The Prayer Lines Behind the Bylines
To be perfectly Frank
he’s three years my junior, brother Francis G. Hauprich
was too tiny to gallop
beside the preschool version of me whose wild imagination easily transformed the
wide arms of a vintage rocker into buckin’ bronchos.
But Frank was just the right size – and disposition – to be hitched to Annie
Oakley’s wagon, holding tight to the sides of a Conestoga that faded black and
white photos would later reveal had been nothing more than a wicker laundry
While other toddlers might have squirmed or thrown temper tantrums, Frank’s
gentle nature made him a welcome addition to the western entourage and we’d
inevitably reach our destination before the clanging of a cowbell signaled it
was chow time.
Though the laundry basket of life pulled us in polar opposite directions on
occasion during our young adult years (most notably when Frank was in Brazil
while I was in Canada), the lasso that binds our hearts, minds and spirits is
stronger than ever.
It was while we were both home for the holidays in the late 1980s that Frank and
I first transformed our shared passion for word play into an essay about our
“Happier By The Dozen” family that was later published in Catholic Digest and
reprinted in Deadlines Headlines & Porcupines: The Laugh Lines Behind the
a master of the English language who also holds a degree in Religious Education
from the College of St. Rose in Albany, subsequently helped to lay the editorial
when he gave generously of his time and treasure by
assisting with the editing of the then young magazine’s pages. More than one
early edition also showcased samples of Frank’s powerful poetry as well as
in-depth articles that had been researched and written by him. (Please
to savor “A Tale of Two Centuries” in which Frank presented a
captivating review of THE SARATOGA READER by Field Horne (Kiskatom Publishing
But the mettle of his pioneering spirit was never more rigorously tested than
when Frank burned the midnight oil to create a play that commemorated the
Village of Ballston Spa’s Bicentennial in 2007.
Signed and numbered copies of
the limited edition literary treasure were tucked inside the colorful glossy
dust covers of 200 signed and numbered copies of the almost 400-page Ballston
Spa: The Way We Were, The Way We Are
If you didn’t secure a copy of the play then, you might be able to view a copy
in the regional history section of a library. Otherwise you’ll have to wait
until 2057 (the 250th anniversary of the village’s charter) when a copy we
donated to a time capsule is slated to be unearthed.
But Frank’s contributions didn’t end there. Those who had placed advance orders
for the Bicentennial book and play would never have received their copies on
time had the brother who in the meantime had been immortalized in a jazzy Cole
Broderick composition titled Francis Fudge not agreed to saddle his reindeer and
assist with last minute Christmas Eve deliveries.
The next time Frank saddled up in the name of preserving the past for present
and future generations was when he aided in the editing of a second local
history book titled Ballston Spa: Legacies Unlimited
Just when Frank might have been pondering the possibility of hanging up his
editorial spurs, I asked if I might lasso him into assisting with just one more
literary labor of love. It is the one you now hold in your hands.
Proof that he has the patience of a saint, Frank agreed to make this latest
journey with me even though neither could be certain where the trail might lead.
To be perfectly Frank, I don’t care – just as long as he is at my side when we
reach our destination.
A Brazilian Adventure
By Francis Hauprich
Brazil is a South American country famous for the Amazon rain forest, coffee
beans, and samba music. The Carnival at Rio de Janeiro is a colorful festival
celebrated in this vast and beautiful country with almost 200 million hard
working, fun loving people.
In 1980 I was invited to Brazil by Marcio Melo, a comical and philosophical
Rotary exchange student who had lived with my family’s Ballston Spa, NY
homestead in 1972. Several years later, Marcio returned for a visit and invited
me to come and stay with his parents’ family in Brazil. (In above 1972 photo
from left to right: D. Keith Sherwood, Marcio Melo, Frank and Bill Hauprich.)
Here are some highlights
and insights concerning the places seen, people met, and lessons learned in my
When I arrived in Brazil, I was greeted by Marcio’s family with warm hugs and
welcoming words in broken English. The only thing I could say in Portuguese was
“obrigado” for thank you, and I would say it many times in the five months
The name of Marcio’s hometown is Belo Horizonte — which means beautiful horizon.
It is a bustling city with a subtropical climate in southeastern Brazil. Belo
Horizonte is the capital of the mountainous and mineral rich state of Minas
Gerais. I soon learned that the most precious jewels in Brazil are the people
who enrich your life with their kind hearts and generous spirit.
Marcio’s father, Jonas Melo, co-owned a leather tannery called the Curtume Santa
Helena. He was a friendly man filled with enthusiasm for life and love for his
family. Jonas and his wife Dinorah had eight children. Four were married and
living in various parts of Brazil. Marcio, two younger brothers, and a younger
sister along with two adult cousins lived with Mr. and Mrs. Melo.
They occupied a large, two story house that seemed like a beehive of activity.
Dinorah gave orders to the servants and chauffeur who taxied everyone around
town in a huge station wagon. People were coming and going at all hours, and
Mrs. Melo would sometimes apologize to me for the “bagunca” or crazy confusion.
The Melos helped me learn the Portuguese language, or at least important words
concerning things like food. I was not a great student and once told Marcio’s
mother that she had baked a delicious ball instead of birthday cake. There were
often celebrations at the Melo home, and every day there was a delicious meal at
lunchtime. Rice and black beans were daily staples served along with fresh
fruits, vegetables, meat, bread and cheese. As the food was passed and enjoyed
the Melos discussed everything from national news to family plans.
The Melos took me along on memorable vacation trips. We whizzed through Sao
Paulo on a subway, and spent a few days at the Hotel California in Rio de
Janeiro. There we saw the famous beaches and statue of Christ the Redeemer who
looks over a country where religious faith is important to many.
I also took bus trips to Brazilia, the modern national capital city, and to a
former colonial mining town called Ouro Preto or “Black Gold” which has a
mineral museum and some beautiful churches decorated with gold and sculptures
allegedly carved by Aleijadinho, “the little cripple,” in the 18th century.
I also saw a professional football game in Belo Horizonte. It is said that
soccer is the second religion of Brazil, and the fans were very loyal and loud
in support of their team. I especially enjoyed watching a boy circle the field
while juggling a soccer ball with his feet.
Because Brazil is a large country with a long history, there is a great variety
of natural and cultural treasures to discover. Wherever I went I met friendly
people who were eager to teach me about their country and learn about mine. As I
struggled with the language I gained great sympathy for foreign visitors to the
United States as well as for the immigrants who helped build our country while
adapting to American customs. I also realized that Brazil and the USA are not
only melting pots of many nationalities, but living mosaics of things young and
old, rich and poor, sacred and sinful, ridiculous and sublime.
You can broaden your horizons and deepen your appreciation for life by traveling
and studying in another country. But you can also grow by establishing roots in
your own family, church, community and career. The little things we do and say
are what move the world closer to that distant utopia that always seems to lie
beyond the beautiful horizon.
I imagine Brazil has changed much in the 36 years since I left. Today Belo
Horizonte is a metropolis of five million people and Brazil has one of the
world’s fastest growing economies. I hope technology and modernization have not
replaced good traditions like family barbecues and soccer games on Sunday
afternoons. I hope visitors still receive warm hugs from Brazilians and long
letters from home.
Mostly I hope that people from different countries will continue to build
bridges of friendship so the world can live in peace. (Photo left: In 2015 Frank
enjoyed a visit with Marcio's daughter Natalia and her husband Gustavo who were
visiting Rotary friends in Ballston Spa, NY.)