Gold Fish and Lucky Charms

Sedona turned nine last week and had a big party to celebrate.  Bringing over a bunch of friends she had a wonderful time.  Not wanting to miss a beat as the uncle that usually wins with gifts, I found a hat for Sedona, who has a fledgling interest in style and fashion; as well as as the uncle that wears hats, I wanted to share it with the closest thing I have a child of my own and give my niece a pink hat.  With the hat, I was able to introduce her to a charm bracelet that got a over-all response of “Me Lucky Charms.”

            All gifts were blown away when her Grandmother bought two goldfish to go with Sedona’s two mice and a cat.  Give it a year and Sedona will have zoo worth of animals and a ferret will greet you at the door.

Becoming a man with Pearl Jam

By Tim Benjamin (11-17-09)

Pearl Jam's 1991 debut album Ten

Pearl Jam's 1991 debut album Ten

Growing up in the nineties as a teenager with no real moral compass to direct me I did have a few in the music world.  After my father left three days before Christmas of 1991, the following Christmas was a cold bitter after glow of the shattering of my family and what I had thought to be normal.  The following Christmas of 1992, my brother gave me the cassette of Pearl Jam’s debut album Ten.  This gritty and studio based beat rumble and rattle album shot through my ears as I drove the dark streets with my brother to and from my father’s homes.  Forever, Ten will be the soundtrack album of my family’s destruction.  The aftermath of my father leaving left my mother forever damaged and the track “Why Go” was in my mind the song of my mother battling the world. It was later revealed that Vedder’s lyrics were inspired by his long-held hurt in discovering at age 17 that the man he thought was his father was not, and that his real father had already died.  I had another male leave me in 1993 and that left me with Kurt Cobain who died the following year.  The absence of a male role model and the vacuum of how to feel or how to deal were left to what was left of the grunge movement.

"Kurt Cobain's Primal Scream"

"Kurt Cobain's Primal Scream"

The importance of the influence of Kurt Cobain’s primal scream of anguish cannot be under or over stated as my loyalty to him.  Thus, the dilemma of the death of the last of the men of my early teenage years.  Cobain’s and his widow’s criticism of Pearl Jam did not help matters in what I should do with myself. .  Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain angrily attacked Pearl Jam, claiming the band were commercial sellouts, and argued Ten was not a true alternative album because it had so many prominent guitar leads. The collaboration of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament and Soundgarden’s singer Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron in the formation of Temple of the Dog in 1990 would of proved that since Chris Cornell, a mentor to Cobain of Vedder’s promise and worth.  Cobain later reconciled with Vedder, and they reportedly were on amicable terms before Cobain’s death in 1994.  At a concert following Cobain’s death, Vedder stated that he and his band would not be here if not for Kurt.

"Not For You" CD single art

"Not For You" CD single art

As my personal heartbreak in my freshmen year around Christmas of 1993 took affect, the Pearl Jam album Vitalogy (1994) was released and the track “Not for You” was a secret yell at the person that broke my heart.  The song with or with out its true meaning were both wrong with what I felt but I had something to scream with.   Many evening I spent running in the cold night air listening to the album as loud as possible as my breath was seen in the streetlights.

1996's No Code

1996's No Code

As my senior year rolled around, I had my brother leaving to join the Coast Guard.  As friends went, I had a good friend in my older brother.  Always busy and had great friends that took me in as one of their own, and in the end I had another male leave me.  The same year Pearl Jam released my personal favorite album of theirs, No Code.  Poignantly was the track “Off He Goes” in which Vedder wrote about himself “being a shit friend. I’ll show up and everything’s great and then all of the sudden I’m outta there…”

"Off He Goes" CD-Single art

"Off He Goes" CD-Single art

This fleeting relationship more than a shit friend is how I felt about my brother and many other men in my life that I feel I scare away or they have better things to do than hang out with me.  The double side is those that I wish to be better acquainted with some but I can only muster enough courage to talk briefly talk with them than I have to run away.

George Washington Santee and Mary Bell (Higginbotham) Santee

George Washington Santee and Mary Bell (Higginbotham) Santee

by Tim Benjamin and input by family members

George Washington Santee attended school and graduated with a degree as an educator.   He was a teacher, principle and later the superintendent of Nash county Enid Oklahoma.

Marriage and family

George Washington Santee and Mary Bell (Higginbotham) Santee

George Washington Santee and Mary Bell (Higginbotham) Santee

George Washington meet and married his wife Mary Bell Higginbotham.  For money reasons the couple did live in Kansas for a brief period.  Their children were Mary Margaret (adams)Santee (m. Erle W. Adams), Harold Santee, John Wesly Santee (m. Flossy), George Winston Santee and Nelly Elizabeth (Lee, Barber) Santee (m. Keith Barber, m. Harold Lee).

Mary Margaret (Santee) Adams (November 7, 1920 – October 3, 2009)

by Tim Benjamin

Mary Margaret (Santee) Adams

Mary Margaret (Santee) Adams

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.

Erle Wilbert Adams (Senior year)

Erle Wilbert Adams (Senior year)

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.

M.M. Adams

M.M. Adams

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.

1st Colonel Erle W. Adams

1st Colonel Erle W. Adams

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

M.M. & E.W. Adams at their home

M.M. & E.W. Adams at their home

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.

Mary Lynne and Ann on the 57 Chevy

Mary Lynne and Ann on the 57 Chevy

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.

Ann and Mary Lynne

Ann and Mary Lynne

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.

E.W. & M.M. in France

E.W. & M.M. in France

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.

The Burial of Mary Margaret

The Burial of Mary Margaret

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.

Son Mike and Nephew Spence "Lawrence" Adams

Son Mike and Nephew Spence "Lawrence" Adams

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.

Mary Lynne and sons Jeff and Tim in the 57 Chevy

Mary Lynne and sons Jeff and Tim in the 57 Chevy

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.

6982752_10062009At 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.

Robert Erle Man of Many Talents

Robert Erle and Stella Marie Adams

Robert Erle and Stella Marie Adams

An amateur actor, mailman, sandwich maker in a bar run by his father and a general store owner, my great-grandfather, Robert Erle Adams was a force of nature.  His father owned a pool hall that served sandwiches that were eventually made by the young Robert Erle.  In the twenties, Robert Erle’s pool hall did or did not serve alcohol, as it was the prohibition.

While in the pool hall, whenever Robert was asked to make a sandwich he would cross the street to the grocery store to get the ingredients and in time he developed an idea of going into the grocery store business store himself.  When my grand father Erle Wilbert Adams was two, his father Robert opened the Adams store in Nash County Lemont Oklahoma and thus continued on as a pillar of the community.  Robert

The Adams Family

The Adams Family

Erle delivered mail in a model T Ford in the rural area of Lemont.  His two aunts and an uncle lived on a farm in which Robert Erle delivered to.  In his youth, Robert Erle would work on his relative’s farms and whenever it rained in the area his aunt would say, “Well it is good for the wheat.”  However a cabin fevered Robert Erle would say to his aunt that it might be good for the wheat but is not good for him.

While working behind the counter of the Adams

The Adams Store

The Adams Store

store, Robert Erle would sell candy, bread, pop and do all that is expected of a general store including carve meat in the back room.  Gypsies would travel through the town and would have a tendency to take items without paying.  Wearing aprons these gypsies would simply walk into the Adams store and put items in their aprons as they browsed then buy something small and inexpensive.  Wearing a butcher’s apron, Robert Erle watched these strangers from the back of the store as he chopped meat.  Not wanting to get his long black hair in the way he would tie it back and resemble his Cherokee background.  His apron would be covered in a bit of blood from the meat Robert was cutting and would walk out looking like a head hunting Cherokee worrier and coolly said to the gypsies, “You can either pay for what is in your aprons or leave now.”  They left in a hurry.

In the Adams store there was a couple rows of theatre seats at one side.  This was an aspect of Robert Erle showing itself that later came out as he wanting to be an actor.  The town had a few amateur plays in the theatres and wanted actors and Robert Erle was all too willing to addition.  Getting the parts in various plays and in much subject matter, Robert was actually considered quite good at what he did.  The only evendence of him being a descent actor was that he kept being called back.  Acting aside, Robert had a tendenciy to only dress in shaggy pants, shirt and hold a cane.  No matter what the play was about, Robert would stagger out on stage and act as an old man.

In the end, Robert Erle was a man greater then any words could describe.

Pearl Jam is back with Backspacer

Eddie Vedder

Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam’s new CD in a hard bound book/Pizzoli style package. 2009 release from Eddie Vedder and the boys, their ninth album overall. For Backspacer, the lasting Grunge rockers decided to do it big. They left label J Records and decided to release to album themselves, since the certainly have enough money to do that. They also hooked up with ’90s Alternative Rock producer du jour Brendan O’Brien (Korn, Bruce Springsteen), the first time that the band has worked with O’Brien since 1998’s Yield. The music on the record features a sound influenced by pop and New Wave.

pearl_jam_backspacer

2009's Backspacer

On a personal note, Pearl Jam’s Backspacer came at a time of great need in my life and “Just Breath” was a wonderful tune to listen to as I had to deal with two deaths in my family.  Having the same producer as Yield makes all the sense in the world in that Yield has the same musical dynamic as Backspacer.

My Stand at the First Friday Art Walk

My Stand at the First Friday Art Walk

October 2, 2009

On a gloomy day in the beginning of October, I decided to go ahead and appear at the Rancho Bernardo Winery for their First Friday Art Walk, which is an art fair that happens every first Friday of the month.  The previous First Friday I had cancelled due to the hundred and four degrees temperature and I did not wish anyone to die of a heat stroke.  This First Friday the forecasters had planned for rain.  Three drops of rain to a Californian is a downpour and in fact the average weather report from a local weather person is along the following:

Anchor Woman

“So, Weather Bob, what is the forecast like?”

Weather Bob

“Fine, back to you.”

A Place to Hang My Hat On

A Place to Hang My Hat On

With that weather state of mind I decided that since I live in Southern California there would be no rain.  The sun did not shine through the clouds and I parked in the farthest parking lot to unload my exhibit.  Setting up my tables and grid walls I could not help but notice the parking lot twenty feet from where I was setting up.  The first thought was that I would be the first booth to be seen and the second thought was why the hell did I not park there.

IMG_2382After re-parking and settling down for the evening around five in the afternoon, I noticed that the Art Walk, that went from five to nine that evening, had only four other booths with artists.  By six that evening I had bought a mocha from a nice man with a broken finger and then two shakes to fight off the heart burn from the anxiety that no one has shown up for this event.  By half past six the sun had gone down and still no one had appeared.  The Café Merlot is a very nice restaurant only it is stationed at other end of the Winery and only those that would be finished eating and that parked where I parked would be walking by.

The Sun Goes Down

The Sun Goes Down

The sun going down at six in the evening did cause a different problem; I had no lighting to shine on my work in the dark.  When I thought of my concept, I planned on being outside and using the sun for lighting or that the Winery would be slightly lit for the occasion however both theories were very wrong.

When no one else showed up for the event, we the artists discussed among ourselves what was going on in the art community.  A much larger art show was planned for the next day and it was decided that that show made everyone skip this show to go to that show.  Another reason was the three drops of rain that scared everyone indoors that evening.  The Winery employees remarked on the lack of artists that are normally watercolor painters.  The simple theory of their reason for a lack of appearance was brought up that rain and watercolor does not go well together.

Missed Opportunity by Phone Phobia

My Phone Phobia

My Phone Phobia

This mourning I had a costumer ask me in retrospective of my art showing at the Sorbe Gallery near the place of her residence was coming to an end why I never called her son in San Francisco about a job in the E.A. Games where he works.  Once again she explained that with my talent for imagination, writing and art I could go far in the gaming industry.  I have very little experience playing video games and I would be quite naive at any such endeavor however it is an artistic environment. After the guilt trip I had I began to think if why I did not call him four years ago.  It occurred to me why I did not call was that I was probably terrified of calling a stranger.  The phone can terrify me greatly at times,

At times, friends and family have called and I just stare at the phone as if it were a stun gun ready to fire.  What could be on the other end of the line?  Could it be bad news, a new social engagement or an order of doom?  My social phobia and panic attacks rush through my body as I shale and hyperventilate.  It is an aspect of my life I am at victim to.

When I came across this nice lady again I explained that I have Asperger’s and one of the aspects of Asperger’s is I am terrified of new or unknown social situations and that phone call counted as one.  In the past years since her first request, I have found that communicating through email and letters are an outlet of outreach.  This avenue of communication and adapting to Asperger’s is not new, Thomas Jefferson wrote his State of the Union Addresses and had them read by someone else to Congress.  Having my words down in front of me and able to be sure of what I have said will not be too upsetting or misunderstood helps me communicate.

The nice Lady said that she did not want to pressure me into this and I explained that I now have a better knack for this type of adventure forward.  I have no plans to move to San Francisco anytime soon however having new contacts always is a good thing.  Even if I only contact them via in letterform.