D." And he would just as politelyanswer that his abbreviation was correct, since it stood for "Purveyor of HotDogs"!
From: Mark Zegarelli, Thu, 7 Sep 2017 13:53:47
I worked for Andy back in 1985, and I remember him very fondly. He wasa great boss and a good friend, and I'd love to touch base with himagain.When I worked for him in his usual spot at MIT, under Building 39,Andy had recently upgraded from his smaller chili truck to his largerone. This afforded him lots of extra grill space, so he had addedItalian sausage and kielbasa to his menu, and I remember that theywere almost as popular as his chili dogs and his infamous Frito pies.We'd work from nine to five, and every day from 10:30 until 2:30, theline was literally non-stop, usually dozens of customers deep. And yeteverybody was relaxed and friendly, glad to wait, even in the cold,though happiest of all when they'd reached the front and could finallyplace their orders. We loved all of our customers, and knew many ofthem by name, and they of course knew us.During the four-hour lunch rush, we always worked as a team, and itwas like we were one man with four arms, in constant motion that mayhave looked chaotic but was actually ever on point. It might havelooked stressful, but it was really quite peaceful, because there wasno place to be but in the present moment, and everybody in the mix wasquite content to be exactly where they were.At times, I would step back from the action mentally, almost leavingmy body, and watch my own hands moving at lightning speed throughmoves that had grown effortless through daily repetitionBut here's the main point: This confluence of happy people anddelicious non-diet food that so many people still recall gratefullyafter 30 years could only have existed because the guy at the helm wasactively being who he was. I have no idea whether Andy was or is areligious man, nor does the role that he played necessarily need to becast in terms of God or some other conscious higher power. But it'sclear to me that, intentionally or otherwise, Andy was channeling alife force, or simply opening to love in its most basic and practicalexpression, in a way that rippled outward in every direction and stillcontinues to do soNor is this phenomenon new or rare, though it may rarely be fullyappreciated. In "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens sheds a littlelight on it when Scrooge is provided the opportunity to revisit hisfirst apprenticeship and observe his former boss, Mr. Fezziwig. Whenthe Ghost of Christmas Past appears to dismiss the praise that the oldman's contemporaries heap upon him, Scrooge explains that Fezziwig"has the power to make us happy or unhappy, to make our work apleasure or a burden," and begins for the first time to regret hisnow-iconic mistreatment of his own employee, Bob Cratchit.With so many books on business management and leadership availabletoday, I hope that this humble, awesome power is starting to berevered for what it isI didn't sit down to write an essay, but there you are. So I hope Iget the chance in the near future to thank Andy personally, not onlyfor the good memories, but also for helping to point a rather confusedyoung man in something resembling the right direction.Thanks again,Mark Zegarelli
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