Irene Bressler, Frank’s wife of 64 years, says there have been several nights during which she’s woken her husband from wretched nightmares.
“He’s never gotten it out of his system,” she said. “It’s still buried in his mind.”
Many veterans return from war only to stash away the horrible imagery of the battlefield. Frank, said Irene, has always been an exception.
“Most guys don’t talk about it all,” Irene said. “Frank has talked about it our entire married life. He’s shared pictures with me of his buddies [from the war]. He’s always shared everything with me, all his experiences.”
While the stories may get repetitious at times — “I think she turns her ears off,” Frank said jokingly — Irene has been there every step of the way. Frank, meanwhile, is always returning the favor. Perhaps, in an odd twist, his experience as a combat medic also trained him for a successful marriage.
“He is always ready to help anyone in need,” Irene said. “And, of course, he’s that way with me. He’s the first person there if I need anything.”
The Bresslers met at a B’nai B’rith Chanukah party in 1948, less than two years after Frank was discharged. They’re the proud parents of three daughters and two grandchildren.
While Frank helped run Bressler’s Cleaners for 35 years before retiring to become very involved in both the Jewish and general communities, for Irene, his military background is always a source of pride. She brought up his award bestowed by the French government as an example.
“I’m very proud of him,” Irene said. “That day was something I’ll never forget. It was a very wonderful honorable day, and I was quite proud of him.”
Said Frank, “She’s the most wonderful girl. The sweetest, kindest, nicest. Jewish values to the core. We’ve had a wonderful life, and I’m lucky to have found her.”