People of the Times |

People of the Times

Courtesy Aspen Historical SocietyFabi Benedict

Fabi Benedict1919-1997Fabienne Lloyd Benedict was born in Paris to a poetess mother and a boxing father. In her pram, she attended the Left Bank soirees of Gertrude Stein and Modigliani. As a grown expatriate in Aspen, she fell explosively in love with architect Fritz Benedict across a crowded room. That love was mutual – and for a lifetime.Fabi was renowned for her French cuisine, and her startlingly direct approach. When Fritz was slow to replace a treacherous brick floor in their kitchen, she took a pickax to it. When her hairdresser moved, she wired, “Congratulations on your new and despicable location.” She advised me sweetly that my French accent was atrocious and please not to inflict it on her. We remember her for her wry humor, astonishing marzipan creations and great heart. And for dinner parties where cockatoos and parrots flew freely through her house. They unnerved a lot of guests, but they were a luminous reflection of Fabi’s soaring spirit. Martie Sterling

Jenny Adair1851-July 4, 1937Stories abound about Jennie Adair, who operated a sawmill on Hunter Creek during the mining boom. She moved it down to the Roaring Fork River near Hallam Lake after the silver bust. Early on, she also cooked at the boarding house.Bede Harris, who lived next door to her as a boy, recounted, “Jennie had a large stove. She would put in a side of beef, as much as would fit in the oven. At mealtime she would pull the meat out, slice off what was done, and then push it back in the oven and keep on cooking it. Several days later, when there was nothing but bone left, she threw it to her two white bulldogs.”Readers of The Aspen Times relished reports of Jenny’s court appearances for blocking access to the Hunter Creek Valley and allegedly stealing windows from vacant homes. Harris also recalled that “people were always stealing her lumber … but she out-clevered them. She’d let them steal it, cut it and bring it down. Then she’d stand at the gate with her gun and make them unload it.”I like to think Jenny Adair’s spirit still haunts Aspen, roaming out from the park named for her between Hallam Lake and the Rio Grande Trail. Sara Garton

Al Pendorf1938 to presentWhat can I say? It was the ’70s. I moved into an apartment with Jack the Butcher and a third “mystery roommate.” I lived there for weeks before I ever met this other guy, but we left notes trying to figure each other out.Finally, we bumped into each other in the hall and I met Al Pendorf, a man on the go (and it was not just work). As the offseason waned (there really was an offseason then), we looked at each other one fall evening and decided to go into town to check out the “freshman class” of new winter season arrivals. Ah, thought Al, we had a freshman class but no school.That was the start of it all: Aspen State Teacher’s College, a spoof in which “the whole town is the college. Classes are taught everywhere.”Al was in the printing business (not to mention a very strange puzzle contest “business”). It was a natural fit to produce a handbook and a school paper called “The Clean Sweep.” Al, known as Dean Fulton Begley, teamed up with Slats Cabbage and Aspen State Teachers College became very real (including T-shirts, a marching band, a football team that always won by default) to all of us “students of the ’70s.”Don’t miss the ASTC alumni reunion at the Elks on Oct. 8. We are still trying to find someone who actually graduated. Maddy Lieb, Class of …Dr. Slats Cabbage “The Dr. of Fluid Mechanics” (aka Marc Demmon)1951-presentSlats was the manager for the Aspen Mine Company and announced “this will be your headquarters for the new mall construction.” He told me about the Aspen State Teacher’s College and immediately dubbed me the Dean of Destruction. I think the “Cabbage Racing Team” was the spark that made the college a reality. Slats and I walked into City Market and he was carrying a 6-inch bolt in his hands. He walked up to the produce manager and said he wanted a big cabbage.”How big?””One that will fit on this bolt!”It became the hood ornament for the “Screamin’ Eagle” No. 137 race car. ASTC was one of the cleverest ideas in America, and Slats and Al together were a formidable, hilarious team to watch. “Who the hell is Slats Cabbage?” Those who don’t know him have really missed something! Big Jim Furniss, ASTC alumnus

Tom Sardy1911-October 1990Tom Sardy was Mr. Aspen Airport. Although he was a Pitkin County Commissioner for 24 years, he couldn’t convince the other commissioners that an airport was a necessity for Aspen. So like The Little Red Hen, when he couldn’t get others to help him, he did it himself. He procured the land by negotiating a trade with owners Walter Paepcke, Jack Spachner and the county. Then when the commissioners still wouldn’t tax to build the airport, he asked everyone he knew (and didn’t know) for the money. Although he was not a big man in stature, Tom was handsome and assertive and got what he wanted. He was the town’s mortician with the mortuary in the back of his home, The Sardy House. We lived around the corner. When we bought the house, the former owners told us that the potbelly stove in the living room had burned through the floor one winter night. The family was asleep at the time. On his way to collect an old friend who had died that night, Tom had seen the flames and saved the family. As a neighbor, Tom and I vied with each other every summer to see which one of us could grow the tallest and biggest sunflowers in our alleys. It was often a tie. And, although he was often gruff with me when I had to talk to him as a reporter for The Aspen Times, he and I became friends over our sunflowers. Mary Eshbaugh Hayes

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