World War II was over and like thousands of other GI’s, Bill Frank came home and lunged into the American Dream: house, car, and family. He married Lillian Weisberg, daughter of Orthodox Jewish chicken farmers from Lakewood, NJ. In the summer of 1946, their son Steve made his debut. Steve came early, premature and looking very much like a chicken (so he was told). He was an impatient embryo, a characteristic that would permeate his tenure as a human.
A precocious, hyperactive child, I could have been the poster boy for A.D.D. but it hadn’t been invented yet. So they just called me an “itch”.
Lakewood High School offered a unique melting pot: races, nationalities, religions, social levels all blended together in complete oblivions to their differences. It instilled a comfortability with every aspect of society that would serve me well throughout life. In spite of all the mischief, cuts, suspensions, and missed homeworks, I still managed to get into Trenton State College, an institution dedicated to turning out, of all things, teachers!
Trenton State found me joining Theta Nu Sigma, a fraternity devoted to creating havoc on campus and quite possibly the inspiration for the movie “Animal House”. So perfectly adapted to this environment that I was elected president in my last year.
Teaching English back at Lakewood High followed college for the next ten years. Although I began to hone my writing skills, the formality and rigidity of forty-five minute periods and faculty meetings didn’t mesh with my internal wiring. I left to find work as a landscaper. Working outside, with no supervisors, with no bells, with no cafeteria duty or incoherent essays to grade, I found a comfort level. The hard work was an acceptable trade-off for the freedom of the outdoors. The downside was the absence of any cerebral stimulation. I began to write and, with the collaboration of a musical composer, wrote “Howe and Hummel”, a musical comedy about two real-life scandalous lawyers in turn-of-the-century New York. It got as far as the New York Music Theater Festival but never got picked up by a producer.
During this time, I wrote a bunch of songs. One of them, “Follow the Laughter”, was a kind of autobiography of a guy who blew one conventional opportunity after another to enjoy the more comical moments of life.
Then in July of 2016 – an unsuspected break! I submitted a Letter-to-the-Editor in the Asbury Park Press. The next day the vice-president of The Press, sensing a “voice of the common man”, called and asked me to become their weekly columnist. It opened up the creative outlet that had remained dormant for so many years. “Frankly Speaking” was born and soon hundreds, sometimes thousands, of readers were identifying and enjoying my takes on the little absurdities of life. Now, while I blog my brand of humor in “Frankly Chatting”, I’m developing my first book, “Happy Christmas, Merry Hanukkah”, the story of a mischievous twelve-year old semi-orthodox Jewish kid in Lakewood, NJ. Wonder where that idea came from.