Friday, February 04, 2011

The Benzonelli- Gool Mystery

I was intrigued when I saw Heidi Benzonelli posting over at Humboldt Herald. She's the one spearheading that Jefferson School purchase effort.

The intrigue was because back around 1975 I knew a gal named Jaime, Janie or Janey Benzonelli- Gool. She was either the daughter or step- daughter of local gadfly and self- proclaimed Mayor of Old Town, Eureka, Bonnie Gool. There was a physical resemblance between Janie and Bonnie so I had the impression she was her daughter.

When I finally saw an e-mail address for Heidi this morning, I sent her an e-mail asking if they were related. Heidi replied immediately that she didn't know Janie, which I found strange. She thinks maybe Janie was Bonnie's husband's daughter. Heidi said she'd ask around.

I didn't know Janie very well. She was mostly an acquaintance that I knew from a rather rough crowd I hung around for a short time back then. I believe she was married at the time, too, but somehow one day we made plans for a party at my place for just the two of us. I used to live on the corner of West Del Norte and Albee Streets back then.

I forget where I picked her up from, but it wasn't too far from my place. Maybe at Bonnie's house on H or I street? She hopped on the back of my Honda 450 and we stopped by the Wabash & B liquor store for a couple quarts of beer (She was older than me and could pass easier for 21), then drove down Wabash towards my place.

We were a block from my apartment. It was about 4pm and Cal Trans was closing down so people were going home. I saw a Volkswagen at the stop sign in front of the Cal Trans building, noted he was stopped and turned to check the other direction when Janie screamed. I look up and the Volkswagen had pulled out in front of me.

It was too late. I couldn't avoid him and smacked right into the side of the Volkswagen. We flew over the top of the car and, believe it or not, I was thinking I had to get underneath Janie as I had a thick coat, helmet and gloves on but Janie was only wearing pants and a blouse. I couldn't pull it off and landed almost on top of her, instead.

I bounced off Janie and landed probably twenty feet away, the back of my helmet striking the pavement and sending the helmet flying down the street since I didn't have it strapped on. I got up and looked at Janie and she's laying there with a pool of blood beneath her head. I walked over to her, trying to pull my gloves off and noticed my forearm stretch as I pulled my glove off. My arm was broken.

The ambulance came quickly and we ended up at St. Joseph's. She got out in a day or two, if memory serves me correct. I was there a week and ended up with my arm in a cast for 6 months. She stopped by my place to see me briefly after I returned home. I found it odd she chose to wear the same torn pants she was wearing on the day of the accident, the pants having been torn in the wreck.

Bonnie set us up to see an attorney to go after the guy who pulled out in front of us but he didn't have insurance so the attorney wasn't interested. I ended up paying my hospital bill out of pocket over time. Not sure what Janie did, but I wondered if she would have gone after me if I owned anything?

After the attorney said he didn't think it worth his time, Janie starts talking about how I was racing down the street, suggesting it was my fault. She never said anything like that until the attorney said he wasn't interested in suing the other guy. As it was she didn't try to sue me, maybe because I didn't own much back then.

Ah, such fond memories of the good old days. I'm wondering where Janie is now?


At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Fred thought he was going to get some quick pung tang and instead ended up in a traffic accident

Bad timing Fred!

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Yep. That's what I was hoping for. We were only one block from my house. Almost made it.

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it's the B. Gool daughter I'm thinking about you got lucky with the accident and just a broken arm.

At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch now, her daughter is going after the whole damn city.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bonnie Benzonelli Gool was a member of the Eureka City Council for a couple of terms in the seventies. She was colorful and blunt-spoken, usually dressed in a muu-muu and rubber sandals. Bonnie was a chain-smoking throwback but she was also well-regarded by many, smart with a great heart. Physically, she was a wreck by the city council stage of her life. We could use a few like Bonnie Gool at City Hall these days.

At 3:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms.Benzonelli Gool's daughter passed away last Christmas. Regardless what others may say or think she was a beautiful, strong, loyal and passionate woman. Superised you didn't get your ass kicked by her for dumping her on your bike.. May she rest in peace.

At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Janie was Bonnie's son Mark's wife. I know, I was best man at their Wedding. So someone here has said that Bonnie's daughter Lisa has passed away ? What about Mark. Anyone know. We were same grade during EHS days


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