Remembering Cleven "Goodie" Goudeau

martha cinader

It’s hard to write a title about remembering someone, when that person gave so generously of his time both to me and my husband Tony Mims. Since getting the news from Jim Kern at the Vallejo Museum, we have been reminiscing about Goodie, as he wished to be referred to, and the many ways he was a part of both Listen & Be Heard Weekly and Listen & Be Heard Poetry Cafe.
From the very first days when we started circulating copies of the paper, Goodie started contributing “Goodies” comics similar to the ones he used to publish in Playboy Magazine. He shared his knowledge of graphic design with me while I struggled to learn how to use Quark and Photoshop and communicate with printers.

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Goodie was always our biggest cheerleader,  and shared our dedication to fulfilling the promise of diversity in Vallejo, one of the most diverse cities in the country. He gave generously of his time to everyone, and his knowledge of every aspect of the visual arts was vast. But he didn’t just know a lot, and he wasn’t just helpful and kind, he was also prolific.
A caricature of a young Gabi Wilson by Cleven Goodie Goudeau

His caricatures of me and Tony are hanging on our walls here in Greenville, and I’m certain in hundreds of other homes. There are numerous color prints, (many of them people who performed at Listen & Be Heard Poetry Cafe.) He could also be seen at many an event in Vallejo sketching and giving away caricatures.
The paintings he worked on during the time we were there, were done in series. There was the Jazz series,  the African scenes series, and my favorite, a more abstract series of what I called African Queens.
Goodie loved jazz. He and Jeannette would show up on our Jazz Saturdays, to hear people like Babatunde Lea and Howard Wiley and Calvin Keys. He was always dressed sharp as a tack. He brought friends from out of town, like a former Tuskegee Airman  and other distinguished folks. He always introduced everyone to each other as gifted and talented people in their fields.

Goodie had a fascinating history, which I wrote about in L&BH. You might not know his name but you would probably recognize one of his iconic black greeting cards, which he campaigned successfully to have distributed to a mass market.
His art hangs on the walls of our home, and his memory lives in our hearts.
May he rest in Peace.

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