Frankie Thomas - Tom Corbett Space Cadet
April 9, 1921 - May 11, 2006
May 16, 2006 - Burial Service - 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
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. 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
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.