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Mountains of Memories - Richard Greeno

By Janie Ford Lank - momthepoet@yahoo.com

Richard Greeno was born on Aug. 13, 1940 at 505 S. 4th St. in Frankfort. His parents were Clarence and Faye Greeno. He was the oldest of three sons.

Greeno attended Kyger school and graduated Frankfort High with the class of 1957.

“I remember when I was five years old, we moved to Freeman street,” he said. “However, I was reluctant to leave a flag stone out by the street where I liked to sit. I insisted to my father that we bring the stone to our new home. I lost that battle.

“I was told the story that on the day of my birth, Dr. Work stayed all day after the delivery to make sure everything was alright,” he added. “He charged only $10 for this.”

After graduation, Greeno joined the Air Force and was stationed at Loring Maine.

“I became very homesick and as a result they put me working close to a first sergeant,” he said. “I became a VIP driver and eventually the service turned me around.”

Greeno recalls two different accidents which occurred with airplanes on the runway.

“A B-47 crashed on a Saturday morning and, 48 hours later, on Monday morning, a KC-135 crashed, just 500 feet apart,” he said. “After these crashes, we closed the base runways. We had inspection come in, along with General White, Commander of the Air Force. No one was there to pick them up. I was flagged down and asked to take them to base operations. His aide asked me to wait. After a short time, the aid came out and informed me I had been assigned to them during their stay. The General’s aide and I began to form a friendship. He asked me if I would re-enlist and attend the School of Etiquette. I took his advice and was then transferred to Hawaii.

“It was so different in Hawaii from Loring, Maine,” Greeno continued. “Loring had just transferred over to all jets. However, when I arrived in Hawaii, I saw that they had all prop planes. The General’s airplane had thick carpets, gold sinks and was rich with plushness throughout. His car was a black Chryslers Imperial with the fifth wheel set on the back. I felt on top of the world driving this car. I saw many reminders of the war and bombing of Pearl harbor. I was very impressed by everything. A big disappointment was Waikiki Beach. I had listened to a radio station that broadcast from Waikiki Beach when I was young. I had pictured this as a very large beach. When I arrived there, I was surprised that it was a tiny strip of beach.”

Greeno married while in the service.

“This marriage gave me a daughter and two sons, before we parted ways,” he said. “In 1960, word of my mother’s illness gave me a discharge to be with her for the end of her life. In 1967, I opened “Richard’s Used Furniture” on Rossville Ave. in Frankfort. I ran this business for 46 years. In 1971, I married Nancy Bradshaw, and we are still enjoying married life. She had two sons, so together we raised four sons and one daughter. I was a supervisor at Mallory, General Foods and Midwest Warehouse while still running our business.”

Greeno says he has been interested in magic since grade school.

“I had seen a magic show by Bob Hurt and was very impressed,” he said. “Many years later, I met this magician and became friends. He was connected to Frankfort by being part owner of “Wheeler’s Restaurant” on the Frankfort square. He trained me, and I began performing places, such as schools, scouts, parties, etc. I ended up at the Big Red Flea Market to perform. I met many people that pushed me on and on to other levels of performing.

“I met Count Desmond, who was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for sword swallowing,” he added. “He asked me to be the opening act for his show. I did this for several years. I did the illusion of putting five blades through a lady. I performed some in Las Vegas. While there, my wife and I worked on the history of Las Vegas. We were able to donate 8,000 items to the Nevada State Museum. I had been collecting pictures and artifacts of Frankfort all my life, and I am still involved with this. I have become the administrator of “Frankfort Daily Discussion, Part two,” a history site on Facebook. We have over 3,000 members that follow this site.”

Greeno advises young people to be sure of their goals before they commit and work hard towards them.

“I admired my father, who seemed like a giant to me, in a good way,” he said. “He had such patience and taught me many things. Another person that I learned from was Charlie Rogers. I feel he taught me about life.

“I am retired now and still involved with magic, Las Vegas and the Frankfort site,” Greeno added. “I am on the Board of Zoning Appeals and the president of the City Planning Commission. Each time my wife and I see the clock saying 5:55, we say to each other, ‘It’s 5:55 and great to be alive and married and loving you.’

“That’s all folks!”