Pink House. 130 North Street. Back In The Day.

Fellow residents from the 1991-94 years were Clint Curtis, Shyam Patel, Raj Krishnasami, Lydia Craft, Jess Deltac, Kyle York Spencer, Caroline Rivers Hall, Mel Lanham, Michelle Sinnott, Jay Murray, N'Gai Wright, Scott Bullock (who crashed on the couch for a year before finally moving in), Bryan Ellerson, Karen Hurka, Sally Stryker, Ryan Mathias, Charlie Speight, Chris Palmatier, Trent McDevitt, and Steve William.



Besides holdovers and returnees Jay, Scott, Mel (& Laverne!), Chris, and N'Gai, residents during 1995-97 included Allen Sellars (who, like Jay, lived at both the Pink House and 401 Pritchard), Ian Williams, Zak Bisacky, James Dasher, Linden Elstran, Jiffer Bourguignon, Grant Tennille (who first made the scene as a fixture in N'Gai's room circa summer '93), Zia Zareem, Ben Folds, Tom Holden, and Chris "Chip" Chapman.

- Erik Ose

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

R.I.P. Mel Benner (1973-2012)

(Note from 8/1/12 – Yesterday I got a heartbreaking message from Elizabeth Deifell (Dryman):

"I am writing with the sad news that Mel Benner passed away. She was killed by a drunk driver outside of Philadelphia. I posted links on my FB page. She had moved back from LA to be closer with her parents and was planning on starting a MA program in June. So sad."

Mel's online obituaries including guestbook tributes are here and here.

Mel's last FB profile pic

What a tragic, senseless death. I unsuccessfully tried tracking her down in 2010 after digging up the cassette tape she gave me when she came along with me, Lem, and Derek Elliott on our New England Tour roadtrip back in '93. Now I really wish I had re-connected with her.

Mel was such a sweet, gentle soul. And what an amazing athlete. She was a track star in high school:

YOUNG MUSTANG POWERS TEAM TO 3D AT STATES (Philadelphia Inquirer - May 25, 1987) Melissa Benner may have been one of the youngest competitors in Friday and Saturday's PIAA Class AAA and AA track and field championships at Shippensburg University, but the Gwynedd-Mercy Academy freshman made her elders take notice. Benner won the Class AA 800- and 1,600-meter runs and teamed with Jennifer Budniak, Jane Heffernan and Debi McMahon to finish fourth in 4 minutes, 4.69 seconds in the 1,600-meter relay...

BIG DAY FOR GWYNEDD-MERCY'S BENNER (Philadelphia Inquirer - April 26, 1990) She has run in the Penn Relays a grand total of one time, but the event already has become Melissa Benner's personal favorite. In fact, it has become such a highlight of her outdoor track season that she is willing to curtail another of her favorite activities: eating. "It's a race I've been looking forward to all year," said Benner, the talented senior distance star from Gwynedd-Mercy Academy...

and later at UNC-CH. In fact, while in junior high, she set at least two national track records, in the 800 meter and 1500 meter runs. Her time of 2:11:28 in the junior girls’ 800 meter run remained unbroken as of 2006, and may stand to this day.

She had great taste in music. Although she’s not listed on the Fall '93 WXYC schedule, I could have sworn she was a DJ around that time.

I will always remember her mom cooking us breakfast when we dropped Mel off at her folks’ place in Philadelphia. I think she made us pancakes, and she was super warm and welcoming to our road-weary crew. It was great to get to see Mel at home like that. My heart goes out to her parents and brother and sister.

Seriously, drunk drivers need to be kept off the freaking roads. I’ve never felt as anti-DUI as I do right now. The girl who killed her was only 19. Why can’t breathalyzer ignition locks become mandatory for vehicles registered by drivers under age 21? And heavy fines instituted for parents who allow underage kids to drive vehicles without ignition locks. And the locks certainly made mandatory for anyone convicted of even one DUI. That all seems like common sense. But none of it will bring Mel back, and that’s what really sucks.)

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