Don Bennett, 1927-2021


As a child, should I stand outside my front door on Redwood Drive, I could see to my right the Philips’, the Salsbury’s, most prominently, Mrs. Keatings, and further in the distance, the Myers home, though it partly blocked by a small hill. The hill, at one time, had been a simple mound of dirt and one of three, left to nature, and because of that, wheat grasses had grown over it till it looked like the rest of the field.

If I were to stand at the end of my driveway, I would see the Babbs’ home, the Morgan’s, the Methodist house, because it was for the minister family to live in, followed by the Champion’s and the Peterson’s. Not in view would be Mrs. Van Vanten’s home, Judge Hopper’s, or the Walcott’s, and hidden by Mrs. Keating’s home was Wright’s house.

Such was the layout of homes in my neighborhood.

One afternoon I came home to find the field, with its hills, trees, and the bluff, a three-foot drop off where previous excavation had left off, razed. Gone too was the late 1950s model Coca-Cola machine with no doors, but filled with rainwater and home to tadpoles and Polly-wogs and frogs.

At first, it was upsetting, but then I learned it came following a burglary of Mrs. Keatings. The perpetrators, whoever they were, had used the nearby copse of pine trees to hide, leaving behind expensive Native American artifacts.

It was Don Bennett who cleared the field. With Mr. Bennett’s passing on Fri., Dec. 3, 2021, only Bonnie Peterson, Carolyn Seats, John Van Dusen, and 91-year-old John Arnold, that I can think of, remain.

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