Frankie Pratt – A dog of the first water
Pop and Gram met about 1925 when they were about 18 years old. They dated for a couple of years, and then married in April 1927 just after Pop turned 20 years old. Gram was six months older than Pop, and throughout their marriage she took a lot of teasing about being an older woman!
The little information I have about their courtship is from the tape recording we made with Pop, so once again – in his own words:
I met Gram at a dance. We met through a mutual friend, Jay Hardman’s wife, Tootie. She wanted Madalene to go down to this dance to meet Frankie Pratt who was supposed to be a dog of the first water! Well, I had a motorcycle and two cars, and it made my mother mad.
I had a brand new 1925 Ford Roadster. It cost $425. I had a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a Chevrolet touring car. After all, a man about town – you have to have wheels!
Madalene came down to the dance, and I was stag. We had a lot of dance [couldn’t understand what he said] in those days – no beer or anything. I had a girl out on the fire escape, and I wouldn’t let her back in the dance until she kissed me! Of course, she didn’t fight me too hard. That’s where I met my wife.
I was introduced to Madalene by Tootie. She wouldn’t go out with me for a long time. Her father wouldn’t let me meet her. We went around together for a couple of years. I used to go out there to her house when I was just monkeying around on my motorcycle. But when I wanted to take her out, I took my roadster. Her parents were Mormons, and her father was just an old fogie, and he didn’t believe in that sort of thing [motorcycles.]
In a letter to my mother, Pop’s sister, Nonie wrote a little about Pop as a young man: “I know Frank had a motorcycle and rode it recklessly. He went out to see your Mom (Madalene) and passed a car, fell off his bike and slid on his arms, and had them both bandaged up. Anyway, he couldn’t even dress himself. I don’t know who unzipped, or probably unbuttoned, his pants!”
And so the wedded bliss began!