Frankie Angotti died on February 7th, 2011, he was forty seven years old and the owner of two loving dogs lilo and weezy.
Frankie Angotti was my dear sweet friend who had beautiful olive skin and brown eyes that glittered with green. Frankie Angotti was a character, a man who lived a rough life and got out alive from the streets of South Chicago. He was beautiful and sweet and always radiated lonliness.
We meet as kids, getting sober getting off of drugs trying to stay straight in the late eighties in Chicago. We smoked cigarettes, drank coffee and every sunday for years we meet at the counter of the Wishbone on Grand Street for Hoppin Jack Breakfast. I loved him and he loved me.
Franki Angotti never got to go to college like I did, he never got to live with the realms of possiblities like I did. He was on his own as soon as he was brought into this world. But he was smart and funny and loving. He made his way up and out of those mean streets and worked as a linesman for the City of Chicago.
Chicago was his city but it didn't love him as much as it should have, its a rough city and never gives its heart easily. Always a struggle for those who truly love its grind and gears. Frankie fell at work and hurt himself so badly he would never be able to make a living again. They would not give him workmans' comp they had him followed and pictures were taken to prove that he was a faking. It didn't matter if all the specialist wrote letters after all the operations to make him stand upright or for him to be able to have free range of movement with his head. No, to them he was trying to get monies for not working.
So, he lived. His neighbors helped him. He was alloted disablity and he lived megearly. He was in pain and was in despair about taking any type of painkillers be it might affect his sobriety. He tried, and he fought and went to lawyer after lawyer. But the city always punched him harder everytime he tried.
I remember many years ago when he had saved enough monies to go to europe. He traveled all over and fell in love in Tangiers. He came home and called me. We meet and he showed me all the pictures of his adventure and his soul was alive and his eyes glistened with possibilites. He had dreams that were born on his travels, dreams he was sure he could attain. But than he fell and all those dreams went down the street that he landed on that cold winter day.
He told me facebook had saved him otherwise there would be no way for him to keep in touch. He wrote me often and told me of the immense pain he was in and how his dog weezy was what kept him going. He had taken to posting political thoughts and expressed his love of art. I knew how he was doing just by facebook. I wrote and told him that times were hard and I might not see him soon enough. He told me it didn't matter that he loved me and knew me no matter where or how long it had been since we had seen one another.
We grew up in a time when Chicago was still fresh, when it wasn't as dogmatic about being "big" and it still had a spirit flushed with innocence. It was safe to be a kid trying to get sober, no hard knocks we were engulfed in love. We grew and thrived all of us who got sober at that time, and the gift of sobriety took us to many different places. But Frankie he stayed true to his City.
Frankie gave up, he was tired and his brown eyes were stilted, his green pools had dried up. He didn't know what it was like to thrive as he had done so many years before when life was good. Frankie was ready to go and he put on those wings and he laid himself down and he left to fly to higher heights. I will not know what his last thoughts were or if he thought of all his friends or just his dogs. He had a plan and that plan was peace. I am not disturbed to know that is what he wanted, I am disturbed to think that Frankie Angotti will now be just a memory of a great a beautiful soul that once shown brightly in my life.
When you love a city, make sure its the city who won't break your heart. Frank Angotti is now residing with all possibilites in Tangiers in a bode with orange vibrant walls, and he is vibrant and thriving and his brown eyed greens are unbelievably beautiful and alive...I miss you already!