For July, 1960

Don’t talk about frogs in front of your Uncle Andy

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My brother’s middle name is Philip after our uncle serving in World War II, and my middle name is Andrew after our uncle serving in Korea. Characteristically of their generation, neither spoke much of their service, any hints indicating that they were as heroic as any American would expect.

Andy was a solid 6-foot 250-pounder, which I suppose made him a good candidate for the military police. After his tour of duty in Korea he was stationed as an MP in San Diego. Apparently, while on patrol at the shoreline, he was accosted by a bullfrog that croaked inopportunely. My uncle emptied his service revolver into the sorry amphibian.

(photo by Milton Young)

Andrew Quaglia (with father Frank) c. 1960

Not surprisingly, he was released from the military rather soon after, and found his police experience easily transferable back to the San Francisco force. Kindly, gentle, loving to work with people, he drew a series of sweet assignments; such as guarding the mayor’s parking space for almost two decades, where he of course became friendly with all the power brokers passing through. Thus he was able to retire to his beloved Russian River cabin to enjoy the echoes of the Italian post-war resorts.

But, before every family gathering my mother would always say, “Remember, don’t talk about frogs in front of your Uncle Andy.” And, in the knowledge that he was always armed, no one in the family ever, ever did.

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