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Frank’s Amazing Trip

July 3, 2020 | Common Ground | 2 Comments

“If you can love people, and have people love you, that’s success!”


Frank is a straight shooter who doesn’t mince words. At 83 his voice still carries a spark of youthful mischief, but the heart of his message was, well, all heart.


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Hear how Frank’s dog Sam introduced us.
 

Living in Florida’s 3-2-1 (blastoff!) area code for 25 years, Frank has watched rockets light up the sky and giant crocodiles emerge from the pond on his property, but his ultimate Florida favorite is all the free parking. Raised in the Bronx, he went to Roosevelt H.S. in Yonkers where the assistant principal dubbed Frank and his 2 friends (aka The Ox and The Bear) the worst trouble makers the school had ever seen.

Make your work your play, you’ll always be happy.

“Everybody was crazy, we were mischievous but we really just enjoyed a good time. Today we put too much pressure on kids, they’ve all got to be doctors or lawyers, you know? The important thing is to find out what your gift is. Hey, the Ox became a H.S. principal!

I started out as a high end reinforced iron worker, and ended up a supervisor for major construction sites all over NYC: high rise apartment buildings, underground subway work, schools in Queens…108th street, Ozone Park near the Bergen Hunting and Fishing Club. That was John Gotti’s club! It’s been an amazing trip.

What’s the meaning of life anyway?

You don’t take nothing to the grave with you except your story so you gotta make the grade somewhere because you can’t bullshit God. No matter what you’re doing you gotta look up and say, “Pop, am I making you happy?” People say “our father” but if you take that personal he is your father, and he’ll never ask you to do anything you can’t because he knows how many cards he put in your deck.

The hardest thing I had to do…

Tomorrow will be my 49th anniversary being sober. I had a nice house, had the 5 kids, but I knew I couldn’t stay sober living with my first wife. I blame everything on myself. I was successful at work, but one drink was too many and a thousand wasn’t enough. When I went that day I bought the whole package, 12 steps and all. I made a complete surrender of my life.

It’s amazing when you know you’re loved.

I got remarried in 1974, and I’m lucky to have a beautiful wife who still makes me happy after 45 years of marriage! She was managing a restaurant in the Americana Hotel in Manhattan and all the big celebrities used to go to her restaurant. People like Joe DiMaggio and Robert Redford used to ask her out and she marries me, a construction worker with 5 kids. I’m as much in love with her now as I ever was and she feels the same way. I have a successful marriage, children who love me, and I have the ability to give and receive love. To me that’s what makes you successful.

My 80th birthday party was in the clubhouse at Belmont Racetrack. I love the horses, love watching them run – you don’t even have to bet to enjoy the day. I’ve been to racetracks all over the country, but a lot of people at my party had never been and it blew their minds! I had about 65 people there – friends from high school even. I think we’re all still close because we grew up at a unique time…give us a bat and a ball and we were gone. You know the old saying when the street light come on you come home? Kids today they’re with their phones, there’s no conversation. And that’s how people are today – isolated, like a prisoner of this thing. But anyone can change, you know what I’m saying?”

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Joseph Brauninger
Joseph Brauninger
1 day ago

Would love to read more?