Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In The Beginning...

I guess every small college town has one. It was the place for all those people who don’t quite fit. They’re not athletic, not popular, not rich, not accepted by the mainstream. They find each other by some mystical power and form a fraternity of their own. These are the weirdoes, the odd balls, the neo-hippies…, and sometimes just your average Joe. The people your mother didn’t warned you about but should have.

In the small town of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, home of Northeastern State University, was the Commune, an old decaying rental house close to the college campus, shared by four guys. As the name implies, at any point in time it was home to a community of people that held two things in common—music and drugs. I don’t think you could have found a more diverse collection of people anywhere else in the area. Included were a couple of homosexuals, some drama students (who were known to break out in show tunes at the drop of a hat), local musicians, your stereotypical Gen-Xers, underground activists, petty drug dealers, and on and on. You get the picture.
Things were not going well for me at the time. I had dropped out of high school the year before to pursue dreams of playing music professionally, but I was losing interest in the band I was playing with. I had also tried to find a job so I could move out of my mother’s house, but it seemed like I could never get myself motivated enough to get the ball rolling. When it came to things like getting a driver’s license and registering for the Selective Service, I just couldn’t seem to find the time or energy to do those things even though I spent most of my time doing nothing. I would sometimes leave home, not telling anybody where I was going, and just walk with no real destination in mind. With all I needed to be doing, I wasted my days away.
It was late January 1995 when I was wandering around town without purpose and ended up at the Commune. Being around noon, I didn’t expect to find anyone at home, so I wasn’t surprised when no one answered the door after I knocked. Just as I turned to leave, the door swung open and Greg, one of the people who actually lived there, peered at me with bleary eyes. It was obvious I had woken him up. We were good friends so, despite waking him up, he was glad to see me. The other guys who lived there and most of the people who hung out there were all enrolled in the college. Classes were in full swing, so nobody else was home. We heard a car pull up. It was Fred, another one of the guys who lived there and a few other people. Out of the others, I only knew one, Katie, who hung out at the Commune regularly. The other three I hadn’t seen before but later found out their names were Heather, Luke, and Sarah.
I’m not really sure what caught my eye, but as soon as I saw Sarah I knew she was special. I wasn’t sure why. She was pretty but not in a bomb shell way, yet there was something attractive about her besides her looks. She was small, maybe 5’5, with long sandy blond hair covered with a baseball cap. She wore baggy blue jeans and a tee-shirt with a button down flannel shirt over it. It was almost exactly what I was wearing. She was a tom-boy—a beautiful tom-boy. I had never been a believer in love at first sight, but I had felt something that first time I saw her. I liked it.

8 comments:

Rachel said...

I love you Ben!

AmyLee said...

I smiled and cried as I read this. So many memories came flooding back. Do you remember praying to the phone Gods? We were quite the family of misfits for sure. Hong Dai little Beaner.

jenatkinson said...

Although only a few visits I paid to the commune, the names brought back memories that I had forgotten about.
You are strong and enabled.
Lead on......

malan said...

we're all reading along Ben, I've read the story but it's nice to see you post it piece by piece.

we're all watching!

nameapete said...

I live next to where this murder occured. I have to look at the small white building everytime I go out of my house and it is always a sad reminder.The man you killed was a staple in the community and was loved by many. Now, you are just as good as dead, your freedom gone, never to see your family or friends again, never to put your foot on Oklamoma soil for the rest of your life. You are where you belong, caged like the animal that you are.

OneVike said...

I am curious as to who posts this blog for you. I only wonder because as I understand it, prison inmates are not allowed any social networking through their limited internet access in prison. It is a privilege of freedom that gives us the chance to use the internet, like a phone when you want to call. Inmates of prison need permission from the authorities to use a phone, and then it's use by them is monitored and limited.

It does seem it has been almost 4 years since anything has been posted by Benjamin, so I do pray he is doing well. It would be expected for him to go through times of severe trials and tribulations. Sadly for us all, it comes with the territory when we decide that we prove to society we are not fit to be free.

So, I am curious as to what Benjamin thinks about Sarah being paroled already. I want your honest heartfelt feeling, because personally I think she deserves to be sitting behind bars for life like you are. Being a Christian, I do believe that God is a God of His Word, so when we ask from our heart for forgiveness of our sins, en He is true to His Word and will forgive us. However, we still must face the consequences of our sins to Him and and crimes against mankind. If a drug addict comes to Christ and gains a new through His shed blood, they still must deal with the ramifications of what they did to their body. If let's say, they shared dirty needles with another drug users who was infected with the AIDs virus, then they may get AIDs themselves and very well could die a premature death. They will be saved, but their life in this world would have been cut short because of their choices before they came to Christ. It is called consequences, and we all must face them. You are dealing with those consequences, she is not, and that is a crime in and of itself which has been committed by those who let her off with murder.

Please, I am asking whomever it is that set up this blog for Benjamin. Could you post his response to Sarah being released from prison after serving only only 4 years for the murder of Patsy Byers.

Johnny Blake said...

To reply to OneVike: As far as I know, inmates have no internet access at all at Parchman. This is an account of the crimes and what followed written by Benjman and was sent to me in the mail. I asked if I could share, and he agreed.

It has been some time since I started this blog and I'm sorry for the delay. Lets just say life caught up to me for awhile. Then, I forgot how to log in to the blog. Everything is back on track so check back in for more posts.

Johnny Blake said...

I am aware this is painful for some people to read. I share this story not because I think it is merely interesting or something such as that. I feel it is important for people to understand what happened to Ben and Sarah, so it can be prevented from happening again and again. I hate when I seen kids making horrible decisions leaving so many people suffering in their wake. It has to stop and sharing this story is a way I feel I can help. Learn from Ban's mistakes so no more family's have to suffer the needless loss of a loved one and a life that had so much potential doesn't have to be wasted in prison.

Ben is no saint and he deserves his punishment, but I believe Jesus Christ has changed his life-truly. And, I believe his story can help someone. At the very least, it show the depth of God's love and forgiveness even for the worst of sinners.