Before I talk about Frank, I will give a quick update on life after EJ. We're doing fine. Of course we can't wait for the first letter, which probably won't arrive for another week yet. Our church pew seems very empty without EJ sitting on the end of it. But we're fine. And I've only teared up once, and that was during the opening prayer in church this morning when the person giving it (Elder W, one of the missionaries serving in our ward who EJ spent a lot of time with) said, "Bless Elder Evans in the MTC." I really wished I had a kleenex in my purse (they always disappear) so I could wipe away the stray droplets.
So to Frank.
I got to know Frank in high school during my sophomore year. I don't remember where we met (possibly in marching band. He played the baritone) but I think we decided to be friends early on that year. He was sarcastic, which appealed to me. He also knew a lot about baseball and hockey, two new interests I had discovered. He would take me to North Stars games, Twins games, and Strikers games (soccer) and fostered my interest in sports. He would quiz me on team names and divisions. He took me to numerous movies, and we went to malls. Frank liked to shop. We even went to Homecoming together my junior year.
We were never a couple, just really good friends. We remained friends even after high school. We wrote letters back and forth, and after I got married and moved to Portland, he caught up with us because his parents lived in Portland as well. He, Jim and I went out to lunch.
For a few years after that, Frank would call a couple times a year and we always spent an hour on the phone catching up.
I think the last time I talked to him on the phone was just after Matt was born, 13 years ago. And then we lost contact.
Along came facebook, and Frank and I reconnected. He would occasionally comment on my page and I on his. He remonstrated me once for posting a picture of myself with an Oakland As hat on (courtesy of Jim). Frank demanded I give the Twins equal fb exposure. I never did, but his request prompted me to actually go out and buy Jim a Twins cap. He didn't have one at the time.
Just this past week was Frank's birthday. I posted a happy birthday message to him, telling him that I wished we could go to a Twins game or a North Stars game and it would be like old times.
I got a message shortly after from one of his friends informing me that Frank had had a massive stroke just before Christmas and was now in a coma. This friend gave me another name who could possibly give me more information. This other name was of a woman with a name I recognized from high school, another one of Frank's very good friends, Julie.
Skip ahead to today--Julie set me up on a phone call to Frank. His parents have moved him to a care facility in San Jose where they live (Frank previously lived in DC). I spent half an hour talking to my old friend Frank. He couldn't talk back, but that was ok. I reminisced. I told him that when he was ready, I wanted him to call me back so we could talk baseball/hockey and when he was even more ready, he should come to MN and Jim and I would take him to see the new Twins outdoor stadium. I reminded him that he gave Katie a stuffed buffalo, a toy I thought was hilarious--this was before the beanie baby craze. Until that time, stuffed animals were mostly bears and cats, so a stuffed buffalo was radical.
Julie emailed me later, saying Frank was emotionally responsive to my call, and that before I got on the phone, he had been watching the clock, apparently waiting for my phone call. She had told him I would talk to him at 11 a.m. (CA time)
Frank, get better.