Friday, August 29, 2008

My Old Pal Frank

My Old Pal Frank, originally uploaded by Robbi Baba.

We ran into Frank the other night at the Plaza in Sebastopol. I seem to bump into him every 6 to 12 years or so.
Frank was my best friend in 4th grade. We were very close. His mom was a divorcee--sort of a swinger back then (was that 1969?). She went on to marry a millionaire and Frank moved up to Lake Tahoe and we lost touch.
I saw him again my sophomore year in college at UCSD. Must have been 1979? He moved into my little dorm mid term! What a surprise that was, and not altogether good. Frank seemed a little unhinged. He never bathed and finally a bunch of guys dragged him out on the lawn, stripped him down and hosed him off, because he smelled so bad. I stayed away. After a few months he dropped out, telling us that he was on his way to Israel. I heard that he got turned back at customs and had to fly home.
Fast forward to 1993 or 1994. India was pretty little and we had been living up in Eugene for a few years. One day I was walking in the park and someone called my name, in a questioning sort way. Rob Nelson??
Frank came to visit us two or three times. He was a self described hobo. A hobo with an ATM card--his mom was still married to that billionaire. But Frank lived out in the parks and wilds around Eugene. He had his sleeping roll stashed and two changes of clothes (so he could always have a clean set).
We had some interesting visits, but then one day he opened up about his belief system. He talked about the anti-christ and Armageddon and Israel and the mark of the beast being a bar code and lots and lots more. He talked and talked and talked and we were pretty much taken aback.
Our reality was mostly centered around our precious little baby girl and his scary nut job diatribe sort of hit me the wrong way. I asked him (kindly I thought) to please refrain from mentioning all that again.
We didn't see him again in Eugene.
Our next face to face was here in the park. I guess he's probably still a hobo. He's still mixed up in some sort of dark fundamentalist mental illness (he alluded to it anyway), but it was still great to see him. Good old Frank.
I guess I'll probably run into him again in 2020.

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