Frank LaCombe’s birthday came and went and unfortunately, I couldn’t be with him to celebrate what he called his ‘70th LAP AROUND the SUN!’  (though when we do hang-out, neither of us feels older than 30 . . maybe 35)                                      Happy Birthday man.
                                                                                                                                                (Frank’s cartoon for his 70th Lap )
I’ve known Frank for about 50 years.  We were in the same college Fraternity and though we see each other rarely, he’s one of my most cherished friends.  Something about his character inspires trust.  Something about his personality brings out a smile when you’re around him.  And there’s something about his brain that’s downright fascinating.  Frank’s a collector.  He’s also an artist, an engineer and an architect.  He’s a builder, inventor, a plumber, an electrician. . . he is effectively whatever he puts his mind to be for whatever project he designs.  And whatever that project happens to be, the results are always extraordinary.
“frank’s Garage”
                                         THE BARN
He designed and built The Barn with his own hands from the ground up.  He got help from friends if he asked.   The story behind it’s construction requires a chapter all it’s own.  The completed structure is a home where he and his lovely wife Jeannie live.  (Jean is a true talent and wonder in her own right.  Just ask Frank)  Most of the Barn’s square footage though, holds. . the collection.  I’m no wordsmith, so I couldn’t do justice to such a display in that way, but there are links to a few photos at the bottom of the page that might give at least an ‘inkling’ about the feel of it.          
To proclaim the place unique, would be the very definition of an ‘understatement’.  Stand right in the middle of it, immersed in the collection of devices that certainly defy a common classification.  Your jaw drops as you look around in awe at the variety of forms, and you know you've never seen, or will ever see such an exhibit again.
This is no accumulation of Antique Road Show booty.  This is a Personal Assemblage Museum of  "Look at these great things I found " gadgets, gizmos, ‘wires, tires and armatures’.  Small stuff, big stuff and great big stuff.  It presents itself as an evolving arrangement that only grows at the hand and the whim of it's creator.  Though I do recall Frank saying,  “. . sometimes it's the barn that’s in charge”.
All created to work in some fashion for some reason, each artifact resides comfortably with it’s friends.  Retired, but not forgotten by the Appreciator in charge.   There’s this strange sense that if you took enough time to look around, you just might discover a hidden cord that plugs in and brings the whole thing to life.
There’s a lot of functional imaginings that go on in frank’s Brain; so of course, there is in frank’s Garage too.  For me, it’s just a very cool, ongoing expression, by and about an individual that I’m lucky enough to have as a friend. (2014)
a few celebration photos