I have had several inquiries about what happened to “Little Frankie” and what he turned out to be as an adult. Since he left Nashville to attend prep school in Washington, DC, I lost track of him and did not see him again after the seventh grade. I had heard rumors from time to time that he was as wild and crazy as ever, but no one knew where he lived or what he was up to.
Yesterday, however, a dear friend who grew up in Nashville and who was also a friend of Frankie, was able to track down information. He had found an obituary online in a Nashville newspaper dated June 3, 2012, which followed Frankie’s death from cancer.
I found the obituary telling and profound. It was beautifully written by his only child (not sure if male or female) and is compelling both for what it says and what is between the lines. Here it is verbatim except for all references to names of real people, which I routinely omit to protect the privacy of people I write about:
In 1979, he married my wonderful mother, in Atlanta. I was born in 1980, his only child. Dad lived his last two decades in the foothills of the Carolinas, where he found love and a muse in a dear woman, whom we lost to cancer in 2006. My father affectionately recalled his student years at Episcopal High School (VA), Columbia and Ohio State Universities, and his years spent in The Big Apple, Europe and Australia provided fodder for many enthusiastically spun stories and ‘what not to do’ lessons. In the dark middle ages, he meddled in financial markets but regained his senses in time to publish two poetry books, a play and a memoir. A deeply philosophical and studious soul, Dad was at once poetic and pedantic, volatile and calculated. He ventured into the full and vivid spectrum of humanity, and, in his brightest moments, highlighted the divinity of us all. Of his energy, I will forward that which was of beauty and brilliance to his grandchildren; and that which was of shadow, the Angels and I will continue to crush until it is returned to a point of light once more. La Chaim, Pops! “God’s mercy/ On the Wild/ Ginger Man.”
Rest in peace, Frankie.