Frank Fax Facts
Volume XVI, No. 42
Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011
There should be a law banning holidays on Saturday and Sundays!
Not only would it give our poor overworked and underpaid Postal Workers more paid holidays, but it would give my poor old worn-out brain less reason to call the wrong days Saturday or Sunday!
Having staggered off my soapbox, I will take this opportunity to wish each of you a prosperous and happy 2011. There! I finally got it right.
Most of the week has been devoted to lying in bed and trying to work up some sort of energy. I truly think I am in advanced stages of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Thursday, I managed to drive to Father Gorman’s, where we went in his Lexus to have lunch at the Red Lobster. We had identical lunches: blackened catfish, with Baked potato and Cole Slaw. Oh, and do not forget those sinfully wonderful garlic-cheese biscuits. We keep them running back to the kitchen for refills all the time we are there.
When I decided to give up driving after dark, a very dear friend of mine, Mike Davis, began to make sure I did not have to give up one of our favorite things to enjoy together: going Dutch for a good restaurant dinner once a month. It was his idea, and he always showed up right on time and more often than not, insisted I say where we should eat. We both liked pretty much the same types of food, so there was never any disagreement,
In August, I was invited to a beautiful birthday party at his daughter’s lovely home: he was 70 that day.
Sadly, his friend, Jimmy, called on New Year’s Eve to give me the sad news that Mike had to be rushed to Providence Hospital, with a massive heart attack. He died on the operating table.
He was a fine man, and always treated me with respect, kindness, and dignity. He often took me to mass, when I did not have to play at St. Edmund’s. He was a devout Catholic. I will miss him dreadfully, but smile when I remember the fun we had together, and realizing that he is in a far better place now
We surely are glad to have Daddy back home with us. Two gorgeous “chicks” like we are should definitely not be left alone too long!
Signed, Trudy II and Gingeroo
Frank Imbragulio’s School Days
Grade 8 (1941-42)
Mrs. Cleveland handed me my report card at the end of September, and it wasn’t until I reached home that I discovered that the old witch had given me straight C’s, instead of the straight A’s to which I had become
accustomed over the years. Mama’s eagle eyes caught the discrepancy at once.
“Why are your grades so awful?” Mama asked, aghast.
I walked over and took the card from her hand and was so upset when I saw every single subject with a C by it, that I was ready to go straight back to the school house to demand that she change those grades at once.
Meanwhile, Mama was trying to come up with a reason for the lower-than-usual grades.
“Do you think somebody else might have filled in the grades for her?”
I looked at the card more carefully. “No- that’s her handwriting,” I said. “It looks the same when she writes on the blackboard as when she writes on paper.”
“Well, I certainly want you to let her know that she has made a mistake!”
”Don’t worry. I will!”
I made sure Anna got me to school well in advance to the time our class started. I walked straight up to the hated woman’s desk and said, extending my report card with my right hand, “I think there’s been a mistake.”
She didn’t do more than glance at what I was holding, but said, “No. I didn’t make a mistake. But I grade on the curve.”
‘What does that mean?” It was a new term to me
“That means a certain percent of the class gets A’s. the next group gets B’s, and so forth.”
“But why did I get C’s? I make the best grades in this class!”
“Son, I’m still the teacher here, and I will grade any way I want to.”
I didn’t say another word, but from that instant on, I was out to prove to her how totally unjustly she had treated me. Mama agreed with me that if I had taken the case to Mr. Sumrall (I was well aware that his own daughter knew exactly what was going on in our class) he was so mealy-mouthed that he would have only agreed with her. Suffice to say, no other C’s or B’s ever appeared on the next seven report cards. I often wondered, however, just how that old cow could justify what she had done. It was a simple matter of racial discrimination: and this time, color had nothing to do with it.
Meanwhile, my friendship with the Redman family began to take a more prominent place in my activities. It became commonplace for me to be invited by Mrs. Redman to stop by for a game of Authors at least three afternoons a week. This was a delightful game that I had never heard of, but was simply a variation of that old childhood favorite, “Go Fishing”. The special deck of cards had a different author’s picture as well as the titles of four of his (or her) best-known works on four cards. Nathaniel Hawthorne, I learned, was the author of “The Scarlet Letter”, as well as “The House of the Seven Gables”, “The Marble Faun” and “Twice-Told Tales”. All the cards were dealt, then, we’d take turns asking for the cards we lacked for completing our 4-card groups. Not only was the game fun, the cards were very attractive as well as informative, and I learned more about literature than almost any English class I ever had.
One afternoon, just before Halloween, I was invited for a candied apple making session. Not only had I never tasted one of these prettier-than-delicious treats, but I certainly enjoyed seeing Mrs. Redman directing her daughter and son in the actual creation of them.
Rosemary Sumrall had found some very pretty little plastic jugs (called Celluloid back then). They were all in brilliant colors, and were so inexpensive that she had bought six of them. She gave me three and suggested that I start a club for Jackie, Louis and myself. She had just told me that she, Beth Carley and Mary Beth Lott had formed a club that they were calling, “Just Us Girls”, which she had written with black India ink on their three Jugs. “Why don’t the three of you start one called ‘Just Us Gents” and we’ll wear the same Jugs?”
I was just silly enough, at this stage of my life, to think this very cute and sort of modern.
And so, between the Redmans and Rosemary Sumrall (and, of course, Jackie and Hugh Mack Walley (who always had to give all of our teacher’s absurd name when he mentioned her at all) I managed to have fun and enjoy the either grade in spite of Cleopatra Roebuck Scarborough Cleveland. The only sad thing about it was that we moved to Ellisville the next morning after my graduation from grade school.
I will never forget that last night in the town George and I loved so much: I went to Josephine’s theater to see Ann Sheridan and James Cagney in a Warner Brothers comedy called “Torrid Zone” (yes: I just checked and that was the title, but I had forgotten that Cagney was the costar and everything about the film but it’s title. I feel certain the reason I still remember that, after more than seventy years, is that something made me very thirsty during the night, and I had to get up for a drink of water. We had always had to get our drinking water (as well as the water for washing our clothes) from a spring near the town, because Richton water was so rusty it was awful. Daddy had moved our refrigerator the day before, so what I had to deal with was a bunch of wine jugs full of warm water from Coulter’s Spring, without a glass or any ice! I was so disgusted I could hardly wait to get to Ellisville where everything would be more or less back to normal.
*The many other authors (whose names I remember vividly) included Edgar Allan Poe (“Pit and the Pendulum”, “The Devil in the Belfry”, “Fall of the House of Usher” and “Annabelle Lee”) Louisa Mae Alcott (“Little Women”, “Little Men”, “Under the Lilacs” and “Rose in Bloom”) James Fenimore Cooper (“The Pathfinder”, “The Last of the Mohicans”, “The Deerhunter”, “?”) Sir Walter Scott (“Ivanhoe”, “Kenilworth”, “The Lady in the Lake” and ? ) Shakespeare (“Romeo and Juliet”, “Macbeth”, “King Lear” and “Julius Caesar”) Mark Twain (“Tom Sawyer”. “Huckleberry Finn”, “The Prince and the Pauper”, “A Connecticut in King Arthur’s Court”) Robert Louis Stevenson (“Kidnapped”. “Treasure Island”, “The Jungle Book”, “A Child’s Garden of Verse”)
(My apologies if I have some of the works of these authors given credit to the wrong author. I have no encyclopedia handy and am too computer illiterate to check on the Internet.)