More Memories of Ben
I remember the ballroom dance get-togethers that John Ball taught. Ben was fun to dance with because he always had a smile on his face and he had good rhythm, but he wasn't a very strong leader. I think it was because he was so nice and didn't want to push me around.
When we were in Venezuela, Ben bought a large wooden carved lizard for Dylan. He put it in his pack to take back in the plane, but the tail stuck out the top about two feet. Matt, one of the chaperones, tied a bandana around the tip of it so it wouldn't poke people. Ben had a bit of trouble getting it through customs, but they finally let him -- probably because he was with a group of students.
At my 18th birthday party, some of my friends gave me a pair a thong underwear. They had a cartoon picture of a girl in futuristic clothing with a glow-in-the-dark rocket ship and stars on the front. Ben put them on on the outside of his pants, to loud cheer to all in attendance! This hilarious event was captured on video and still camera.
I saw Ben at Canyon Way during Christmas break a few years ago. After chatting excitedly about our lives since high school graduation for a few minutes, it was time for me to rejoin my family. I reached for a handshake, but he pulled in for a warm hug, which was gladly welcomed. The last time I saw Ben was at the 2001 Newport High School graduation ceremony.
After I look Daimeon, Ben and Peter to that mudslinger race in Corvallis in April '96, they wanted to put one on here. I was hesitant, knowing how much work it would take. Ben and "my boys" assured me it wouldn't be too bad and they would help. They did massively. It was our race. Ben use to tease me that when I needed work done, I referred to it as "our race", but if things were going wrong, it became "my race". He helped me keep perspective. Ben was not a competitor as much as an adventurer. I think his experiences mountain biking brought this out even more. He shared this with many other kids in the Newport Honor Society and Mountain Bike Club. Ben was all about "the experience " Whatever it was, he enjoyed it and gave it his best. The journey was as important to him as the outcome. He figured this out by age 16 some people never get this. Ben was amazing, wise beyond his years.
This is what Ben wrote in my junior yearbook: I have enjoyed working with you on Spanish and I'm looking forward to our trip to Venezuela. IOU one long and meaningful message to guide and help you through life.
Ben was my rock. When we put on the annual Coast Hills Mountain Bike Race every year at some point, I would just lose it and freak out a little bit and Ben would always get me grounded again. What an amazing kid! The first year he and Peter were late to meet me to do something, and I was upset with them. Ben said, "We're here now, what can we do?" This was Ben. No hassles, let's get to work, I'll do what I can. In a panic, I gave him a bunch of equipment and hasty instructions, and he and Dylan were to set up the finish line. "No problem, Campbell, don't worry we'll get it done." That was Ben. Because I'm an anal retentive perfectionist, I, of course, was still worried but headed off to the start line to do something else. When we got up to the finish line it was perfect. Better than I had explained. My explanation, of course, was half the problem not just enough time to clarify everything. Not an issue, Ben was sharp as a tack and even saw some things to do better and he did. In fact, he was gone when we arrived, I think as he found something else that needed to be done and he went and did it. And did it well. And gladly. And then thanked me. What a guy, one in a million. An intellectual who relished hard labor and took pride in whatever he did and was kind and thoughtful to all he met. Who can say this is not greatness? That was Ben Eder. So many loved him.
Although I saw Ben throughout the summer driving the Bay Road in the truck (I was riding) while working (he always waved). The last time I saw him was at 2001 high school graduation, I think. He called three times that summer offering crab, but we were out of town each time. I would call him and always the same "no worries, crab was great, we'll get you next time " Oh, Ben I wish there would be a next time so badly at graduation he met our little one, Gabriella. It was vintage Ben. He was so overjoyed, so heartfelt. Everyone gets excited to see a new baby but Ben was so very happy for us. It was a wonderful moment I will always remember and always cherish. For those who touched his life, Ben gave them his whole heart. He was genuine and real.
I remember this one time a couple of years back, around summer of '99, and I was in town visiting. Ben, Joey, Peter, Phoebe and few other people were trying to think of something to do. So what better than a bonfire by Agate Beach Wayside? So we stole some pallets (wood) from Lumbermen's, and headed on down. By this time Jennifer Hoffman had joined us. Did I mention that Ben and Jennifer were the only ones with vehicles? After a while we headed back to the cars which were parked at the wayside. With a sudden stroke of genius (?), Ben decides to head off with Jennifer to "go find someone". They get into her car and take off into town, thus leaving us stranded at the wayside. All the doors were locked and the windows were closed as well (Ben's car). We even tried picking the locks with branches!
Finally with much luck we found a spare key stuck to the fender well of the front left tire. We then proceeded to steal his car and parade through town looking for where Ben and Jennifer had taken off to. After a while, we decided to play a little joke on him and leave his car parked behind Fred Meyers, with doors locked, of course, and gave him little hints about where it might be. I think he finally found it about noon the following day. I will miss him dearly.
One time in Mr. Montgomery's physics class Ben and Peter and Kelly Painter duct taped my hands to my face and stole my shoes and threw them in the boys' bathroom down the hall. After I struggled out of my predicament we all had a good laugh, but Mr. Montgomery was not happy at all! I always remember Ben as an intelligent, funny and charming person. I always expected him to change the world. He certainly changed the lives of everyone that knew him and will be missed.
My stomach is in knots and my thoughts evade me. The last time we talked was over generous shots to Stoli and loud music. He always had exceptional timing. This note seems like my own selfish exploitment in attempt to crush all the frustration. There seems to be 1000 assholes in this world, but only a few people with character like you. I want you to know how much I will miss you. A brilliant chemist and one of the most genuinely good people that I have ever known. Sitting here I am certain that you will be endlessly missed.
I feel at a loss for words when I think about the kind of person Ben was. But anyone who spent at least 10 minutes with him knows the amazing spirit that I'm talking about. Ben had a way of lighting up any room that he walked into. I had spent a year away in Italy and hadn't seen Ben in at least a year and a half. One day I was walking through campus when I heard my name. I turned around and was greeted by the biggest bear hug. Ben had a way of making you feel good deep down to your soul with one of his hugs and his smile. Ben is a beautiful person I feel honored to have touched my life. Love you man!
From 1st grade in 1986 it was obvious to all that we had an extraordinary group of children. We all became so attached to these extraordinary beings. They have all been our own children, each one in our own families. Indeed, Ben Eder was a part of all our families. He was a child of all of ours. It is heart wrenching to have lost one of our shining stars. All the other stars have lost luster with you our dear Ben. We love you and miss you so.