You co-wrote Fifty Years a Hooker with Frank. How did that come to pass?
When Frank decided it was time he wrote his autobiography, he wanted me to collaborate on it. However, I did not graduate college in England, and felt I should go back to school and finish my education to better assist him with the book; so in 1997, I graduated from the University of Hawai‘i with a B.A. in English. I partly worked my way through college, and also obtained tuition waivers based on my grades. This way, I wasn’t a financial burden to Frank. The financial burden was yet to come … in the shape of Arnold, our 500-pound pet boar.
Your pet boar?
Arnold gate-crashed our place one night in 1996, during a rerun of The Ed Sullivan Show. We suspect that he was part of a litter of piglets that was scattered after hunters shot their mom. Anyway, Frank had heard a commotion outside our living room, and so we went outside to investigate and found a 5-pound Arnold trying to turn over a garbage can! Frank said, “Let’s catch him!” At the time, neither of us had any idea of how huge Arnold would grow—from 5 pounds to 500 in less than two years! Arnold was an “only wild pig child” for two years, and then our first dog arrived on the scene. Arnold responded to that threat by trying to eat the puppy. Then we expanded our menagerie and unknowingly provided Arnold with
nemeses in the form of “killer geese.” Four years after that, we moved, bought a handful of sheep, another dog and some goats and chickens.
Jenny, Frank having just celebrated his eighty-second birthday this October, and you being forty-something, did Frank rob the cradle? Did he sweep you off your feet by promising you an adventurous life—vicariously or otherwise?
If Frank had robbed the cradle, he would have turned around and sold it on eBay, and someone would have sent me the auction listing. No, Bob, he swept me off my feet by telling me lots of wacky jokes; I laughed so hard I fell over. Yes, Frank promised me an adventurous life, and we’re still having one.
I understand that one of Frank’s dreams is to appear on Oprah. How’s that going?
Back in 2003, Frank realized one of his dreams when he received a letter from the Queen of England. Frank had written Her Majesty and asked if she wanted to go shark fishing. In the Queen’s response, she thanked Frank, stating that she didn’t require his services at present. Frank has appeared on many national TV programs, but never appeared on Oprah. You
Is the Cricket II going to stay in Riverhead, New York, or is it eventually going to Florida as a research vessel?
As far as I know, the Cricket II will stay in Riverhead. Frank says, and I quote, “More people will be able to see the boat there and step aboard and enjoy it on display at the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium in Riverhead, NY.”
Is Frank still shark fishing?
Frank doesn’t take customers and friends out fishing very often here and does it mostly for charter in New York. There are more sharks off Montauk than off Hawai‘i. Off Hawai‘i, Frank caught mainly threshers in the 200-to-300-pound class. Sharks are few and far between here, but when he does get a shark, it’s generally a big one. White sharks are protected by law now, so he only tries to catch species that are legal.
Since Frank still takes clients out, is he planning on building you a widow’s walk atop the farmhouse anytime soon?
He was going to, but put solar electric panels up instead. We live 2,000 feet above sea level, and you can’t see the ocean from our home. People ask Frank if he can see the ocean from where he lives, and he replies, “I hope not!”
Has Frank exhausted his repertoire of wacky jokes that bowled and won you over, or is he still in the strike zone after almost twenty years of marriage?
Yes, Frank’s still in the strike zone. But I swear I’ll go on strike the next time I hear another corny joke of his. And I keep telling him, “Three strikes and you’re out!” I think we’re mixing metaphors here between bowling and baseball, Bob. But, what the heck. Anyway, I now and again give Frank a reprieve because every so often he’ll come up with a winner—one that bowls me back over. That’s why I cut him some slack from time to time.
Do you think—now that you have momentarily upstaged Frank—that he can handle it?
Well, Bob, if Frank can handle bringing in a 4,500-pound white shark almost single-handedly, he can cope with anything, including, perhaps, even a little scene stealing from his salty sidekick. He’d have to be an idiot not to let me enjoy my moment in the publicity chum slick. HH