This is one of those human-interest stories that come along only rarely. It is the simple account of an admired and appreciated man with an incredibly common name - Frank Smith of Romford, England.
I'd like to track down the family of Frank Smith of Romford, England, who might live somewhere in Salt Lake City.I've already perused the numerous Smiths in the Salt Lake City phone book, which includes several Frank Smiths, and I can't possibly call all of them.
So if anyone reading this column knows his kin or is his kin, let me know.
I received an intriguing letter the other day from Maurice Phillips of Sundown, Isle of Wight, England. It was simply addressed to "The Local Press, Salt Lake City."
Somehow it ended up on my desk.
Phillips said he and a man named Frank Smith had both formerly lived in Romford, in the county of Essex, best known for its large brewery.
When Phillips' mother passed away last year, he found an original press clipping from the December 1948 Romford Recorder about Frank Smith's departure that year from Romford to settle in Salt Lake City.
The article is a simple tribute to Frank Smith.
A band of housewives gathered at 105 Cross Road, Romford, to drink a toast to the "health of a blushing, smiling figure in one corner of the room - the milkman."
In nine years of delivering milk to homes in the area, 53-year-old Frank Smith had become famous among housewives for his cheerfulness and civility.
In return, they presented him "a splendid wristwatch and key chain," and a leather bag and purse for his wife.
Frank's customers wrote to his wife: "We shall miss his cheerful smile. He has always been very obliging and civil, and that means so much to housewives as you yourself well know."
Indeed, Frank was obliging.
Besides being a fine, dependable milkman, Frank was well known as a general handyman - always ready to jump in and tackle any minor problem at the homes he visited.
At the neighborhood gathering the housewives shared examples.
One woman remembered the day she summoned Frank in to wring a chicken's neck.
Another told how Frank agreed to wind up her clock, which had a shaky spring.
To one handicapped man Frank had served almost as a part-time housekeeper - lighting his fire, cutting his bread, and even on occasion mending the chimney.
Frank's response was predictably humble: "I couldn't have wished for a better crowd of customers. I never had any trouble about payment, and we had plenty of laughs. I'm certainly going to keep in touch with them when I get to America."
But he didn't.
He left his longtime home at 46 Malvern Road, Romford, and sailed from Southampton en route to Salt Lake City, where he planned to join his only child, a married daughter who went to America in 1944.
Frank's last words were, "I'll be living on a farm, near the source of supply."
And no one in Romford today is sure what happened to him. If he were still alive today he would be 95 years old.
If anyone knows Frank Smith or his relatives, Maurice Phillips would like to hear from them. He would like to send the original press clipping as part of Frank Smith's personal history.
Phillips is confident that anyone reading about it will gladly help because of his experiences when he visited America in 1988 and 1989 and successfully traced his lost cousins to California.
He discovered that America is "a wonderful place" filled with "kind and helpful people." Hence, he is very pro-American.
Let's not disappoint him.