Its so weird how we all met not by planning but by chance…I first met Meghan after a women’s meeting, we hung out in the parking and talked until we figured our husbands and kids were going to worry about us. I remember going home and telling my husband “I met this great woman tonight, she’s got a great program, I really loved talking to her and she’s married and they have two kids, one younger than ours and one older.” That was the beginning…
Meg, Chloe and Cole~
I still don't want to believe it... I can only imagine how you feel.
You are all in my prayers, everyday...
Charlie was an amazing father, an incredible husband to Meg, and an
unforgettable friend. He will always be remembered.
I remember the first time I met Charlie & Meg, I was about 12-13. I
was coming to be a "mother's helper" Chloe was about 1 1/2. She looked
just like Charlie! Same glowing smile. Charlie came home that
afternoon from a hard day of work, he gave everyone a big, warm hug. I
could see how in love he was with Meghan, and Chloe was his gem. As
time went on, I felt so welcome in their hearts and home. I consider
them part of my big, extended family. Then a few years later, Cole was
on the way! I remember his excitement when he would get home from
work, so happy to be with his family. I had so much fun, with all of
you! I always enjoyed it when you would invite me to stay for dinner,
and cook something scrumptious from TJ's.
One time when I was making the kiddos lunch,I was going through the
refridge when I saw some biscuits...in a can! This was so out of
place, in their Organic kitchen, I had to ask. Meg responded "Oh,
those are Charlies White Trash biscuits." I was so shocked, seeing
those next to all the hearty foods : ) He could eat anything, and not
gain a pound! He and I had one particular thing in common, a sweet
tooth! He loved his ice cream.
I loved how Charlie and Meghan raised their children...Together, and
their effort to preserve the innocence. Chloe would call a
hippopotamus "hippo-mus-pauto-mus" There was another favorite, but I
can't remember now.??? They didn't try to correct her, because it was
so dang cute!!! She called it that for so long, because they would
mimic her. When I asked one time if she still called it that, they
told me in such a sad tone, that she had learned the correct way. I
hope that one day, I can be a comparable parent to my children.
Charlie always had a great sense of fashion...he would get these great
clothes, or shoes for Meg or the the kids. There was always something
I'd love, and Meghan would tell me, "Charlie got that, isn't that
great?!" I've never met a man who knew exactly what to get for a
I see so much of Charlie in Chloe and Cole. He will live on, forever,
within them. His love for them is never-ending. We can all only be
thankful for the time we had with him, and the things he taught each
and everyone of us...
He is all around us, in the sun that warms us, in the air we breath,
and in the rain that nourishes all that it touches. I will never
forget his positive outlook on life, and the way he loved his family
with everything he had. Angels be with you my friend...You will
forever be in our hearts...
(Elisha Schmidt )
I remember Charlie crying at his own wedding... a lot. It takes a real man to do that.
remember watching my friend at incredible velocity, skiing down a very steep
slope at Incline, absolutely free, perfectly happy.
remember Charlie coming to my house in Belmont
with his tools and creativity and skill, rebuilding an ancient landing on our
rickety stairs... all he wanted in return was to go to a Giants game.
remember Charlie's fierce political opinions.
remember Charlie as one of that group of
amazing people who came together to save each others' lives 20 years
ago... we carried each other through and my friend was a huge part of that
time... always there... constant... never too serious.
remember riding in Charlie's truck, ALWAYS hearing some music I'd never heard
remember when Charlie met Meghan, and how he just knew she was the one he'd
always been looking for, and how happy he was knowing that.
remember my friend's love for his children and how much that changed him, how
much he mellowed, how that huge heart of his really started showing.
Charlie's voice on the phone during my relapse after 17 years clean. He was
crying, and his words were a very important part of me coming back. Thank you
my friend, I love you so much for that.
remember Charlie's laughter, his quick smile, his wit.
My one word for Charlie Diggins: playful. (Stacy Ringelspaugh)
One afternoon, Charlie and and I decided to play a late evening of golf at the Sea Ranch Links We started late and were hurrying to finish as many holes as we could before it became too dark. Hurrying didn't help our scores so we became more interested in trying to find more golf balls than we lost so our scores were at best average to poor. We arrived at the par 3, twelfth or thirteenth tee (I don't remember) without a lot of daylight left. I hit first and was very pleased with myself because the ball went straight for the hole and ended up only a few yards short of the green. Charlie then hit his on almost the same line but further and we lost sight of it when it went over a bump in the fairway. We both believed it was a very good hit. Charlie was very disappointed when we reached the area around the green because he couldn't see his ball. We looked in the weeds, in the bushes, in the trees, in the fairway, in the sand traps, even paced back and forth in the bushes behind the green. I'm sure everyone knows about Charlie's persistence and determination. Those who played golf with him must also know how much he hated to lose a golf ball. After searching for fifteen to twenty minutes, when it was a lot darker, we decided to give up the search. I chipped up to about 10 feet from the hole. Charlie dropped a ball close to the green and chipped up to within two feet. He walked onto the green to pull the pin for me and found his ball. CHARLIE HAD A HOLE IN ONE. He got very excited and danced around the green for a number of minutes. We headed back toward the clubhouse and played a few more holes along the way. When we reached the clubhouse, it was closed. Charlie's only comment was "Darn, I can't even buy the clubhouse a round of drinks". What a terrific guy. (Bernie McGinnis)
Warning: Proceed at your own risk. There will likely be off color humor, adult language, general weirdness, and strangely wondrous stories to follow. Welcome to my relationship with Charlie (AKA – The Great and Holy Chandi)
How do you start with stories about Charlie? Everyday around Charlie was a story unto itself. Sometimes they were good stories and sometimes not so good, but they were always interesting. Charlie was my brother, mentor, and one of those few people you call friend through your entire life. He selflessly sponsored me for about 15 years. I met him in 1984 while I was enjoying an extended vacation at Serenity Adolescent Rehab in Redwood City. He pulled up on his Yamaha Virago (or something like that) and came in to chair an H&I meeting for us. I saw him around for a couple of years and eventually he started sponsoring my sponsor (Todd E.). When Todd moved to WA I was passed to Charlie as a door prize. I had 3 years clean, just got out of jail, and hadn’t yet worked the steps. My nick-name from Todd was Depressed Dan and I carried with me all of the drama you would expect from an emotionally stunted 19 year old. Helluva prize I’d say.
The first thing I thought of when Doug told me Charlie had died was there will never be someone who will accept me for who I am the way Charlie did. I never had to pretend or put up fronts around him. He took me in and just let me rant. There was never judgment or fear of abandonment with him. I was totally comfortable just being an awkward kid around him. He may have gently prodded me in the direction I should go, but he was always coming from a place of Love. He was so totally unpredictable, much like Socrates in “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman (plug for a great book). I would be whining about some Earth shattering problem and he would (choose the most applicable):
A. Spontaneously jump up and start dancing
B. Listen caringly
C. Make faces at me
D. Make up some dumb-ass song that would piss me off until I finally lightened up and started laughing
E. Throw me in his old Chevy truck and go for a ride with the dog (Madelin, Cappy, etc)
F. Make me go work in his yard with him
The correct answer is all of the above. Nothing was ever predictable about Charlie. Every time I tried to build him into a box he would turn it into a ball or a parallelogram. When I stopped trying to figure him out I realized that he was just Charlie and that I should hang on for the ride.
I remember sitting in front of his fireplace in 1988 in Redwood City just feeling like the world was coming to an end. A relationship he told me was not a good idea (practicing Alcoholic + Recovering Alcoholic = Bad News) was coming to an end. I was so serious and depressed. He was married to Lo at the time, and Little John and Pear were over at the house. I was just oozing bummer at astounding rates and all of the sudden the whole house broke into a rendition of “You’re going to lose that girl”. I was shocked. How callous!! Then I started laughing because he had made me see how small the problem was in the big picture. He was a master at letting me know I would be OK, no matter what. The real gift was being able to send some of that back to him when he and Lo split up. Those were very dark years for him in some ways, but as he taught me, there were currents at work under the surface. Those currents led him to Meg and two beautiful little Charlies.
The Redwood City house had many good memories for me. When I had 7 years, my wife Kerry (and no, thank god not the girl from the paragraph above) and Charlie threw a surprise party for me. It was one of my all time favorite memories. All of our friends from the bay area gang were there and it was just a good time. There were many such parties for any reason that could be thought up. We had step workshops with many guys that are still clean and still close friends. Fish fry parties after fishing, slide show parties after vacations, etc. Lots of good memories.
I remember running around Redwood City on 4th of July with boxes of fireworks, lighting them off, and running like hell. But this was a Charlie event!!! We couldn’t just light a bottle rocket and run. Oh no, these were roman candles, mortars, and cakes of the China Town variety that he and I had scored and a few bundles of detonation cord for good measure. He liked to do things big. Even if it was something as benign as putting a couple of candles on a pair of sunglasses and singing Rawhide for someone’s birthday. Just a few years later it was motorcycle helmets covered with bottle rockets, roman candles, and god knows what else. I used to make fun of his addiction of the day. Whether it was golf, surfing, fishing, motorcycles, music, etc., he was balls to the wall until he was done. Then overnight it was on to the next one.
When Charlie and Meg had Chloe and then Cole, I remember the change that came over him. He would constantly tell me that I would never really know what love was until I looked at my kid. I would tell him “ya that’s real nice, whatever, blah blah blah” as I thought “not for me”. He gently whittled away at my defenses without my knowing it. When Kerry started hinting about wanting to have a kid I was receptive because of him. I remembered what he said and I trusted him. He was not wrong. He would ask “have you ever loved something so much it hurts?” I would answer him now YES. Thanks for your influence here Charlie, and I am sure Kerry agrees. The life I have today, the person I am today, and the values I have today were heavily influenced by Charlie and his selfless friendship to me. He was one of the 3 most influential people I looked up to in recovery, and modeled the type of man I was going to be after. Hard to believe “Young Dan” will be Forty next week.
Meghan and I talked yesterday and the “saintly” Charlie came up. That is, how some may perceive him as walking on water (which based on things I’ve seen with him would not surprise me) particularly in hindsight. Charlie was very human. I’ve seen him in road rage, I’ve seen him broken, and I’ve seen him be rude. I mention this because I don’t want to paint a halo above his memory. He was very much human and that is one of the reasons I loved him so much. He embraced that “humanness” and really lived his life. He didn’t hold back. And he accepted that humanness in his friends. He taught me to embrace mine, though I still forget to do that. He was my brother and I miss him.
As a side note, right after I called Meghan on Wednesday, my phone kept ringing over and over again at work. Each time I looked down it was Charlie and Megs home number. I would answer it and the line was silent. Some may say it was a technological glitch, but I like to think Charlie was F-----g with me. You gotta think if he could figure a way to make a crank call from the other side he would do it. He always liked a good joke. As much as I will miss him, He clearly is not gone. He once gave me a book called THE BOOK, by Alan Watts. In it, he told me to read a story of what to tell children about God. The text follows and I think it is very relevant:
“God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, He has no one but himself to play with. But He gets over this difficulty by pretending that He is not Himself. This is His way of hiding from Himself. He pretends that He is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way He has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when He wakes up they will disappear.
Now when God plays hide and pretends that He is you and I, He does it so well that it takes Him a long time to remember where and how He hid Himself. But that’s the whole fun of it-just what He wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find Himself out too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be Himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self-the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.”
Charlie knows the truth now and I will remember that Charlie is with me now as much as he ever was (or more). These stories could go on a long time(and I will add more), but I think you know the Charlie I knew. The stories may differ, but “The Almighty Chandi” lives on in us all. : )
Much love to all,
Dan Draper (AKA – Young Dan)
Yes it’s Kevin and no I didn’t forget to call you back. It’s beyond words how you influenced people you came in contact with, myself in particular. With Dan being my sponsor I was assured that your wisdom would trickle down to me in time. We called you Chandhi because the name Gandhi was already taken. Our journey together started in 1987 when you welcomed me into my first step workshop at your house. Actually it was Dougie that answered the door and I almost peed my pants seeing this huge biker filling the doorframe. I was introduced to you and thought “So this is the guy that runs the show, hell he’s smaller than me”. I learned from you that my perception of what a man is was wrong. Thank you for teaching me it is ok to feel sad and cry. Thank you for teaching me that Joy was more than my ex girlfriends name. Thank you for teaching me what a huge impact a simple smile can do (especially your smile). Thank you for the “Men’s Meeting” on Wednesday night. You’d be happy to know that it is now about 80 men strong. Thank you for including me in your foursome at the golf course every year. I hope that Doug, Dan and I will continue that legacy. Maybe some day we will be blessed to have Cole or Chloe join us.
I remember the snowball fights on Donner Pass with complete strangers.
I remember the many birthday parties with ‘face on fire’. (You adhere a cake candle to the bridge of your sunglasses, light it and sing the theme song to Rawhide)
I remember you talking me into having “Whipping Post” as my wedding song to my first wife and giggling about it when you saw the look on everyone’s face.
I remember the food fights almost every time our gang went out to dinner. You were the instigator.
I remember the dirt bike you sold me and neither one of us could touch the ground. We needed a stool of some kind to get on it.
I remember the hardcore heart to heart talks we had in the back of Gil’s shop.
I remember your favorite place to eat with us, Harry’s Hofbrau.
I remember you always called a stranger by their name if they were wearing a nametag, like in a restaurant.
I remember ‘WWCD’ = “what would Charlie do?” ß Lo’s
There are many, many more and some day I hope to have a chance to share more.
I’ll always love you Charlie,
Charlie had a beautiful presence about him. I have two memories I would
like to share that stay in my mind when I think of Charlie. The first
would be at our cousin Kelly's wedding. I remember Charlie, Meghan And
little baby Chloe all dancing together to several songs. The harmonous
group of them circled together dancing together as one, and the love
surrounding them has always stood out to me and you could always feel
his unjudgemental love. I watched them and noted. The other was
this past Thanksgiving. He sat and played with all the great grandkids
gosh there had to be 9 or 10 kids out there and he interacted with them
all afternoon. They all were drawn to Charlie and he played and played with
them, the energy he had for them and the individual attention he gave
them. I have never seen anyone interact with them with such love and
attention for such a long period of time. I was in true amazement and
knew that Meghan had a truly special man at her side. He was definitely
one in a million.
(Lynda Weathersbee (Lynda Chittenden))
Hi, my name is Lynn and I am an addict. I first met Charlie in Jan 1990, he was chairing a NA H&I meeting at Sequoia Hospital with Robert. Charlie told me “girl, you are an addict and don’t ever forget that.” Charlie also told me I don’t ever have to live like I did, and if I wanted to do something about it, when I got out of the hospital to go to Saturday night NA at Birch and Hopkins in Redwood City. I showed up at that meeting and he said “Hey girl” I thought he forgot my name but he called me that for years. At that meeting Charlie introduced me to three of his friends, we will call them “The Road Dogs.” There was Charlie, Dennis, Steve and Jed. They all sat on the side of the room. They were so cool, and they accepted me for who I was, an addict wanting recovery. Nothing else, they were all a big part of my early recovery. Thanks guys. Charlie and I would hit NA conventions in different states and even went to a World NA convention in 1993, he would take me to crazy places and we would do the silliest things, I have seen Charlie love a few good women in my time but I have never seen him “in love” until he met Meghan. I can remember as clear a day when he met her. Charlie came over to my house and told me he was at a wedding and he saw “the most beautiful girl in the world”, all of a sudden out of nowhere Charlie and I started singing…….Hey, did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world? Tell her I love her tell her I need my baby…….He told me all about this Meghan girl. You see one thing Charlie taught me is “Follow Your Dreams” I had never ever seen him so “in love” before. He had a dream and he was going to marry this Meghan girl and they would have beautiful children together. You see, Charlie’s dream came true. I had the honor of being in Meghan’s and Charlie’s wedding. I can remember looking over at Charlie during the ceremony and seeing him cry, he was so happy, so in love with this woman. I am sure that those of you that were there remember how beautiful it was. I will forever be grateful for Charlie, you have helped me change my life and I have followed my dreams. I love you Charlie and I love you Meghan.
(Lynn Valencia)Meghan, I don't know you and really did not know Charlie but just wanted to let you know that when we had an electrical problem and called all the numbers in the blue book Charlie was the one who responded. He came and quickly understood and advised us on our problem and then helped with several small issues that we had. He was really special in a way that I can not really explain. He was very kind and so open and left a lasting impression on my husband and me. I just want you to know that we felt so happy to have met him and felt a sense of loss seeing his picture and knowing that we could not call him again. That is so small compared to the loss you must feel. You and your children are in our hearts. (Ann and Bob Weaver)
Once, back around 1998 when Charlie was DJ’ing a weekly radio show for KFJC, 89.7 FM, Los Altos Hills (plug), he and his friend, Tommy, (where are you, Tommy?) – decided to do a special on … David Cassidy. Tommy was way into it, but Charlie worried they wouldn’t get enough interesting news about – well, you know -- The Partridge Family, for God’s sake. Tommy convinced him, though, and they got the whole thing going, had some trivia bits, like the news that Shirlee Jones was miffed that David got so much press. After all, she was the star. I’m sure it’s taped somewhere, and I’ll look into getting it. In fact, I have a lot of his shows taped, for those interested maybe we’ll get them up here. He also had a lovely bit part as a Santa Claus in Armistead Maupin’s: Tales From the City.
Anyway, I’m listening to this bizarre and entertaining show,
when a caller calls in from the
I met Charlie when he became part of Meghan’s life. Little did I know that I too would be lucky enough to have him become part of my life as well. I knew Meg loved him and that was good enough for me….and fortunately, since Meg loved me, that was good enough for Charlie….and I became his Cousin Susan as well.
One of my favorite stories is about the roof on my house. About 12 years ago, Meg and Charlie came to visit me in Grass Valley and Charlie noticed a stain on my ceiling. I explained my roof had leaked in a couple of places and was worried as I didn’t know how I would be able to afford getting a new roof put on. The next thing I knew, Charlie was insisting he could put a new roof on for me. When I asked if he had any experience in roofing he looked at me dumbfounded and said ever so confidently – “No, but I can figure it out, it can’t be that difficult” - so like the renaissance man he was. Our visit went on and as they were leaving Charlie again mentioned his willingness to do my roof for me. I of course agreed but immediately put it out of my mind as one of those “wouldn’t it be nice” offers and continued to worry about my roof – for I had never been the receiver of a Diggins commitment. About a week or two later I received a call from Charlie saying he was coming over that next weekend and that I just needed to get the supplies delivered in time. Needless to say I hurried and secured the supplies – hoping they would meet his need and worrying if I got the right length of nails. I wondered how he would manage to pull this off. Well, he shows up late Friday evening with two day laborers he picked up somewhere between his place and mine and a new English to Spanish dictionary so he could communicate with them. Oh, what a weekend that turned out to be. Charlie looking up words and shouting out orders in Spanish, Dan Draper joining Charlie the next day to help out his friend, me making multiple trips to the store and cooking endlessly trying to keep up with the feeding needs of four hungry men, shingles flying and new ones being hammered in, strange men sleeping on the floor of my living room, me borrowing the dictionary so I could talk to them as well – and by Sunday….a brand new roof on my house that hasn’t leaked in all these years.
And the nails…they were the right length except for the porch area. I smile every day as I pass through my front porch….thinking of Charlie as I see all those little nails poking through, reminding me of how, since Meg loved me, that was good enough for Charlie….and I became his Cousin Susan as well.(Susan King)
This is one of those things that I think about sometimes yet I neglected to
add as a story to be read to the Diggins family in years to come....
Charlie and Meghan's Wedding; A VERY special day. It was beautiful. It was
at a winery on the coast off of highway 35 (if I remember correctly). It was
an overcast day/late morning. The ceremony started with and almost ended
with clouds....except....just when Charlie was saying his vows to
Meghan......a hole in the cloud's broke and a ray of sun shown through and
over Charlie and Meghan. I began to cry as I never seen anything so
spiritual or meant to be as it was, before. I looked around me to see if I
was the only one feeling what I was seeing, behind me sat Jimmy Hummel, the
biggest and roughest of biker dude's. His eye's where full of tears, he
didn't even look at me, he just shook his head "YES", to let me know
that, as Charlie has always made us all feel, I was not alone in what I was
seeing and feeling. It was a special moment that I have ALWAYS remembered
and think about at any and every wedding I have attended since then.
We didn't have long to be with Charlie...
but it was long enough to know that he was someone special, someone
genuine. From the first day of T-Ball practice we could see that Charlie
had a way with kids...a great teacher with a kind and gentle soul. He
quietly put them through their paces and we could see how much respect the kids
had for him by the way they paid attention and how they responded. Every
child was praised and made to feel successful in their attempts. The last
practice we had with Charlie was a good one,as all were, and the kids
were really starting to understand the plays and how to work together as a
team. Charlie made sure they knew how happy he was with their
progress and we could see how happy it was making him to tell them.
What a generous spirit, what a beautiful smile and all with a
twinkle in his eye! Meghan, your family has a golden glow around you-we
noticed it right away when we met you. To have such great love
in an ""every day is a special day"" kind of way is a great gift-but
the best gift is that you obviously both knew how wonderful and true your life
together has been. That and what you two have given your
children is something of substance and the essence of that is eternal. Our
hearts go out to you and Chloe and Cole as you struggle to say goodbye to such a
fine man. We believe that our spirits are never apart as long as there is
love and that Charlie is surrounding you and your children with his love and
strength. Matthew would like you to know that he loved Coach Charlie very
much. Emma says, I love you Charlie. Thank you for sharing him with
us. With prayers and love, Gary and Mary (Eidenberger family)