By Henry Lima ·
Christopher J. Nadeau
I met Chris Nadeau when I was 6 years old at St. Catherine’s, along with Aaron Chase, Shawn Quinlan & Bryan French, and we quickly became friends, we had our communions together, we hung at recess, played in the same parks, went to the same birthday parties etc. we were tight at a young age and would go on to be lifelong friends.
To say Chris was a good kid would be an understatement, he was sincere and kind hearted, very respectful to his elders, a gentleman to the girls and was one of the most solid friends a guy could have. He would give the shirt off his back for ya…he would quickly run home and put a freshly ironed shirt back on of course, cuz he was always stylin lol
When I was about 10 yrs. old, Chris began attending Kennedy School and I moved to Rhode Island, but would spend my summers and weekends in Somerville. We always stayed in touch, Chris always made me feel like I was still a part of the neighborhood which meant a lot to me at that age. He would meet Rob Whelan and I behind St. Catherine’s gym for stick ball games. On Saturdays when I got to my grandmother’s house, an uncle would tell me Chris came by or called and said he’ll be at the park. Solid.
Summer days started with Chris making the calls to meet at the park for ball “ok buddy, I’ll meet ya up there” was always my response. Frenchie would walk up Lowell, gathered me and Whelan, Russell Reich would meet us at the corner of Summer. Andrew Quirk, Shawn, Aaron and Mike Sandefer would walk up Summer St. and Chris came up Craigie St. We always seem to meet at Kelley Park at the same time, Chris bouncing the ball the whole way to the court. We played non-stop till lunch. Often Chris would return with his favorite snack, Oreo cookie on the corners of his mouth, we’d tell him, He’d vigorously wipe the corners of his mouth and even though he had gotten rid of the Oreo, we’d tell him it was still there, it drove him crazy lol
There were also those trips to the Galleria or Faneuil hall for shopping, Chris would always get the newest Air Jordan gear and the sneakers to match. Then the festivities would begin, following groups of girls and getting their “digits.” Lol Even with the braces Chris had for it seems like 50 yrs. Chris could chatt’em up with the best of them. Tall, dark and handsome, Chris did well for himself and was quite the gentleman.
It was a great crew, we were the next generation of K.P.U. and we had pride in that. We were a good group of kids, from good families, who helped each other and had each other’s back always and Chris was the heart of it all.
He was funny, charismatic, and he always kept it light. You couldn’t help but gravitate toward him.
We attended Somerville Highschool together, and the lifelong crew would get even bigger…Steven Bozzi, Adam Miele, Matty Quinlan, Dave Oliveira, Patsy Candelino and John Frasier.
Chris and I sat next to each other in Algebra class and were often sent to the building masters office for laughing too much at each other’s jokes, we actually got sent to the office because we got into an argument about who was better in Algebra…he even talked trash about being the best Algebra problem solver! lol
We laughed, we cried, we fought, we shook hands, we loved. That’s what brothers do.
Chris was pretty much great at every sport he played. Watching Chris on SHS Bball team and St. Catherine’s CYO team were exciting times. Chris was easily one of the best basketball players to come out of Somerville, anybody who watched Chris with a basketball was in awe of his game. It was like we had our own little MJ in our park. So, we dubbed him “Baby Jordan.” He was an artist with the ball, a competitive beast with a killer instinct. Quirk and I would often tell Chris we each beat him once and this would infuriate him lol I mean to beat Chris would place you in Kelley Park folklore, he was that good.
I can’t count how many times I played ball with Chris till late at night at Kelley, a neighbor would open a window and we would head down to Craigie for a couple more hours. Chris would say things like “let’s play 21, I’ll give ya a 20-points head start” or “tell ya what, let’s play Horse and I’ll take a H-O-R-S to make it fair” Lol. We’d talk about everything from our teenage fears & insecurities to our hopes & dreams. I wonder if Chris knew that those extra few hours at the park with him helped get me through some of the hardest times of my life. I think he did.
He would often invite me to crash on his room floor. We’d watch movies, listen to Warren G & Nate Dogg and snack on what else? Oreos! Nancy always made sure they were stocked for him.
If anyone wanted to see the beauty between a mother and her son, you wouldn’t have to look anywhere further than Nancy and Christopher Nadeau. She doted on him and he adored her.
Chris had the utmost respect for his father and man…did he look up to his brothers! “Kenny and Shawn did this!” or “Boo-boo and Warren said that” he loved the men in his family.
I spent a lot of my childhood, teenage years and early 20’s with Chris. I can tell you who I watched the 90’s slam dunk contests and Super Bowls with, who I was with when we bought one of his favorites, Snoop Dogg’s first album, I remember all the parties at his place, the good times at Renee’s house, dances, walks to Christies, the time he kicked a dead squirrel at Quirk while wearing brand new Jordan’s and just laughing out loud. I have so many memories and can go on forever about my friend Chris Nadeau.
I’m going to cherish them all, especially the last few years, jogging through Davis Sq. and running into you, the bond was still the same between us. Grabbing brunch or a coffee, sitting on a square bench talking about growing up, basketball, and arguing about who has better hair? I’ll begrudgingly give you that one for now. But listening to you talk about Kobey and Jaxson was special, you were so proud. I could listen to you talk about them all day. How big they are, how they’re doing in school, their latest sporting feat. You should see Kobey do this and Jaxson do that! “They’re so much better than me at sports” You would say, and if Competitive Chris Nadeau admitted to that, then it was true. There was that Chris childlike innocence, that wonderment I always admired about you, when you spoke of your children. It was good see again.
This past week I have wrestled with so many different emotions, as I’m sure many of us have. Sadness, hurt, regret, anger, but have all been washed away with tears now…
A feeling of peace has come over me, knowing that you are now with your beloved mother. A feeling of gratefulness, grateful that you were my friend, a true friend in every sense of the word. You made me laugh, you had my back when I needed it, you were good to me and for that I will always remember you.
Truth be told Chris, I’m a better man and a better friend to have known you and there isn’t a man in our crew that wouldn’t say the same.
You’d be happy to hear that it was beautiful out the last few days. Chris, call the boys and get’em up the park kinda weather. That all your family, all your boys, neighborhood and Somerville friends throughout your journey came out to celebrate your life after your services. We laughed, we cried, we kissed and embraced. Everyone had a Chris story that touched their lives. We got to spend time with your children and family and they got time to spend with your friends. No one wanted to leave each other. What started off as a sad day turned into a beautiful one and it was all in honor of you my friend, but I don’t need to tell ya, I know you were there with us.
Last night, I sat in Kelley Park by myself. I could see you running up and down the court, playing stick ball, I could hear you laugh and I could hear your voice.
Although I know I was supposed to say it yesterday, I couldn’t bring myself to do so. So, what I will say is this…
When the time comes, and you call, I’ll answer and simply say “ok buddy, I’ll meet ya up there.”
My heart, thoughts & prayers will always be with Kobey, Jaxson, Renee, and the whole Nadeau family. God bless you.
Rest in Peace Chris, I love you, you are my friend, my brother and you always will be.