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All Things Considered

After two-year absence, father returns to son with an apology

In 2009, Frank Tempone lost himself for a while.

At the time, he was living in Massachusetts with his wife and three sons. Miserable at work and uncertain about his marriage, he decided he needed to leave both for a time, and he accepted a job in Chicago.

His wife and his son Jack dropped him off and returned home without him. Although Frank would make occasional visits to his family, he was mostly separated from them for the next two years.

Frank visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth with Jack to talk about this difficult time.

Frank: Do you remember when I left, do you remember how you felt? We were in the U-Haul truck.

Jack: Yes. I remember when we were driving to Chicago, I saw the big buildings, and I said, “Is this where you’re going to live?” And you said, “Yes.” When we had to leave, I started crying because I didn’t want to leave, I didn’t want to see you go.

Frank: ... Is there anything you want to ask me about that time?

Jack: How were you feeling once we left?

Frank: I just felt lost. I felt lost for two years. And I knew I was hurting you, but I felt like I had to get myself straightened out first before I could be your dad again.

To hear the rest of Frank and Jack’s story, and how Frank found his family again, click on the audio above.

Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival.





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