Sunday, June 21, 2015

"An Unbelievable Father's Day Story"...

My good friend is gone...
I don't know where to, or how to, start, except to say we will soon lose a dear friend ***and fellow ACCD alumni. Marty Rosenthal is in a hospice with family at his side, and I am told his time is near...
No, I really don't know where to start. I first met Martin in a Jack Leynnwood class at Art Center College of Design in SoCal. He loved drawing cars and took every chance he had to get Jack to fix his illustrations. To be honest, I really didn't think Martin was Art Center material. I wasn't the only artist to feel that way and felt the school was lowering its standards to except someone like Marty.
Kinda snotty, I know, and not really like me.
But, on a personal level, one just couldn't help but love Marty. He was curious about everything unlike many of us, who were on a one track road to illustrative "hell"! Martin D. Rosenthal just had an infectious way about himself that you just couldn't deny. I guess finding cancer in your body at an early age will do that to a person. Living and loving each damn day on this wonderful earth like it was your last. 
I try my best to remember that, though I usually fail, miserably!
Because of the recurring cancerous situation, he didn't complete his degree the time frame I did, and I lost track of his life and career until he, one day, drove by my house in South Pasadena, in his cherry black Camaro, I believe, just beaming from ear to ear. He was also smiling because he was gonna get married and that he got hired at an aerospace company in Long Beach and was quite happy striving to be the artist he felt he could be. We met a year or so later at the Salt Shaker, with his new wife and two twin baby girls.
Smiles all around and no cancer in sight!
But, living life in the "long run" ain't always so stable, or pretty. A few years later, he, and others from the art group, were let go at the aerospace plant, and his wife left him and the twins. If he told me about how it all came crashing down, I listened with one ear. All I know is Marty parented those two girls all through their childhood and they grew up to be something any father would be proud of. He took odd jobs where ever he could, went to night school, and finally settled on a substitute teacher job, so he could be with his girls and take care of them.
Both of the twins excelled in school and got scholarships to attend college. 
I lost touch with him through most of the late nineties and all through our move back to the bayou. But, I did visit his apartment when the twins were still living with him to let him know that our family was leaving for Louisiana. He told me he was thinking about moving to Phoenix, where his brother lived. The apartment was small, I believe, and, at that time, the bunk bed was in the living room, but everyone seemed healthy and happy and enthusiastic about the future.
We went to a local restaurant to catch up with each other's lives and then he showed my some of his nudes from a life drawing class that he had been taking, over the years, at Long Beach State, I think. I found them to be really well done. I told him that I was proud of his passion to be an artist against all the roadblocks, good and bad, that life put before him.
Seems at least once a year, since Therese, Brian and I moved to the bayou state, he'd call to check in on us. Some time in that decade, he told me the cancer had returned but that it was not going to be a problem. His girls were now on their own and he was moving to Arizona. Finding out that the illness had returned and that, to my knowledge, he was pretty much alone, fighting that battle, my wife and I would call in to check his progress. 
He seemed to have licked it again.
When Facebook came along sometime in 2009, Marty was one of my first friends. It was great to be able to keep in touch with all my SoCal friends and especially, Martin. It seemed like he had a good four or five years before the cancer was back, though, at first, Martin didn't think it was serious enough to mention in our posts.
Apparently, it was.
After a year long battle in and out of hospitals, clinics, and home, my friend is, we all are afraid, is giving up the struggle. God, I feel so bad for him. When I hear people say that things happen for a reason, the insane "linebacker" in me comes out. All that Buddha, karma, goes around, comes around simplicity, really fries my ass.There's no sense or justice here. 
And, to even suggest such a thing is the ultimate insult to a guy like Marty.
I really love you man, and I will always revere you as a great person and a great friend... Damn!

*** Marty passed away with family members at 3 am Father's Day morning!

Copyright 2015/ Ben Bensen III

Friday, June 5, 2015

"I Guess You Can Take The Sofa From The Man, But..."

On the roster for over fifty years...
I am still working, as a storyboard artist, on a feature film project in St. Francisville, Louisiana. At
times, it can get pretty intense even though the deadlines are pretty much self determining between me, the cinematographer and the director. Thankfully, there's no drop dead deadlines, like there are in the advertising world, but until just yesterday, I didn't have any time to just sit and enjoy a ball game.

But, Vin, did it to me again. I guess you can take the sofa from the man, but not the man from the sofa. The airing of the Dodger vs Cardinal game was a victim of a rain delayed game that came before it. So, it wasn't until just before 11 pm when the Dodger game came on. I put down the sketch pad and pencil determined to sit on the couch to watch what was left of the Dodger game.

With "Vin on the Box" I never made it through the next inning. Just like being at home, I passed out till 2am to the sound of static on the TV. "Go Dodgerzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Must have rolled over on the remote...


Copyright 2015/ Ben Bensen III