Larry, Frank, and Billy joined FF Fraternity together in Winter 1951. When BIlly asked Larry to contribute an article for this website, Larry selected the following article he wrote nine years ago to express his deep feelings about FRIENDSHIP.
My best friend, Frank Tung passed away five years ago on 11/15/06. I have known Frank longer than even his own immediate family – a total of 55 years since 1951 when we both worked at our first job in a summer resort in Vermont. Later we became college roommates and majored in the same discipline at MIT. We were also initiated into the same college Fraternity at the same time. In the fifties, fraternity hazing was at its height. I still remember the remark Frank made after the initiation, “If this is what they do to you when they picked you to be brothers, what happens when they don’t like you”. During college years we even chased after the same girl. But never became jealous of each other and Frank was far more successful. There is an old saying about love, “Men like to be a women’s First Love. Women like to be a man’s Last Love”. Both Frank and I shared that fortune. We proposed to our wives of over 50 years simultaneously (but separately of course) after a double date on Valentine’s Day in 1959. We were best men at each other’s wedding; Godparents to each other’s first-born son and had the same number of children and grandchildren. In terms of careers, except for a few years away in CA and MI resp., we each spent our entire adult life in Greater Boston in one job. To top it off, which two persons in the world can say that they share consecutive Social Security Numbers. Other moments we shared are too many to mention. But one example illustrates them. On the morning my wife and I were going to move into our first house, I came down with a kidney stone attack which was excruciatingly painful. I had to be hospitalized. Overnight there was a snowstorm in addition. In desperation and with two small children of 5 and 3 whom would my wife call? Frank quit work immediately and personally shoveled a path to our new house and helps settle in my wife and two small children. Thus, while we may not be brothers in blood, but certainly in name and in fact.
Finally, we retired within one year of each other. But Frank did not stop his public service. He was invited to chair a study sponsored by the prestigious National Academy of Engineering on FAA preparedness and restructuring. In his typically modest way, I don’t think he even mentioned this to me, his friend.
During retirement, we were members of a lunch club by the name of Romeo, which stands for “Retired Old Men Eating Out”. We took turns to pick a restaurant each month for a leisurely lunch from 11:30 am to past 2 pm. Members ages from 76 to 97. Thus Frank and I were at the younger end of the spectrum. The unofficial motto of the club which is also due to Shakespeare – a famous quote in which Shakespeare wrote “Isn’t it strange that “desire” outlives by so many years over “performance?” to which Frank and I always responded by “speak for yourself and not for me”. During these lunches, we talk about anything and everything, China, politics, religion, and even sex. Our first meeting next year will be at Frank’s favorite restaurant and we shall order his favorite dishes.
I think it is also fate that we never got to say goodbye to each other since I was away on an extended trip and did not even know he was seriously ill. In this sense and in my mind, he is still with us. This is only a temporary separation. So here to you, Frank. Reserve a seat at the Romeo table on the other side. I’ll be joining you in due time.
On this day of Thanksgiving and Remembrance in 2011, I am privileged to call Frank my Best Friend.