by Tim Benjamin
Through out my entire life I had only one grandmother and that caring spirit was Mary Margaret Adams who always greeted me with a hug and a smile. When we would speak, my grandmother would happily pat my hand in love and the whole world was full of magic and peace.
Mary Margaret Santee was born in the fall and died in the fall. She loved the weather of autumn, the birds that would sing and the colors of nature that came with this time of the year. On November 7, 1920, the superintendent of Nash county Enid Oklahoma, George Washington and his wife Mary Bell Higginbotham celebrated the birth of their daughter Mary Margaret Santee.
Growing up in a small town, Mary Margaret had a slight problem in school in that her father was the superintendent that led to few altercations with misbehavior. Mary Margaret was considered quite the catch by the local males of her community and was named homecoming queen in her junior year of high school. Mary Margaret and her older sister by eleven years, Nell Santee did help each other as much as possible. In fact, walking the sidewalks in the town side of Enid, the two sisters noticed a young good-looking man sweeping a porch area outside the Adams general store. Older sister Nell pointed the young man out as a fine looking catch to younger sister Mary Margaret.
Later Mary Margaret was properly introduced to the young general store shop boy who revealed his name as Erle W. Adams. After a few successful dates young Erle went off to College A.N.M. an Agricultural college that later changed its name to O.S.U. one the biggest state Universities in the country. While attending A.N.M., Erle had begun to realize that his thought were of no one other than Mary Margaret Santee and decided that on March 8, 1942 in Stillwater Oklahoma, he would marry Mary Margaret. This marriage lasted sixty-seven years.
During the war, the married couple traveled with Erle W’s stationing as a instructing and training men for combat. However, when they did settle down in Tulsa Oklahoma by buying a home with a loan of two thousand dollars, the young couple was able to purchase a home for seven thousand dollars. This home of theirs is the one the live in for sixty-seven loving years.
In 1944 when the war had settled down and the world seemed less dangerous, Mary Margaret and Erle W. Adams had their first son Michael Kent Adams at Wesling
Hospital, Wshita Kansas. To equal out the equation the new parents had a second child in December 8, 1946, Mary Lynne Adams. At St. Johns Hospital in Tulsa Oklahoma. The young family spent many car trips visiting aunts, uncles, cousins and grand parents on holidays and special occasions. Family was important to Mary Margaret and she stressed this to her children to be kind and in touch with your family. Having both Mary Margaret’s parents and Erle W.’s parents alive meant a headache when it came to holidays like Christmas when you did swap years for who you wanted to visit. Then you drove to one parent’s home in the mourning and then drove to other parents’ home in the afternoon.
After the war, Mary Margaret began her long association with T.U. as a secretary to the Economics department and gained great esteem and respect in her work. Her husband had a very prestigious career with Flint Steal where he works dutifully for his family. Mary Margaret was a fantastic cook and was a superb hostess. Always dressed up for occasions and had a magnificent figure to show. Money was tight in the family and having two adults who grew up in the depression, saving as much money as possible was foremost important to their
way of life.
On the eleventh Birthday of daughter Mary Lynne, her mother Mary Margaret had some surprising news for her. It was not a present but an unexpected baby sister. There had been some surgical work done to Mary Margaret in the moment in time. Despite the medical miracle of Mary Margaret and Erle W’s third child, Ann Merdeth Adams was born in Hillsent Hospital in Tulsa Oklahoma on August 10, 1957.
She donated to many animals, environmental and Democratic charities and graduated from Tulsa University enjoying a career at the TU Economics Department. The president of TU hand wrote a letter to my Grandfather, Erle, of condolences on her passing. In their home hanging next to a charcoal portrait of my Grandfather is a letter from candidate Barrack Obama thanking her for her contributions.
The first grandchild to Erle W. Adams and Mary Margaret was Michael Todd Adams born on August 13, 1966 to Michael Adams and his wife Diane Marie (Box) Adams. Later Grandchildren were Jeffery John Benjamin born on April 29th, 1976 and later than that was Timothy John Erle Benjamin both to parents Mary Lynne Adams and Michael John Benjamin. Youngest daughter Ann and husband Bob Lewis had the only granddaughter on July 23, 1985 and the last grandson was not born until 1990 when Adam Keith Adams was born.
Retirement seemed a natural for Erle and Mary Margaret as they bought a small camper than later a larger camper trailer that they traveled all over the United States as they embarked on their dreams of seeing the county side. Occasionally taking their grand kids around with them and for a while their home of 566 was a staple of summer vacations for the grandchildren.
Family was important to Mary Margaret as she took care of her brother suffered from shell shock from WWII and took care of her older sister Nell after the death of Nell’s second husband Harold.
Attending her funeral was her three children and their families as well as Friends of the family and honored guests. She was laid to rest near her grandson Michael Todd Adams who died the previous year.
The pallbearers were mainly the grand children of Mary Margaret. Grandchildren were Michael Todd (in honor), grandsons Tim Benjamin, Adam Lewis and his sister Jessica Lewis. Grandson Jeff Benjamin was not in attendance due to his obligations to his three children. Mary Margaret’s daughter Mary Lynne’s son Jeff had the only great-grandchildren in Mary Margaret’s lifetime and they were three girls. These great-grandchildren are the following: Vivian Ashley, born in 2000 in Hawaii, Sedona Nell born in 2002 in Oregon and Hannah Ann in 2007 in California.
All her children were important to Mary Margaret and all those that were related to her took equal importance and caring. When the siblings of Mary Margaret and Erle W. passed away it was the nephews and nieces and children of fallen neighbors and friends from the generation of Mary Margaret and Erle W. that gravitated to these two parental figures in a need for advise and caring.
Mary Margaret’s caring for music was apparent in her love of bird songs and the small creatures that lived in their yards. Always wanting to pet an animal, Mary Margaret always said cautiously as she would place a hand on a head of a cat or dog that she was only going to try and be friendly. All animals would have liked this spirit that was Mary Margaret if she would only believe it herself.
Her brother played many musical instruments and had the craft for the musical talent where Mary Margaret had an ear for all music. Always watching live musical productions on television and always playing music from all sorts on the wireless. Her collection of many musical genre’s included: flute, classical, country, Elvis, big band and even a little rock and roll.
Her grandson Jeff played the guitar and piano and would perform the latest Van Halen song for her and Mary Margaret would sit, close her eyes and tap her foot in enjoyment. Her other grandson Tim would put Cd mixes together of all the ends of the music canvas from hard rock to polka, from soul to alternative and Mary Margaret would sit and listen to them all in great enjoyment.
My only regret as Tim the music man was that only in her later years, Mary Margaret was introduced to Enya late. I would have liked to give her the entire collection by Enya.
Like her sister, Nell, Mary Margaret was a patron of the arts and fully promoted her grandson Tim the artist in his endeavors.
At the viewing of the funeral of Mary Margaret Adams, my grandmother, I walked up to the casket and wanted to thank her for all her love, help, understanding, encouragement and shared love of music, however when the time came and I looked upon the face of the one and only grandmother I had all my life and very essence of what a grandmother should have be like, I was unable to speak. Planning on saying only anything to my self as I gazed upon her for the last time, I only managed a few jumbled thoughts with words like “Thank you,” “Miss You,” “Music,” and “Good bye.” With all that I could muster in notions of verbal thought scattered and used, I patted her hand lightly as a final good bye and the magic had gone.