The Thunder Child

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Web Magazine and Sourcebooks

Radio Drama
Science Faction

Volume 1, Issue 6
"Stand By For Mars!"
June 2006
Tom Corbett, Space Cadet Source Book

Laying Frankie Thomas to rest

shared by Jan Merlin

We gathered at the grave site, a trim green lawn shaded by a large tree, at 3:00 pm...about 20 close friends and relatives, of which 14 were considered the actual invited. The elegant heavy wooden coffin was already in place over the open grave, blanketed with flowers. More flowers were hung on stands and in baskets to one side. His mother and father's graves were next to his. A white church with a clock on its steeple loomed in the background.

The afternoon blazed with sunlight, and some folk sat on a row of chairs while the others stood behind them as a minister read his long bio of Frankie's career and life doings. When he had done with his summary and prayers, the guests were invited to speak any words they wished to say, and a few did. Mostly relating amusing happenings they experienced with Frankie.

Few knew he'd already had another.

Jan Merlin and Frankie Thomas
March, 2006. Williamsburg Film Festival

His original space cadet uniform had been left at the mortuary for them to dress him in it... and when the few family members had a short viewing period just before the burial time, it was discovered that the upper part of the uniform had been put on backwards, so that he was zippered up the front, and the insignia of the Space Cadets was on his back. Of course, that mistake was hastily remedied before the coffin was brought to the site. I had to chuckle, knowing that Frank would have found it as funny as I did.

Julie stood to read the words to the Space Academy oath and the Space Cadet song... it was quite moving, for it personified all that Frankie believed and portrayed in his favorite role. She had everyone wish Frankie Spaceman's Luck together, and then the coffin lid was opened for the guests to place his old golf balls and photographs of his family and friends and the folded American flag once displayed at his father's funeral. I sprinkled Frankie with a handful of tiny gold metallic stars and wished him farewell under my breath... and as the folk left the coffin, I took a few pictures before the lid was reclosed.

The invited 14 departed for the Bistro Restaurant, one of Frankie's favorites, and had a fine dinner and drinks and more talk about the man they had lost. It wasn't the same without him there... I had no sense of him being with us at all. I think he stayed behind to be with his Mom and Dad.

Photo by Jan Merlin
His father's grave marker is closest to the bottom
of picture at left, his mother's is next to that, and
Frankie's grand oak coffin is over the grave into which it ws lowered.

Return to:

  • Spaceman's Luck: Frankie Thomas Tribute
  • All text © 2006 The Thunder Child unless otherwise credited.
    All illustrations retain original copyright.
    Please contact us with any concerns as to correct attribution.
    Any questions, comments or concerns contact The Thunder Child.