This is Frank. He is supposed to be on his honeymoon but right meow is in a pharmacy talking to me about moisturisers while waiting to get his passport renewed cos his dog chewed it. He will be heading off to the Philippines ASAP to meet his new wifey, who is already on their honeymoon without him #kwain.
He is a very nice fella with some great stories, and I thought. ‘Yeah. You’re a Maddawg faw shaw.’
Frank has had a big life, and many careers having served in the Navy for 10 years, run faculties at universities for 20 years and run reds as a taxi driver for 13 years. He has been a carer for mental health patients, spent 6 months in solitude horse-sitting, helped rebuild houses post-cyclones in Manila and was once flown to Shiraz to have a drink with the Shah of Iran’s cousin. He also knows that love at first sight is real.
So you’re English, Danish, Strayan and a foster kid?
When I was 3 months old, Dad migrated me from the UK to Holland. I never saw my mum again, but had a grand upbringing living with my grandparents, uncle and aunts. Dad was a pilot and was able to visit about three times a year. My grandma died when I was five, so Dad took me to live in Sydney (I came to Australia by ship – Titanic style), went back to being a pilot and I went to live with a nice Dutch foster family on a sheep farm.
Wow I would absolutely have daddy issues if that was me. So, after school you joined the Navy – were the sailors all your BFFs?
I don’t know what that means but tattoos were not allowed. Most of the guys were pretty ordinary, but no matter how gregarious the Navy is, life as an officer is essentially one of solitude. You have your own cabin and are flat out busy keeping navigation watches, with admin and training duties in your time off. Sleep was about 5 hours at sea. You had acquaintances but no real friends. Crews were frequently rotated and everyone was too busy to care.
What did you gain from life In The Navy?
It was exciting. Plus they sent me to the University of NSW to become the Navy’s first Arts Graduate; to the UK for weapons training for 6 months where I topped the communications course; and then 6 solid years from ship to ship on overseas tours.The Navy introduced me to Asia (my favourite continent) and God – so I have a lot to thank for my time here.
After floating around the world, you went to work at universities. Highlight memory?
The time spent with an Iranian student who needed help selecting his maths subjects. The Ayatollah had just jailed his family in Tehran, and he was crying a lot – so all I could do was listen. Quite a few years later Muhammed Masoud got into my taxi at Adelaide airport. Our recognition was instant. He told me that it was due to me that he was now associate professor of mathematics at an ACT University. This was possibly the best reward of my life and was worth every penny of the loss of income between managing a faculty and driving a cab.
That is beautiful. Speaking of.. love at first sight WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
I decided in 2013 that I was ready for a relationship. I looked up a dating website in the Philippines and within a week had met Anna. We started to develop feelings for each other. I flew to Manila to meet her and when I first saw her, my heart melted. I just knew with a deep feeling that she was the right one.. and she had the same reaction. In the taxi on the way to her home I asked her to marry me. Her response was an overwhelming yes. We married in Australia 18 months later and only now are off on our honeymoon to celebrate.
Cute Frank! I LOVE love stories. What next?
There is a church in the Philippines that needs some support – they have no windows, no doors and you have to bring your own chairs. So Anna and I are going to focus on that next.