In the rose-filled June of 1993 Frank Scioscia enjoyed life. He argued politics, discussed new authors, played bocce with friends, and read Daniel Deronda aloud with his wife, Mary.
Scioscia was sparklingly engaged at riverrun. Anyone who saw him there could plainly see he would never leave riverrun as long as he had breath left to draw.
But that’s just it. He didn’t. On July 10, 1993 Frank Scioscia died.
Everyone found it hard to believe because he was so packed with vitality. When I told a customer acquaintance 2 weeks later, he argued with me.
“No,no. He couldn’t have. I just saw him Tuesday, I think it was Tuesday. He was playing bocce down by the railroad tracks.”
It was a lead, he thought. I was mistaken and could start my search at the railroad tracks. Don’t worry. He’d turn up.
Frank’s death pained many. One of the most moving reactions came to me from a stranger’s disembodied voice.
I’d gone down to riverrun and left a short note on the front door. I also put a message on the store answering machine. “riverrun bookstore is temporarily closed. The owner, Frank Scioscia, died on July 10 of a heart attack. The family will reopen and operate the store sometime soon.”
Later I listened to messages. One was a long silence followed by a shocked whisper not meant for me.