Robert Frankfort
Roslyn High School - Class of 1957
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"Silence is an art." (Lewis)

"the Frank" . . . real quiet, easygoing guy . . . one of the reasons for RHS's top tennis team . . . "Meagher's mob" . . . dry, wry sense of humor . . . well liked as "one of the boys."

  Bob is living in Commack, Long Island

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        When I went into the school for the first time I spoke to a guidance counselor and we looked out at the schoolyard.  There were a lot of kids and the guidance counselor said to me, “If you meet them halfway, they’ll meet you.  Welcome to Roslyn High.”

        The second month at Roslyn, I met Mike.  He was also new and, probably because he didn’t know anyone, and probably because we had so many common interests, we became friends.  He was an All-State clarinetist; I was a miserable excuse for a violin player.  My own parents made me practice behind closed doors in the bathroom.  Frisky was always trying to bite me, I guess in retaliation for the piercing sounds that emanated from the bathroom.

        Mike was a starting right fielder on the varsity baseball team in his sophomore year.  I was a fixture on the bench who was occasionally permitted to flash base running signals to players.  I did concoct a brilliantly conceived plan during a game at Eisenhower Park, whereby Coach Pollitt would flash me signals from the other side of the bench, and I would thereafter open or close the scoreboard book, which was a signal to steal a base.  Once, I was certain that Artie Greenberg could steal home, and I took it upon myself to close the book (the steal sign).  We lost the game because of that and I did not endear myself to Coach Pollitt (who was the greatest guy, but had a somewhat volatile temperament).  Was it my fault that Artie didn’t slide?  You gotta, at least, slide.

        Anyhow, because of all these common interests, Mike and I did become friends.
        And there was Shelly and Ashwick.  Sometimes Frisky (who was a great athlete in his own right, but deluded himself thinking he was the Johnny Unitas of the dog world) would join the four of us for a really competitive touch football game in my backyard:

Frisky, after finally escaping Coach’s doghouse for refusing to play on special teams, returns to the lineup.  Despite a still sore throwing paw, Frisky disdains last second tying field goal attempt, lines up on wrong side of scrimmage line to create confusion, and goes for broke.  Frisky barks out the old Hail Mary play in which Shelly streaks down the sideline while Ashy distracts Mike claiming he just lost a $100 bill. Click on Photo to Enlarge

        I remember a big red-headed, freckle-faced kid named Johnny Joyner who followed me into my house when I first moved to Roslyn around Thanksgiving, and when I opened the refrigerator, the first words he ever said to me were:  “My name is Johnny.  Can I have a turkey sandwich?”  Johnny fascinated me.  He was a cross-country runner on the track team and used to run in the Old Mackey estate and told me that he loved to run because it made him feel close to nature.  He told me he would sometimes close his eyes while he ran and got close to nature.  I can’t say I was surprised when he ran into a tree one day and knocked himself out.

        I could go on, but you all have your own memories, which are to be treasured or forgotten, depending upon your own perspective.  I look back on Roslyn as part of a jigsaw puzzle.  And when I am able to place the Roslyn High School piece into place, I always smile.

WAGER:  My Youth.


            Mike had said to me at my wedding that all he wanted was a simple life.  I didn’t understand what he meant until much later.

            For me, it’s about friends.  Pursuit of dreams, some of which are clearly unattainable.  Coming home at night, relaxing, reading, making excuses to Barbara why it is not a good idea to play the DVD (because I have no idea how to work the damn thing).  Teaching Mitch and Nick, ages 9 and 11, to sing along with me, from Spamalot:
        “Always look on the bright side of life (whistle).
        Always look on the right side of life (whistle).
        Life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it, life’s a laugh, and death’s a joke it’s true, you’ll see it’s all show, keep ‘em laughing as you go, just remember that the last laugh is on you.”

        The three of us become totally convulsed, slapping high-fives on each other, and then singing the whole thing again.  And their Mom, Jody, coming into the room says to me, “Thanks Dad.”  Jody likes to keep the household free of any four letter words and also has a tendency to be a little sarcastic.  The three of us slink away.

        Brianna and Lindsey (ages 5 and 6) come over to me, out of the blue, and hug me.  Eric, age 8, with his big blue eyes, looks up at me and says in front of a room full of people:  “Why do you have hair in your ears, Poppy?”

        Gary and Jody each have two boys, one girl and one dog.  They’re all, even the dogs, about the same ages and they’re the closest cousins you’ll ever meet.

        I endorse, with all my heart, the rubber ball theory.  Life is a game in which you juggle four balls.  The balls are called “work,” “family,” “friends” and “integrity.”  You have to keep all of them in the air.  However, you come to realize that work is the only true rubber ball.  If you drop it, it will bounce back.  But the other three balls:  “family,” “friends,” and “integrity” – they are made of glass.  Drop any one of them and it will shatter; never to be reconstructed and to remain with you at 3:00 a.m. in the morning when your head is on the pillow but you cannot sleep, a deprivation of your whole being.(1)

        So, I like what I do, but you will not hear job-related stuff from me.


Speak to me.  But I couldn’t.

“I’m not going to leave until you kiss me.”

Compassion, kindness, reassurance.  Soft voices, seeming to float above and around me.

Barbara:  Always by my side; upbeat; efficient; an actress…hurting inside.

Gary:  Forges ahead and doesn’t let me dwell.  Need one son/friend?  Gary.
Jody:  Grasps my hand.  Always had my heart.

Wait:  I can move the pinky a little bit…I think.

Massachusetts General Hospital.

Nighttime/daytime, pretty much the same.

Jesse appears.  Silhouetted in the doorway.  “I heard you were doing okay.  I had to see for myself.”  The silhouette is gone.  I close my eyes again.  Five hours each way from home to say twelve words.

So many friends, so much caring.

That was the beginning.

One year passes:  Brendan, age 11, “You’re doing good, Poppy.”

WAGER:  There will be sunshine, even if it is raining.


They used to call me “The Frank.”

The Frank:       “OBJECTION, Judge!”

The Judge:       “On what basis?”

The Frank:       “So that I don’t get complacent.  So that I can keep pushing myself to try and stay sound of body and mind.  So that I can be there with/for Barbara, the kids, my friends.”

The Judge:       A crusty old guy, nodded almost imperceptibly, and said:  “Objection sustained, counselor.  Please proceed.”

… and, with the grace of God, I will.

The WAGER:  Good health and, when the time comes  . . . a smooth ride up.


        The author lives in Commack, Long Island, with his beautiful wife, Barbara, who the author affectionately sometimes refers to as “The Little Woman.”  Barbara likes almonds, returns clothes to stores very often, snoops around people’s backyards (she is a licensed Investigator), swims 80 laps a day in the summer, is the author’s harshest critic, is the author’s most fervent supporter, and is really nice.

        The author still plays a fair amount of tennis, very rarely wins, and has been unsuccessfully attempting (for the past two months) to set the time on his cell phone.  The author likes to look upon himself as a “Man For All Seasons” but Barbara may have a somewhat different perspective, because she likes to keep the author on an even keel and has occasionally referred to the author as a “pompous ass.”

        Editors Note:  The author has never played Texas Hold ‘Em and, therefore, gives special thanks to John Scarney, renowned guru of Casino Gambling.  Mr. Scarney advises of the following:  The Flop:  First three cards dealt face up and placed in the middle of the table.  The Turn:  The fourth card dealt face up and placed in the middle of the table.  The River:  The fifth card dealt face up.  The author believes that the fifth and final card, in life, is actually dealt face down.

        The author also believes that when things get tough, you might as well push your chips to the middle of the table and say:  “All in.”
        The author is extremely fond of similes, but does not believe that he is qualified to further expound upon the intricacies of the Game of Life.

Readers comments:  It brought back one of my worst memories.  I was pitching against Oyster Bay and went into the last inning with a no-hitter.  For some ungodly reason, Coach Pollitt brought in Frankfort to play second base.  I immediately saw that he was only wearing one sock.  I heard him say to my shortstop, Hank Epstein, that wearing one sock is his trademark.  I got two guys out and I’m one pitch from immortality.  Then my worst fear happens.  A slow ground ball to Frankfort.  He ambles to the ball like he has all the time in the world, and casually flips the ball to first base.  Safe.  No hitter gone.

        By the way, the so-called bio is complete drivel.  If I see him at the Reunion, I swear, I’ll punch him out. - Pudgie W.

        I have known The Frank for over fifty years.  In fact, we are both attorneys.  That is where the similarities end.  I see The Frank in the hallways of Court, reading the sports section of the New York Post, changing into his golf outfit in the Court parking lot and telling clients:  “Don’t worry, if you lose, we can always appeal.”  His slogan for hustling new clients is:  “Your pain, my gain.”  So much for The Frank telling me he’s a sensitive guy. - Neil Abelson

        I didn’t understand one word of it.  What was the point?  I’m going to tell the Warden to take it off the shelves.  I also believe that Frankfort’s notation in the bio that he is running a prisoner half price special to purchase the bio, is, in my opinion, highly unethical.
                Stella J. Smackowitz,
                Inmate/Assistant Librarian
                Federal Correctional Institution (FCI)
                Danbury, Conn.

If there was ever a “gotcha”, Bob Frankfort got me.  Not knowing him all too well at RHS, I wasn’t privy to his wry and dry humor and fell hook, line and sinker to his assertion that he was visiting Stoller this Spring to recuperate from his experience at “recovery”.  “ Recovery from what?”, I wondered.  I worried that one of the nicest guys in our class had succumbed to alcoholism, drugs, the ponies or (oh, my God) chronic oral diarrhea.  So, I prayed for him - And I let him know I was praying for him.  Embarrassed that he was “not worthy” of prayers because he “WAS ONLY KIDDING”, he ‘fessed-up.  Bob – you owe me one and I’ll collect at the reunion. (I love champagne!) - Anon.


        I can’t even remember what movie I saw last weekend.  But, I lived at 121 Salem Road, Roslyn Heights, my telephone number was MA 1-2790.

        I lived with my Dad, Charlie Frankfort, my Mom, Roslyn Frankfort and my adopted brother, Frisky Frankfort.


Barbara and Bob, attorney and investigator respectively, on a business trip, working on a complex case. Click on Photo to Enlarge


        My Dad was the first Jewish pressman for the Brooklyn Eagle, took me to Dodger games and The Golden Gloves when he became Advertising Manager for Martin’s Department Store in Brooklyn, and was the toughest, most gentle man I’ve ever known.  The first time he ever laid eyes upon my Mom, he knew he was going to marry her.  The irony is, that the first time he ever laid eyes upon Barbara, he knew I was going to marry her (and it was only our third date).

        My Mom was beautiful, “dreamy”, loved to write song music, and spent a good part of her time worrying about me.

        As far as Frisky Frankfort, I graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and Frisky flunked out after his second semester at Terrier University.  Despite the further fact that I always helped out around the house, and Frisky not only ruined furniture but also ran away from home on many occasions, my Mom favored Frisky.  She would buy Frisky extravagant pullovers and boots (four at a time) of all different, beautiful colors in the winter.  I would get Frisky’s hand-me-downs.

        Go figure.

Bob Frankfort January, 2007

(1) Adopted from Sam’s Letters to Jennifer, James Patterson, Warner Books.