Frank T Hogg


Introduction (from Yikes, you can see my underpants, Part One)

My first foray into writing was in the 1980s when I ran a computer mail order business named after me. At one point at the height on that business, Lonnie Falk, the publisher of the Rainbow magazine asked me to write a monthly column. “It will be good for business.” He said. Because of that he would not pay me for it. I agreed to do it and did so for about a year. The first column was torture, it took me two days to write it and I wished I hadn’t committed to it. It got easier over time and my last column only took 2 hours to write.

That was the end of my writing career until the late 1990s when while living on Song Lake in Preble, NY two things occurred at almost the same time. I was president of the lake association at the time, which was largely a social position. Song Lake is small, only 110 pieces of property on it. Perhaps that is why Song Mountain Ski Resort thought it would be easy for them to use the lakes water to make snow. That turned me into an accidental activist working to stop them. 

About that time Flying J wanted to build a truck stop in town and the lake people joined forces with the group fighting Flying J. That was the beginning of a multi year fight to beat them both. That is the subject for a different book. What that did was cause me to write a lot. First handouts and flyers and then a web site in 2000, one of the first websites to play an activist role. The web changed our fight and was a major force in beating both entities.

Writing for the website became a daily thing and I wrote tens of thousands of words. At first I got complaints about my poor punctuation. One time I put a group of commas and periods at the bottom of the page for people to use as needed. In time I got better and more readable.

Then in 2008 I moved to the Radford Virginia area where my mother was born. Family history, sketchy as it was, told us that grandpa Kelley, my mothers maiden name, back around 1904 was on the city council and had something to do with tree planting in the city. The house he built on Wadsworth Street and the store he ran across the street are still there. When I looked in the municipal building for more information I found very little and no proof of the trees or city council. The property information was there and that helped fill in the blanks but nothing else. I looked at the town meeting records to see if they would show anything. They are hand written in now faded black ink on paper turning brown and extremely hard to read. I decided to go back one day and make photos of the pages so I could use a computer to make that job easier. I have to admit I was a little disappointed that I found nothing else until one day there I was looking through two small piles of 100 year old documents. I found a voter sign in sheet with my grandfathers signature written in his hand. That was just a small thing but it was actual proof that he was really there and all the stories, while not proven, had the possibility of being true.

Besides that signature and a few faded pictures there is nothing to show that he ever existed. We are his only heritage, his legacy and that’s typical I guess.

I don’t have any kids, no one to carry on my name. Once I am gone there will be little to nothing to show I was ever here or what I was like. That’s the main reason I’m writing this book. I started it back in 2005 and stopped after not much more than a brief outline. I picked it up again recently and have been working on it ever since.

Looking through boxes of old photos for this book brought back memories and made me realize even more how I wanted to leave my mark. Everyone wants that, something to be remembered by. Big shots have buildings and roads named after them. Parents name their children after them. As the last and youngest child I was named after my mother Frances. Thankfully my name is spelled Francis with the ‘i’ making all the difference. Many people leave no mark at all, nothing to show they were here. As I looked at those photos I wondered who these people were. Many had no writing on them and for all I know these photos were all the mark they left. Made me kind of sad to think that.

I’ve led an interesting and fun life and have many stories to pass on that I hope you will find interesting and amusing. They will likely remind you of your own childhood and what it was like. Maybe you’ll even write a book to pass on to your kin. We all have family stories we tell at Thanksgiving and Christmas, whenever the family gets together. Over time they get better, embellished as it were, to be funnier or to inflict more pain on the victim. All of what you read here are things that really happened, mostly true and entirely plausible. Tested by years of story telling at family gatherings and honed to a fine edge. All of it governed by that all encompassing term, “Artistic License.

This story telling is true of most families, not just mine.

This book is just part of my life that covers what it was like growing up in 1950s Scranton, the move to Syracuse in 1957 and my teenage years there. There were two hurricanes I lived through, Hazel and Diane, broken legs and ribs and other maladies. Most of all it’s about fun, life, death, the importance of family and the human condition.

This is just the beginning. In future works I plan to cover my adult life. Owning an appliance store and going bankrupt, becoming a contractor then a dental technician then owning my own lab, then owning a computer business in the heyday of the 80’s. Building my own house. The fight to beat a ten billion dollar corporation and how a small but determined group of people won it and where I ended up. I think I’ve led an interesting and unusual life and I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed writing it.