Hello everyone…. I would like to introduce you to Cornelia Benavidez. She is a very sweet and kind lady who I have recently met. So we will be getting to know her together 😊. Please welcome C…
Evil has been spreading itself once again
That oozing swamp of fear and arrogance
Its warm mud falsely inviting to despairing souls
Gaseous bright lights lure the unwitting
To its many death filled holes
This swamp revels in itself
It only knows the hunger it has
This kind of evil spreads itself beware
Through those that even think they care
It moves so swiftly, oozes so quietly
Most do not know it is there
It hungers though it’s fed every hour
It hungers for what is rightfully ours
It is gleeful for our madness
It grows fat with our sadness
Ravenous for our pain and fear
It longs for every broken scream
One drop at a time it licks our tears
Evil’s children is a spreading weed
Open your eyes you can see it feed
Ironic then our cup is filled
Of all of nature that man has killed
Yet in the midst of this darkness
Even when it lurks within its lair
We tremble and cry to be spared
So evil now torments us easily
Even by our own hand
Setting child to child, women to man
By greed this feeding frenzy begins
It slimes with shame and ignorance
It’s the rattling saber, the grin of the reaper
Brothers and sisters we grow weary
Of this danger, filth and stench
Still, listen to this secret
Evil yet can lose itself
Today may be its feast day
And yesterday its banquet
Our love within can always wake us
Have we not come for a mother’s kiss?
Or the hand of a beloved so long missed
Somewhere someone longs for us
A child, a dog, a garden needing our touch
The endless words wishing to be sung
Let not bitterness freeze your tongue
Yes, the swamp hungers for all of you
For life itself so beautiful
The Divine dance is full of grace
Let not your choices be full of waste
More violent and cruel evil does become
Sensing our rising consciousness
We can win this battle if we never forget this
Though the whole world it seeks to dismember
Ever we will return until this we remember
The power and love of the Divine is within us
Gisela Malwina Benavidez had a full life which began in Konigsberg, Germany where she was born to Max and Emma Frenzel and became a sister to Helga in 1928. Gisela developed her love of water while taking long walks with her father and mother on the Baltic Sea.
In her early years her family moved to Bad Kreuznach, Germany where she flourished in music, sports and art. Despite being horribly dragged by a motorcycle at the tender age of about three, she survived her severe head injury to become an accomplished pianist by age twelve. This was a love and talent she carried with her throughout her life. During her younger school years, she was known for her gymnastics. Taught by her father, Gisela also became a strong swimmer which lead her becoming a lifeguard in her early teens for pools and rivers. She was so grateful for her strength and training when one day two girls were swimming at her assigned community pool and they began drowning. She immediately jumped in the water and saved both girls to the tune of Glen Miller music blaring over the loud speakers. Till the end of her life, she loved big band music and all the wonderful memories the melodies brought her, including saving the two lives.
During World War II, neighbors often took care of Gisela as her mother worked for the Red Cross. Her sister worked on local farms, and her father served in the German Army. In spite of all the suffering before and after the war, Gisela managed to graduate high school and become accomplished in everything from ping pong, skiing to fencing. She was the only young girl in her city allowed to be taught how to fly a sail plane. Sadly with all her talent in sports, World War II interrupted her training for the Olympics.
As the war progressed, Gisela learned the true meaning of kindness and grace as her friends and neighbors both German, Jewish and others shared food and looked out for each other. In her mid teens, she found refuge from war through playing the piano from classical to Boogie Woogie and dancing swing. She also admired American Cinema, especially musicals, and was touched by the protective kindness that some of the American soldiers demonstrated to her.
Gisela came to ballet relatively late in her teens, her many athletic skills opened the door for her to join a national German ballet troupe that toured throughout Germany. The highlight of her experience came at a time when her troupe joined up with the circus. Because most of the performance theaters had been bombed, her company performed their ballets under the Big Top. Her years in the circus taught her all kinds of dancing, trapeze work, tight roping, and bareback riding.
In her early twenties, she returned home to Bad Kreuznach to craft lenses in a factory that specialized in producing a variety of lenses and also as a model for a local photographer. One of her beautiful poses, showing Gisela dancing in a field, was on display in the photographer’s store window and caught the eye of a young American Army soldier, Gilberto Benavidez. Immediately smitten, his detective journey unfolded by finding where the beautiful dancer worked and lived. Singing Spanish and American love songs under her window, he won her heart and earned the respect of her family,to make her his bride. In 1954 Gisela Benavidez stepped off a military plane on the arm of Gilberto and traveled to their new home in Harlingen, Texas.
In her new community, Gisela learned Spanish as well, since this was other main language spoken in the Rio Grande Valley. In Harlingen, she gained new cooking skills which included a variety of Mexican dishes. In turn, Gisela shared with her new family and neighbors her wonderful German baked goods. While living in Texas, she became a nurse’s aide, sharpened her piano playing, enjoyed creative drawing, which she shared with the children in the iron lung machines at the hospital. She also gave birth to her eldest daughter, Cornelia.
Eventually better job opportunities drew the Benavidez family to Michigan. Gisela fell in love with the Great Lakes, the lush trees, and wildlife of the state. Work in factories for her husband brought her to Albion. In the surrounding area, she loved swimming and/or boating in Duck Lake and Swains Lake. In Albion, she loved watching and feeding the ducks in Reiger park and strolling through Victory Park enjoying the rose garden that was there at the time.
At this point, Gisela and Gilberto (Benny) had their second child, Sylvia. Walking through the pine forests of Michigan brought her sweet memories of Germany and inspired her to share the folk stories and fairy tales of her original country with her children.
Even with two children to raise, Gisela kept stretching her abilities. Her past modeling experience served well, as she was offered a few guest appearances on the Martha Dixon show, a popular local TV show in the early 60’s. Fostering her children’s love of theater in the 70’s, she tirelessly drove them back and forth to rehearsal and helped them learn their lines as well as design and sew their costumes. Yet, Gisela still found time to write her own classic piano compositions. Beginning in the early 80’s she participated in producing her husband’s radio ministry broadcast in and around Albion.
As her children grew up, she helped make ends meet by doing everything from working with a carpenter to design and build the family garage to driving the limo for Floyd Starr. Gisela also studied for and attained a manicurist license when her kids left for college.
The Benavidez family attended St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Albion. Over her 60 years there, Gisela made sure her children saw her faith in action. She was a trusted friend, loving mother and wife. Some of her quiet ways of service to the church included helping to drive Albion residents to kidney dialysis, organizing regular fellowship meetings, and supplying beautifully decorated cakes for various church functions.
Gisela Benavidez, 87, of Albion and Marshall, Michigan passed away with her loving family by her side on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Left to cherish Gisela’s memory are her husband, Gilberto Benavidez of Albion and Marshall, daughter Cornelia and (John) Benavidez Doyle of McMinnville, OR, daughter Sylvia Benavidez of Albion MI, and Gisela’s nephew Diedrich (Renate) Cornelius of Germany. She was preceded in death by her father and mother Max and Emma Frenzel, and her sister Helga Cornelius.
Gisela’s family honored her at a private graveside service at Fort Custer in Battle Creek on Tuesday, October 4, 2016. A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 100 Luther Blvd., Albion, Michigan on Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 2PM.
Memorial contributions may be made in honor of Gisela’s love of Albion to the Local History Room of the Albion District Library, Citizens to Beautify Albion, or the American Stroke Association.
Four Sons of the Mother
Who wishes to go a-seeking berries?
Asked the kind young man
Three boys’ heads turned
Fast as owl heads.
Jumping up as one,
“Where shall we go?” they cried.
Happy hands gathered pails
Running feet over meadows sailed
To forest and field this Lammas tide
As the sun made for its rest
Triumphant boys returned well spent
We picked blackberries and late cherries!
Mouths, hands and faces warrior painted
There is so much and more to come!
We will take a bunch home to Mom!
Oh the blessings of Lughnasadh
Corn and grain the fruits of love
Ripe and full in warm air you hovered
Then plucked and joyous gathered
By these four sons of the Mother
A blessing for the table
A blessing on the wood and field
A blessing on their household
A blessing I have seen