22 posts tagged frank
She won’t be pictured or have her stories told for her — those are hers to share if and when she wants. She’s ours, but her life isn’t mine to tell.
But she’s here, and we’re all great.
She has lots of people to love her, she’s had her chart run (Scorpio, Leo rising, Moon in Pisces) and is hugely charming for such a tiny girl.
And we’ve got a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Three years ago I went on a trip. I spent a weekend with a few dozen WWII vets, hearing their stories, watching them remember, and seeing what the honor of service really means. I came home to my own WWII vet, and an agonizing decision to make.
It turned out the decision wasn’t between do it or don’t — it was between fear and what I needed to do. I was at the recruiter’s office within the week. I was signed up and scheduled for a ship date to Basic Training within the month.
I was old enough at Basic that they called me “CID” thinking that I was a 21-Jump-Street style embedded secret investigator. I WISH. I left with notebooks full and the honor of being on the receiving end of this comment from a Drill Sergeant at our final dress uniform fashion show,
“Who are you? Have you been here the whole time? I ain’t never seen you.”
“Yeah, she’s the one who cries all the time.”
But in between tears, I learned how to call cadence (thank you musical theatre) and march a company of 200 (without ever figuring out my lefts and rights.) I was Student 1SG, Distinguished Honor Grad, Soldier of the Quarter, and promoted before my first rank was two years old.
Frank knew I had made it through and he got his final salute before I got my first duty assignment. You will never be able to convince me that the reason I got sent to Italy to be on the radio in the Army isn’t entirely because of the Colonel up there, directing the movement of his troop. I absolutely believe that because of him I was given a job where I could actually make a difference, a job where I met Ryan — a meeting that ultimately led me away from Afghanistan and now, that leads me on to a different path. Away from the Army.
A good officer knows how to best use his soldiers, and how to lead them. I followed orders. And I gave him my best.
Phrases I turned in along with my boots include, “Roger that,” “tracking,” “hooah,” “squared away,” “high speed,” and “too easy.” What I will keep with me is the motivation behind them, the people who taught me their meanings, and thoughts for everyone who still puts on the boots every day.
And I will forever keep what started as a trip, and ended as a journey.
(Though I never did find a “Humor in Uniform” anecdote to send to Reader’s Digest, I never got to see the WWE Salute to the Troops live, there was this — “Hey, did you hear about the one time I saluted a Sergeant INDOORS?” Ha. There’s some funny stuff in here.)
As a parting gift, they paid me for my unused leave. I’m sending it here.
Four people, stationed all over Europe, showed up to win a car this weekend. I’d called all of them to tell them they were in the running, telling them stories ranging from “I’m with Vehicle Registration,” to “I’m calling from Hot Hits Music Research.” I got to meet them all, put them on the air, and bring the whole event to radios all over the continent.
It was my last big mission, and it was a wonderful way to sign off. A big Saturday crowd, an exciting event, and unexpected recognition for a job I love doing. Finding people’s stories and using them to help make a big world, a big silence, feel smaller and friendlier.
And it didn’t escape my notice that hanging right next to my last assignment was a big “Frank’s Franks” sign. Because yes — I will take a sign as a sign.
Frank, I knew.
I know how he answered the phone, what he said for grace, how he hugged you, what he would have for lunch the days he mowed the lawn (the same sandwich on a bread board he’d have on regular days, but instead of milk, he had a beer.) I even knew the noise he made when he’d taken a break in the afternoon, and he was deciding to get up and get with the program.
And now, I wear his dog tags with mine.
But he’s not the only soldier grandfather I had.
This is my dad’s dad. Henry. He wore a different flag on his uniform, but he fought all the same.
He died when my dad was young. As well as I knew Frank, I don’t know Henry at all. Staring at this photo is intensely strange. There are all those things I feel like I should know. I don’t know what his voice sounded like or what he’d say for grace. I don’t even know if I can see myself in his face. But I want to. He’s as much of me as Frank is.
Henry and Frank, both in 1943. Their hats, both cocked the same.
I don’t know if this is where soldiers come from, but this is where I come from.
This morning, it sounds like Taps instead of Reveille.
The beach opened at our post this weekend and the European Softball Championships are here in full swing, Sultan of. And so, regional TV and radio have come to our “little slice of paradise,” to Sergeant Major a phrase.
It was without question the biggest day of the entire time I’ve been in. It was huge. And a huge lot of fun. I mean, an afternoon radio show from the beach, all MTV Spring Break whooo style? Yes.
Complete with ahem, radio gold:
Me: So! Giant Softball Player from elsewhere in Europe, what position do you play?
Slugger: I hit.
Me: I bet you do. What position do you play, defensively?
Slugger: I hit.
Grin. And our whole team pulled off a killer live TV remote. And the whole time, the whole day, I was wishing Frank was around for this. He would have gotten the BIGGEST kick out of it.
But the second our earpieces said, “And we’re clear,” ending the TV segment, the clouds broke.
And I’m pretty sure Frank was there, after all.
I’m stationed at the beach. This beach.
This means several important things including: that I should be the poster child for recruitment forever more.
And it means that I have no doubt in my heart that Frank had something to do with this. I highly recommend having guardian angels you have to salute.
And finally it means: visiting season is officially open. Come see me.
I was out tromping tonight and saw my very first Retreat. The Italian flag and the US flag came down together, and, like I do at every Retreat, I said hi to Frank.
Only this time! Also, ciao.
(Okay! Probably back to regularly-scheduled content tomorrow. I’m even tired of the oooh, pastawineitaly!!!!!!1! There are memes to be perpetuated here, people. Doing the LOLds work since 2007.)
GPOYW: The “And I see my reflection in a department store mirror…” Edition.
Okay, I know. Hear me out.
I did not grow up a Kardashian; I grew up incredibly fortunately—I’d argue more so psychically than materialistically—but I was not as spoiled as this sounds on the surface.
This is Nordstrom. Some lucky people are given a family credit card for emergencies. You know, bail, car towing, the like. My emergency credit card was a Nordstrom card. I spent hours here with Nancy, my grandma, bonding over the pursuit of finery. And Frank was never far away, patient and waiting to carry our bags.
This is my first Christmas as a Grandparent Orphan.
I’ve never been to either of their graves—I was here when Frank passed this summer, but back at Ft. Meade mowing lawns, the day of his funeral.
I saw it on Vimeo.
So this place, as epically ridiculous as this sounds, is sacred ground for me. Every time I pass the Petites section, I pay my respects to my tiny-and-ferocious grandmother. She’s there, I can feel her. And the man-chairs next to the shoe department are forever Frank.
So there might not be any Breakfast at Tiffany. But there sure as heck is Remembering at Nordstrom.