i had a death dream last night...

it seemed to be a pleasant dream...a high school reunion...people milling about that looked familiar but yet i just couldn't place them...than out of the blue i saw him, frank corona. he was of european spanish decent, handsome & likeable features, always with a smile. i rushed to him, amazed that he still looked so young. i tried to find my husband to introduce him, but he wasn't there. frank then introduced me to his grown son who i swear looked older than him.

i remember when frank and i were in high school he had befriended my brother who was in the varsity "B" team (that's for the boys too short & slight for the "VARSITY 'A' TEAM") with him. frank would drop in unannounced sometimes...and me being the shy akward child would run into my bedroom & hide from him. later in our junior year i started to breakout of my shell once i talked my mom into contacts and my chubby body started to charge into a more "girly" one.

i guess because frank had been a regular visitor to our house & now hung around both me & my brother, he figured it would be okay to walk me home from a football game...we stopped for a soda at the "foster's freeze" and then walked slowly (in the dark) back home...his hand at the small of my back...first time i ever got flip-flops in my tummy and my knees buckled...we didn't kiss, but he held my hand.

when i got home, my mom questioned me where i had been...it was still early and i wondered why she seemed upset.
later on frank told me that my mom had come over to his house & talked to his parents and said it was best for frank not to see me anymore except at school, as friends.

my brother asked me what i did...because mom was pissed and told him not to invite frank over again. omg!...talk about not knowing what to think...but on that day i found out how much of a racist my parents were...i was so ashamed.

frank & i did as our parents wished and stayed away from each other...but it must have seemed strange to him as it did for me, but i would sneak around on dates with non-japanese boys all the time after that perfect evening with him...indirect rebellion i guess. in our senior year,

i was dating secretly a fresnman boy who i knew i would gladly leave behind for college...frank was in a serious steady relationship with a beautiful mexican girl that his parents liked very much. by a funny coincidence, we had both stopped in at the "foster's freeze" for a snack...and danced about the subject of "what if.." we continued to see each other after that football game long ago?
....at the end of this dance we realized our different paths were okay...but as he left to see his girlfriend, and turned back to wave good-bye...i answered the question posed under my breathe...i would be that loving yet scared girlfriend, pregnant with his child, knowing he would be gone in less than 72 hrs. to a war, he felt honor-bound to fight in.

(back to my dream)...frank & i made some small talk...his older-looking son seemed distracted & didn't turn to face me much & i never did see my husband nearby which seemed odd at a reunion....when i woke up, i was super groggy and remembered the dream...
i remembered that frank died in 1969 in one of the first conflicts when nixon oked the expansion of the war into cambodia. i believe he was in charge of the machine gun in a helicoper that was shot down.

his beautiful girlfriend, crying, holding her newborn in church... i never found out if it was a "boy" or "girl"...i never made it to the funeral...never been able to forget frank and only accepted his death when i saw his name on the "wall"....30 years later.


Liz said...

I followed the link from Facebook to your blog.
This older post on your blog really hit home. Frank and I were also friends in high school. I live in Dinuba now and his parents have been my neighbors for over 30 years.
He has a nephew who was named after him who now is in the military.
I taught "little" Frankie Corona how to swim back in the 70s and he is a friend of my daughter's.
Pretty amazing, isn't it? I see his father almost every day and think of Frank often.
Liz Kirchman Vasquez

Ellen said...

omg liz...how amazing you found this old entry at all.
i'll always remember frank..he was so personable,an all-round great guy & hard worker...i always thought he could have been a community organizer because he had such a "winning" way about him.
do you know what happened to his girlfriend & baby? and his little brother?