And What About Frank?: A Soprano’s Aria Chapter 37
Not everyone in our family trees are people we admire. Sometimes they are unsavory characters that people want to bury the details of—but I think we need to know about the good bad and the ugly. Here’s my follow-up piece to Lulu’s diary.
This is Lulu’s husband Franklin “Frank” Stewart MOSIER my great grandfather. Frank Mosier had a drinking problem and anger management issues. He may have suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder which is also called emotionally unstable personality disorder. He was certainly that!
Criteria for BPD. Five must be present:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
- Unstable and intense interpersonal relationships
- Lack of a clear sense of identity
- Impulsiveness in potentially self-damaging behaviors, such as substance abuse, security, shoplifting, reckless driving, binge eating
- Recurrent suicidal threats or gestures or self mutilating behaviors
- Severe mood shifts and extreme reactivity to situational stresses
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Frequent and inappropriate displays of anger
- Transient, stress-related feelings of unreality or paranoia
I started to wonder about what caused, as a cousin called it, a “mean streak” in Frank. While writing a piece about his mother Catherine Adeline STEWART MOSIER I discovered a few clues which may help explain Frank. Franklin “Frank” Stewart MOSIER was Catherine’s 9th child of 12. He was born two years after his twin sisters Luella & Louisa which might suggest Mom was a tad busy when he arrived. He was followed by a brother less than 3 years later who died as an infant. Then another son, the next year, and finally a daughter when he was 6, who also died as an infant. Among the environmental factors that may cause BPD are:
- being a victim of emotional, physical or sexual abuse
- being exposed to long-term fear or distress as a child
- being neglected by 1 or both parents
- growing up with another family member who had a serious mental health condition
While no one can know what the family dynamic was it is easy to see how young Frank may not have received the attention he craved. He had an 18 year old older brother who leaves when he is about 3. And two brothers 9 & 11. His oldest sister marries before he turns 7. And I suspect Mom and Dad were busy with twins and then dealing with the loss of two children so young Frank would have been exposed to lots of early loss and perhaps a depressed or stressed mom. When he was 11 his oldest sister dies of complications of childbirth so his world view may have been supercharged with stress for a young boy. We do not know whether his father was a drinker, but he may well have been—and we know Frank had run-ins with the law.
I am not sure if this clipping is for John Wesley Mosier (Frank’s father) or Frank, but somehow it feels like Frank. The Mosier in question was umpiring a game and it seems his calls way off base (pun intended).
Here newly married [8 Nov 1889] Frank Mosier is arrested for assault. I wonder if Lulu was worried even then what she had got herself into.
In a correspondence between my grandfather to his sister in 1964—some family secrets are disclosed about their Dad, Frank. “I don’t know why I got started on this but guess you brought it all back when you said you left home because you didn’t like the way the old man was shoving me [Lolita] around. I don’t think I was aware of why you left.” Lolita letter to Milo April 7, 1964.
Milo replies.”[After] I came home from France. You told me, a day or so after the incident, that the Old Man had said, ‘Now see what you did– You made Milo Leave home.’ I went in (to the bathroom, I think) to see what he was doing to you, and he grabbed me by the vest front and threw me out like a bean-bag.
I think it possible that my leaving might have had some effect on him; I don’t know—He always liked me, but I didn’t know that he had beaten you, the way you described…He was the product of an era when violence was a way of life; and to drag a man through the sagebrush at the end of a lariat was an occasion for great hilarity. I knew him very well. I worked with him in wrecking yards; on construction jobs in the mountains; and drank with him in speak-easys. The only credit I can give hom, is that he was as tough to men, as well as women and children; at least in my experience, And he enjoyed a certain respect from those of his ilk with who he worked….
From a moral standpoint the Old Man was a lascivious worm.” April 11, 1964
Lulu’s divorce decree was finalized 23 July 1918. True to form Frank is involved in a drunk driving accident the following year.
In spite of the accident he is listed as a truck driver in 1924. I have not located him on the 1930 census but in the 1940 census he is living with his daughter Jessie MOSIER MILLER and her husband Sylvester. We do learn on this census he only had an 8th grade education. There was both affection and disdain for Frank from his children. In spite of a tough life he lived to be 78 years old. The informant on his death certificate was my grandfather Milo. He was admitted to San Francisco Hospital on 5 Nov 1949 and died on the 8th. Remarkably my father was relatively silent about all his grandparents. Neither my father or grandfather were drinkers. My grandfather was a kindly, gentle soul with a sometimes tough exterior. I suspect there were some tender parts to Frank as well, much overshadowed by his demons. We have nothing to tell of your story great grandpa, Frank — from your perspective. May you rest in peace.
The 36 earlier chapters of A Soprano’s Aria: Lulu’s Diary are found here.
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