Chris, Mom wanted me to try to email you about this. Bob Frazee died on Sunday. Mom thinks it would be a good idea for you to send a card to Edie Frazee at (address withheld) I hope you get this message. The wake is tonight and the funeral is tomorrow morning.
Bob Frazee died. My grandfather's best friend. The guy who knew him best, on that Guy Level. The Guy Who Fought in a War with My Grandfather. Gone. Died. Deceased. The end. Buenos Noches. I don't know if I ever posted anything about this, but my grandfather, one Joe Sastre, was my freakin' hero growing up. He was the Greatest Guy Ever, I swear. He was six-foot-one with silver hair, still muscular and in fantastic shape his whole life -- well, at least 'til the four months or so before he died. It came on so quickly and so sudden. It shocked the hell out of me how someone who seemed so Herculean, so big, so strong, so worldy in a way not one of us will ever be... so utterly freakin' cool... could just go to hell in a matter of months. When I was young -- very young, we're talking before I could even start kindergarten, My Grandpa Joe (we'll call him Pop from here on out. That's what I always called him. And hell, I still call him that now when it's late at night and I ain't got no one to talk to and I know he's listenin') and my Grandmother, the Saint Rosalie Sastre (we'll just call her Gram, cuz that's what I still call her to this day.) ... well, when my parents were both workin' I'd spend the days with Pop and Gram... watching Zoom (weird back-story, I actually work with one of those Zoom Kids now) and 321 Contact and Sesame Street. Gram would show me how she made The World's Most Amazing Paella... while Pop... well, Pop would invite Bob Frazee over and have some drinks. I didn't really know what was goin' on. I was too busy eatin' my own boogers and watching Big Bird do something stupid. And in the years to follow, my mother gave birth to my brother, David, who was born without a Corpus Collosum. For you non Bio-majors out there (not that I was ever a Bio-major myself) -- the Corpus Collosum is the little neurological bridge that connects one side of the brain to the other. My brother, he doesn't have one. He has two halves of his brain which don't connect. And through the first, oh, eight years of his life, that created some major problems. You see, the two halves of the brain, they have to connect in order to survive. Left Brain must communicate with Right Brain. That's the way of the world. But when you have no TISSUE connecting them... well, it creates one hell of an electrical storm in the brain. Left Brain and Right Brain are firing electrical synapses left and right at each other -- but they're traveling through space. This caused years and years of intense electrical storms in my brother's brain. Seizures the likes of which you've never seen. He saw all the big name specialists in that field -- not because we could afford it, but because they were interested in HIM, because no one had ever seen the likes of this before. We were told Dave wouldn't live past six -- eight, if we were lucky. We were told he would never clap his hands. He would never talk. He would never be able to do anything for himself, and that we'd have a vegetable on our hands for the few short years he would live. I am -- no, I'm more than proud -- I am overjoyed, happier than a pig in shit -- elated beyond elation -- to say that my brother David is now twenty-two years old. And while he's not like you and I -- David is super-fine A-OK and the happiest human being you will ever meet in your life. He can write. He can type. He can talk. And most importantly, he can love. I try to go home to see my family at least once a month. We're wicked tight, my family. But I haven't been back to see them since August. And I miss them. My parents, they're wonderful people. And Dave, well, I love him more than anything in the world. Whenever I come home, we hang out and watch sports and wrestle and play Playstation games all day. Then at night I go off to see my Connecticut friends. I usually don't get Back Home 'til around 2 or 3 in the morning, and he's waiting up, sittin' on his bed listening to Sports Radio. And the second I get in the door, he flies out of his room to tell me all the goings on in the sports world. So I sit up with him for a while listening to Sports Radio, talking about the Mets transactions (even though my parents and I are dyed-in-the-wool Red Sox fans... Dave, being in CT, is bombarded with New York Media, and this is what he knows) and how the Knicks suck and this and that... and I sit with him until he falls asleep. My parents... they're getting old. They're not old yet, but they're getting there. And when they do... well, Dave. He lives with me then. It's like I was born with an Inheritant Son. And, you know what? If I ever have children of my own, there's no one I'd rather have for my own son than Dave And I realized, at a very young age, that no matter what happened from here on out, it was Me and Dave against The World. Ever since I was a little kid, I understood, Dave was "The Retard". Luckily, Dave was smart enough (his IQ, despite all his problems, is THROUGH THE ROOF. The kid's a genius.) and charming enough that no one ever made fun of him. Rather, they thought he was cool 'cuz he was able to overcome all this crap and could relate to others -- well, he related better to "his peers" in school better than I ever did.
Yeah, Dave's my hero. Just like Pop was.
This wasn't supposed to be about Dave. But I'm a little emotional tonight, and since I was on the topic, well, I ran with it. What I was getting at was this... When Dave was very young, and I was a little bit older... well Dave would be in the hospital for weeks on end. My parents would stay overnight with him in the hospital, so I wouldn't see them all that much. I'd stay with Pop and Gram. And Bob Frazee. He'd either be over Pop and Gram's, or Pop would take me to the bar where he'd have a few with Bob Frazee. And Bob would always try to cheer me up. He'd tell me jokes. (The jokes would get dirtier as the night got later and later.) But most of all, he'd assure me that my grandfather was the best guy in the world, and being from his bloodline, that I'd grow up to be a hell of a guy. Bob was there for everything. He was there when I made my first communion. He was there when we celebrated the fact that I was the first person to ever breed Scats in aquaria. (another story for another time). The last time I ever talked to Pop was when I told him that I was accepted into NYU's Tisch School of/for the Arts as a drama major. Pop went into the hospital a week later, and then died. At my high school graduation party, Bob told me just how proud Pop was of me, that I proved everyone wrong and that I could, when I set my mind to it, accomplish whatever it was I wanted to. Bob was Pop by Proxy, and when I got to talk to Bob in my later years, it felt just like that. That I was talking to Pop through his best friend.
At Bob's funeral, they layed a Red Sox cap on his casket. He loved the Sox like I love the Sox. I only wish he could've lived to see them win a World Series. Think about That, Yankees fans, when you get to celebrate twenty-seven of those in a lifetime. Bob's funeral was tonight. I talked to my mom afterwards. She told me, at the Wake the night before, somebody (she doesn't know who it was) said a little prayer for Bob, and afterwards, very audibly, said "Hey, say hi to Joe for me." "Hey, say I to Joe for me." I burst into tears immediately. And I don't cry in front of my mom. Say hi to Joe for me... How I wish I could do that myself. It's been eight and a half years since my grandfather died. Tonight, his best friend in the world is joining him. And let me tell you, there's gonna be a lot of drinkin' goin' on in heaven tonight. And I'm jealous that I can't be there for it.