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And there’s more—so much more.

America and our allies were the ‘Good Guys’ who had dropped more than 2.3 million tons of food during the Berlin-airlift.

We’d beaten back an army of huge proportions.

My grandpa with four soldier sons.

And, when this generation went to war their lives were not only routed from the routine but full of uncertainty.

My dad,( Far left) his brothers and all his friends became soldiers

Of course, his sister married a soldier.

It was long ago, after WW II had ended, when my family lived in South Park (yes, really ) Long Island, a Levitt built neighborhood full of soldier survivors who teamed and beamed with confidence and pride. Weekend house parties were routine in my neighborhood and kitchen tables that abound in liquor bottles, if not a focal point, were at least always present. Laughter and celebration ruled the hours; these were the victors of a great emancipating War: these were the ones who defeated Hitler, the Nazi’s and an ideology of hate, division and  prejudice.  What could be better than that?

These were days of economic expansion in America, days to relax in or to go fishing.

Thing is, my Harvard graduating, South American traveling brother, Ed Franquemont, was at home for one of these rip-roaring party events. Bluntly, I can’t imagine a worse match: heavy drinking, WW II soldiers and my brother.

Ed (this picture long after the party in question) had just started growing a beard that he would sport the rest of his life—none of this change in how a person looked was acceptable back then.

Anyway, before long at this party, Ed had taken note of drinkin’ Denny’s slobbering denunciation of minorities and other spineless ne’er- do-wells… Tension mounted as Ed slipped in a few facts on how America was undercutting sovereign rulers in South America so U.S. companies might collect minerals, oil and other products for themselves.  Well, the roof didn’t come off our home that night, but certainly a few friendships and feelings of regard for those present slipped out our windows. That regard never came back.

On May Forth, 1970, Ohio State’s National Guard took a knee and fired upon war protesters…In a way, the clouds of this shooting were gathering in our kitchen that night..

Thing is, there’s more….

It’s been well over 60 years since the fight that night in our kitchen took place, and in retrospect I do believe much of what my liberal Harvard educated brother said was true. Listen, I always loved my dad and do to this day, though he is long gone. He was a great dad, a flower growing, hard working, happy, successful man; he’d was a Full Colonel, one who Fort Drum in New York State FLEW A MISSING MAN FORMATION for when he died. He was an honored soldier. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad and the fight that night.

Dad going to war….

With all the good qualities my dad held within his nature, he also had a few blemishes.

Dad hated blacks; lets just get that out there. In fact, our entire community tried to stop the first black family from moving into South Park. But, he also warned me, accepted but didn’t like, anything about Jews. (He took me out to dinner before I went to Gettysburg College and advised me to never marry a Jew. My objection was over heard by a waiter who came to our table side and backed me up. Thinking, that waiter got no tip.) Flat out, Dad didn’t like minorities, those down-and-out, he didn’t like Mexicans or Latino’s. IN FACT, MY DAD, LIKE EVERY MAN AT THAT WW ll PARTY LONG AGO, DIDN’T LIKE ANYONE WHO DIDN’T LOOK EXACTLY LIKE HIM.  So where did all this hate and lack of acceptance come from? Well, all I can say is my dad was born and raised in Des Moine, Iowa, and his mom used to say: “Iowa would have great weather if it weren’t for the neighboring states that stir up the storms.” Go figure–grandma, like my Dad, was a college grad.

Grandma: “Bad weather comes from other states.”

Much of our returning WW II soldiers were staunch Americans who viewed anyone but a white, American born man with suspicion at best.  They didn’t care for other countries; they didn’t want minorities cluttering-up the work place. Yes, it’s an odd realization to have; an odd way to hug the past. BUT, when you get right down to it, many Americans at the time of WW II really held much the same values purported and believed by the Nazi’s they fought! And far too many American’s still do to this day.

Of course, America was slow to get involved in WW II. Perhaps, it wasn’t the advent of Jewish concentration camps but rather the movement of Hitler’s forces toward the Middle East Oil fields that spurred the U.S. into action. I get that. But, the thought that American soldiers shared so much in common with the evil Nazi ideology makes for an uncomfortable companion today.

Today, here in America, every ideology ‘hat’ is still in the ring.

In what ring would my father’s hat fall today—I would so like to know?

And there’s more—so much more.

Hating minorities and those different looking or different thinking is still all the rage in much of America. That long ago war of killing stopped, but the war of WW II ideologies never ended.  Not ever.

Franque23

 

 

 


Pumpernickel was the most foreign thing around the neighborhood back in my childhood days. A salted Frito was the a vanguard chip and guacamole remained a word hard to pronounce or spell. Now? That long ago time resides on the far side of a poorly mark rut in the road of life.

Certainly, I grew up in a part of America awash in feel good innocence. Then, it was a time of hope for those who lived under the disappearing shadow of World War II. We were the champions of the free world; the winners.

Grandpa was proud of his four boys who all fought in WW II (Dad is second from left.)

Flash: think no computers, no cordless phones of any kind, no internet, no chat, no what’s up, no what’s anything but for phones in phone booths or in homes that featured a brand new item: a tube TV  with about 3 to 13 channels. Now, I wonder what we all did all day?

Morality was a given…

Every kid knew to cross their fingers if they were going to lie; every guy knew girls were not only softer than boys, but annoyingly smarter as well. Still, none of us perceived a battle of the sexes or a societal wrong that had to be righted. Heck no, elementary school years were filled with just people—guys I palled around with and girls I was thinking about getting to know.

Things started to change in Junior High. (1960ish). The fall out of line and get hung out to dry clicks appeared. Guys and gals mostly formed into three groups: the hoods, the sport rats and the way smart what’s up with that group.

Now, the hoods were bad people because some of them smoked cigarettes and they often wore black shirts. (Really not kidding, and I could almost add, they chewed gum in school) The sport rats, the group I belonged to, never smoked cigarettes and we wore saddle shoes.

Clearly, these huge differences were cause for great concern and animosity. Oddly this huge division between the Hoods and Sport Rats meant the gals had to decide which group to belong to and those lines once drawn rarely, if ever, changed through High School. I once ,’hit it off,’ with a gal from the hoods in history class and we became fast buddies. But, when I suggested a soda, she told me, terrified, “Oh no, I could never do that. My group would go nuts. Plus, you don’t know what I do.” So, I realized she smoked cigarettes….sad.

It was an innocent time compared to the likes of today.

Of course, I was young, free to smell the dandelions as I ran across our neighbors’ yard. I was free to imagine that near about everything America stood for and did was good and right. I was free of a bombardment of contraptions that now give us real-time access to things that are happening beyond our sight!

Please, if you are semi-young, like under 40, Imagine this: there was no news until the six o’clock T.V. broadcast; there was no minute-by-minute news of your friends, no daily breaking political sirens. Even the stock market could rally or crash without a peep until evening. Every thing, every day, was on hold until evening. People went to work without worry or care about daily events until nighttime, until they’d gone home and had a cocktail, a smoke or rest.

In many ways, the multitasking, tied to your smart phone generation is cursed with too much information.

Call me old fashion? Maybe try hiking or camping and leaving, God forbid, your smart phone at home. There’s a world waiting for you to discover, one I grew up in, a world of be here now without interruption from things you can’t change anyway.  There’s a world of freedom waiting for you but for one thing: you can’t put that smart phone down.

If the world today were to sculpt a representative statue of Mankind it wouldn’t be, The Thinker.

No, it would be a person looking down at their smart phone or taking a, ‘Selfie.’

The interactions that sooo many studies show are healthy for us—the eye contact, the smiles, the greetings—are now lost to bent heads looking at smart phones…

No, I’m not old fashion: I’m right. Put your phone down for at least one day per week and see how many eyes look your way. The worlds’ presence will once again be yours to see, and it is amazing.

Franque23 dares you to do it…

Simply amazing.

 


Long before Elvis knew he’d be a star

Or, when Chuck Berry showed the world how to play guitar on Johnny Be Good…

Yes! Even before John Wayne saved the West…

The Morgamont genes were already in motion.

Simply…Two households, both not alike in dignity,
One in fair Iowa, where we lay our scene, and then to the lake,
From ancient grudge of dogs. Socks and Specks, break to new mutiny,
Where pirate blood makes Royal hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two friends
A slew of star-cross’d cousins take each other’s beers;
Whole misadventured piteous throws in the lake
Do with their new sign bury their parents’ strife. (As if…)*

So long ago, before their division, they stood in the same row, but without a boat between them.

My dad(far right) and his sister, Virginia,(middle) had grown from among the flowers in my Grandma’s garden.

So near the Dutch Elm lined streets of Des Moines, Iowa.

And as to my father, neither he nor his dad and brother’s knew before the war what fate lay ahead for their lives and their children’s frolics. The sun shone on every face.

(My Dad, Max, is the oldest next to his dad…before WW 11)

Soon, the brothers split into different war divisions to fight for America. New uniforms were put on, new bonds were made and the flower of family grew beneath the struggle of separation.

My dad stood strong.

His sister, Virginia, met a soldier.

And during the war, the new families met at Grandma Franque’s house in Iowa, or where they could.

My mom helps at the table in Des Moines while my sister, Sharon, seems quite happy!

Here is some very early evidence of the merge to come between the Morgan pirates and Royal Franquemonts!

The die was cast, as my Uncle Mo, Aunt Virginia, and the Roland and John Franquemont group conspire to create history. My grandparents stand helpless to stop it.

My Uncle John and Aunt Donna were too happy to notice how the drift of time was tumbling..

Only the very young, Robin and myself, crying as we were so aware, foresaw the coming, Franquemont, Morgan, Morgamont was near..

Bill and Buzz Franquemont stood in shock while Jim and Joe planned their escape on bikes…

Alas, those Morgans grew a cute bunch. Robin with his Bow tie and Joe with a look that could sell any car he’d driven into the river. Claudia a looker from the start and Ginny realizing she had her hands full.

Yep, in the end, I’ve come to love each and every last one of them—and I’ve met some in far off places…like the two wearing super funny hats…

.

As it turns out, what the Morgan pirates steal best is the theft of the heart.  So back in the day, I guess the grandparents, the parents, they all knew what they were doing and they could not have laid the bonds between our stars stronger.

Maybe the night sky at Lake Bonaparte whispered the truth loud enough so we could hear.

And to think, they’re always there…

Yes, I think Lake Bonaparte can help show the light.**

 

From the old to the new. The lines will continue to grow together, and never apart.

 

On a night to remember Dave Morgan…

(around 1956)..(I’m the sexy kid in the Speedo)

We’ve come together many times at Lake Bonaparte. And of the last two times….

 

(2014)

(2018)

The full moon came over the Morgamont Dock for the first time. (July, 2018)

(Franquemont camp and dock is on the right—the Morgamont deck  is just above)

Cheers

Franque23

  • Read more Shakespeare
  • **Yes, these are actually night sky shots taken at Lake Bonaparte…Thanks for them, Ross Franquemont.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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