Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
Today December 27, would have marked our father, Gerald Roland Frank’s 82nd birthday. It’s hard to believe Daddy has been gone for nearly 18 years. When we reflect on the impact that he had in his short 64 years, and the people who still to this day stop us and say, “Hey aren’t you Gerald Frank’s daughters?”, we revel in the legacy and the history of who he was.
Today, in honor of his birthday, we want to share some of the lessons that he taught us and that we still live by to this day. To understand the complicated visionary that our father was, let us share some of his history…
Daddy was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1931. In the late 1940’s, he lied about his age, so that he could avoid the draft and go to college. Unfortunately at 16, he was wearing green and ended up at Ft. Lewis, Washington’s Army base.
A talented, self taught musician, Daddy toured for a time with Duke Ellington. In the book, Jackson Street After Hours, Gerald Frank is listed as one of Seattle’s premiere drummers. Daddy was playing with The Gerald Frank Trio at a beauty pageant, when he caught a glimpse of the newly crowned Ms. Bronze, our mother, Theresa.
Our parents married in 1956, and started building their real estate business.
In addition, Daddy never lost his love for music. To that end, he and our mother opened and operated their nightclub, The Pink Pussycat in downtown Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square District. Famous acts such as Ike and Tina Turner, Dizzy Gilespie, and Little Richard performed there and often times stayed at our parent’s home.
The 1960’s were a turbulent time for an African American to build a real estate empire. We still marvel at Daddy’s fortitude and his never give up attitude. He partnered with local business investors and fought redlining which was a practice the banks used to avoid granting loans to inner city minorities and properties.
Daddy’s unorthodox business practices included trading our mother’s white Brougham Cadillac for a Lake Washington view house. Our mother cried as her car drove off, but the guy who traded the house thought he’d made a great deal. He exclaimed to our dad, the house couldn’t move, but the car could!
Daddy’s biggest blessing and curse was that he did not know the word limitation. He also never accepted the word NO. He lived by the words of Ain’t no givin’ in and no givin’ out. When banks refused to grant funding, he put pickets on the institutions, until his loans were approved. He was a vigilante landlord who at times took the law into his own hands. As an example of this, when a tenant didn’t pay his rent, and refused to work it off, daddy was known for removing the front door to his apartment or cutting off his utilities.
People have their opinions about our father, and they could love him or leave him, but one thing’s for sure:
Daddy left his mark on the Central District in Seattle and as his headstone says… He did it his way!
Each day, when our internal alarm clock signals its time to wake up, and we want to roll over for some more shut eye, we hear him say It’s time to get up and get on it!
Here are some more Daddyism for you to enjoy…
–If you ain’t got no heart, you might as well be dead
-It’s not about the black or white, it’s the gray area
-Ain’t no given in and no given out
-If I’m drowning and you can’t swim, leave me the f—k alone!
-If you wanna know something, READ! I didn’t raise no dummies
-Just cause it’s on your ass, don’t make it an asset
– Remember… It’s all game
-The truth is the light and it will set you free
-When you see people working…then it gets instilled in your mind that you can do what you want to do if you attempt to do it
-It’s never dull
-It’s always good to know where somebody is coming from
and our favorite…
Ah Sugars, you make your Daddy proud… That’s my stuff!
Happy Birthday Daddy! Seattle Times Front page Feb. 7, 1996