Too Close To Home

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Too Close To Home [1]
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
61 minutes

Too Close To Home is a live show written and performed by Joe Frank at The Village in Los Angeles on November 13, 2011.


2:20: Joe describes 'The Fountains', a retirement community in Florida in which his parents live.[1][2]

4:10: Joe says that most of the old women dyed their hair blonde; Joe found them indistinguishable, had to ask the chairwoman for his mother's table.

5:50: Joe tells us about his '78-year-old stepfather Freddy':[3] he clips coupons, wears thread-bare clothes, buys the cheapest stuff, much to his wife's exasperation.

8:20: Joe recounts his mother's account of her & Freddy's trip to Switzerland, how Freddy's frugality made it unpleasant.

9:50: Joe's mother likes her chicken soup 'broiling hot', that they often burn their tongues instead of waiting for it to cool off. They eat noisily, Freddy gets food on himself; Joe works to put up with it.

12:20: Joe drives to a fancy hotel on the beach, ogles the beautiful people. He wears a pale blue satin shirt and white slacks.[4] Joe sees a beautiful woman dressed in pink.[5] Joe picks her up, drives her to her cottage by the ocean; they make love. Then Joe tells us he made this story up, one of the scenarios he used to distract himself from his parents.

15: Joe's mother complains about Freddy, his disorganization, TV-watching, nudity.

18:40: Joe tells of Conrad, Freddy's best friend, a successful businessman. He suffered a brain injury, contracted Pick's disease, became mentally incompetent. The story begins the same as it does in 'Pact'/'Death' then Joe tells the same story about him as Danny from Just Hold Me: breaking Joe's glasses when he hugs him, begging for a cigarette from his wife,[6] what a golden boy he was in school.

24:20: Joe tells of meeting a woman at a bar who wanted him to stay with her, just to hold her.[7]

28:40: Joe tells of looking at old photo albums with his mother, then of her young life and marriage. Joe says that the boy she was in love with wouldn't marry her because she was too poor. Joe says that she married when she was 17[8] and Meier was 42.[9]

Joe says that she began an affair with Freddy before Meier died; Meier was bitter and communicated only in writing. Her and Freddy's marriage became unhappy.

30:40: Joe says that 'under Freddy's guidance the family business failed'.[10] Joe says that they lived on her German reparations.

31:50: Joe tells his mother's story of fleeing the Russian army from Poland to Austria in WW1, when she was 3 or 4.[11][12]

32:30: Joe tells his mother's account of fleeing Berlin on Kristallnacht.[13]

35:10: Joe recalls the blackout of 1965 November 9/10, that he was trapped in an elevator, that he almost visited his uncle Ben in hospital; Ben died that night.[14]

42:20: Joe tells of Freddy's cancer, his surgery.[15] Joe made a deal with god, that if he could run his route around 'The Fountains' without stopping, god would save Freddy.

51: Joe tells the story of he and Katie building a house in Culpeper County, Virginia, then of his building a house in Cleveland Park.[16]

53:40: Joe tells of the day of Freddy's surgery. He recovered well. Joe ran the route successfully.[17]


Shared Material


  1. apparently 1984-5
  2. Joe set A Pact With God/A Death In The Family there; much of this show uses the same material.
  3. he was born in 1906, thus my dating of this story
  4. What the hero of The Queen Of Puerto Rico wore late in his story.
  5. a character in The Queen Of Puerto Rico.
  6. in Just Hold Me Danny begged it from his mother
  7. Nearly the same story as in Just Hold Me
  8. she said 18 in God Only Knows, which agrees with the records
  9. he was a month shy of his 42nd birthday.
  10. Joe's uncle, Ben Zion Passweg, took over the business after Meier died. The Langerman Shoe Company continued in business at least until 1972. In Karma Memories Joe says that Ben took Freddy into the business, where he apparently did nothing.
  11. She tells this story in He Hesitated too.
  12. Quoth Wikipedia, 'after the outbreak of World War I the town (Rymanów, her hometown) was captured by the Russian Empire in September 1914 and severely looted. The spa pavillons were burnt to the ground and the town suffered from several weeks of Russian rule. In 1915 it was again retaken by Austria-Hungary and started to be rebuilt.' She was 3 years, 9 months.
  13. Kristallnacht was 1938 November 9-10 in Vienna; Joe was born in Strasbourg, France on 1938 August 19; Meier sailed to the US on 1938 October 23 - Joe and his mother must have returned to Berlin after Joe's birth. Ben and his family lived in Strasbourg.
  14. Joe tells this story in Karma (Part 7), re-used in Small World Karma
  15. Joe tells the same story in 'Pact'/'Death'.
  16. originally in Just Hold Me
  17. Freddy died in 1995, apparently 10-11 years after this surgery.