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Getting Through : In Remembrance

Memories of Manoli : The Orlando Story

from Peter - Friday, March 25, 2005
accessed 1662 times

Even now, I still find it hard to believe he is gone.
Emmanuel David Frouman aka Manoli,Lucas,Paul and David Mckee.
Born March 25, 1973 in Athens, Greece
Died February 8, 1994 in Orlando, Florida.

Sometimes, the best place to begin is at the end.

In January 1994, I was 18 and enrolled in my first semester at Austin Community College. Manoli was living in Atlanta, Georgia with his uncle Tim (my mom has five brothers and five sisters). Manoli and I exchanged a few letters in January. We were both very busy and trying to figure out when and where we could meet again. I was busy with my job, starting school and my friend Orlando Z.

My father and my younger brother Daniel had recently arrived in Ecuador. On the way there, they were supposed to meet Manoli at an airport in Norcross but for some reason they missed each other.

I didn't even know if Manoli was getting my letters. He didn't have a phone but he had a voice mailbox where I left messages for David Mckee (this was the name he was using at the time). But apparently he occasionally picked up his mail because one day in January 1994 I got a strange card from him. He wrote that he had "encountered almost every problem you can think of."

My most recent, current problem (this is not a joke or action thriller): It seems like a few goons are after me, that's right, strangers I've never met in my life walk up to me in a place I never go, they know who I am, what I do and what my current nick-name is, "David" they tell me they come to warn me of other "Goons" that want to cause me trouble. Beats me, I thought everything was over you know, no more G[redacted] or C.O.G. now what?! If you happen to see R[redacted] perhaps you could mention this to her, I hope G[redacted] isn't up to something. No need to worry. I may be wicked but I'm an honest, law-abiding citizen, (HA!).

It didn't make any sense (but life is like that sometimes) and it freaked me out. In a panic, I called all my relatives in the immediate area but they didn't know where he was. A month earlier, I had quit my job as the night "manager" of a deli. But soon the bills started piling up and I had to get another job. It didn't work out so well so I went to my old boss and asked her to re-hire me for a part-time position.

On Friday, February 4th, 1994, I turned 19. I recall that sometime that weekend Orlando and I got into a fight because I wouldn't allow him to partake of what Terrence McKenna called the "food of the gods." I didn't think he was ready for it yet. Also, I didn't think I had enough for everyone, including our friends and roommates Tamika and Carol who wanted to try it as well. Orlando finally convinced me to let him have some tea and soon enough Carol convinced me that she also deserved a few sips...

I don't remember much about the rest of that weekend but by Tuesday or Wednesday I had recovered enough to go back to work. Around 9pm, one of my coworkers told me Orlando was on the phone. I told her to ask him to call me back because I was very busy. But he called again and again and finally I answered the phone. He wouldn't tell me what was wrong, he just said I needed to come home as soon as possible. When I got home, he still wouldn't tell me anything. He told me to call my aunt Betsy. So I did and she told me to call my grandparents in Tampa. It was like a game of phone tag. No one wanted to be the one to tell me. Everyone one I called told me to call someone else. Finally, Orlando told me. I was furious with him. I thought he was playing some cruel joke on me. I knew there must be some mistake. There was no way my brother could be dead less than two months before his 21st birthday.

Orlando told me later that it really freaked him out to hear his own name repeated over and over again because it was the same as the name of the city where my brother died. One of my relatives finally called me back and gave me the details. I had to pretend that I didn't already know because I couldn't say that it was Orlando who told me that my brother died in Orlando.

I started calling different people to try to piece together the story and it soon became clear that something had really happened. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life was when I had to call my brother D. and my father and tell them the news about Manoli. They were in Quito and immediately returned to Florida. I didn't know where my brothers Jonathan and Michael were. Years later, when I saw them again in 1996 and 1997, I found out they had been living in Mexico since September 1993.

The last time I had been in Orlando had been to see the Grateful Dead on April 9, 1991. As usual, they played for two or three nights in a row. I was supposed to go with my friend Ananda but he went to a different show a few weeks before so I went with Tara and a couple of her friends. I had met them at a regional Rainbow gathering in Ocala a few weeks before. I arrived on the first night but my ticket was for the next evening. My friend Tara had to go back to school in Gainesville right after the show so I was left there alone. I camped out in a city park by the lake with a bunch of other people. Early the next morning, the cops arrived to wake everyone one up. They were very nice about it but I didn't even realize they were there. Some people asked if they could smoke with me in my tent and of course I said they could. To make a long story short, soon the cops arrived and my new "friends" were gone and I was left holding the bag. Fortunately, I was a juvenile at the time so the consequences for my youthful indiscretion were relatively minor. I got out 7 hours later just in time to see and hear the second set. Still, though, I wasn't ready to go back to Orlando anytime soon.

The day after I found out Manoli died, I checked my mailbox and got a birthday card from him. There was a $20 bill in it and the card said "Happy $20 years old." I had just turned 19. What happened was that Manoli had put too many sixes in the zip code and it was stamped returned to sender but then they figured out my forwarding it address so that is why I got it so late.

Anyways, I took a flight to Orlando and then a cab straight from the airport to the Orange County Medical Examiner's office at 1401 Lucerne Terrace to identify the body. Then, I had to talk to various people and make all the arrangements. My aunt Debbie helped with so many things, I don't know what I would have done with out her.

Manoli was buried at a family cemetery plot near Liberty, Kentucky next to his mother. A local Amish community built his coffin. There was a religious service and about 40 people were there. There is a certain irony in Manoli being buried there considering what happened the last time he was there but I think he would have appreciated it.

Because of Manoli's age and the circumstances of his death (his body was found by the staff of the Colonial Plaza Inn), a lot of people immediately assumed it was a suicide. I called the staff of the medical examiner's office and Det. Bob Munday often asking for updates on the case. I called every single phone number in Manoli's address book informing them of Manoli's passing and asking them what they remembered about him. Manoli left me a lot of clues but none of them predicted what happened. He did not leave a note. Apparently he was camping out of his car. I guess it was too cold in Georgia so decided to go to Florida, I'm almost sure he planned to visit his grandparents in Tampa but he just didn't make it there.

When Manoli got back from Argentina, he first arrived in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sadly, it was decided that Manoli and D. should go to separate cities because if they arrived together they would immediately leave together. I was opposed to this but didn't have much say in the matter. Since this ultimately meant that I did not see Manoli alive again, it took me a long time to forgive my father and those who recommended the plan of separate arrivals and departures. But no one could have predicted what happened. Manoli was 20 years old and in good health (as far as I know). Over the years, he did have a history of colds and hayfever but I doubt this had much to do with it.

In the first couple of months he was there, he passed the GED, got his driver's license, got a job and then bought a car. Then he went to live with uncle Tim in Atlanta.

I did more research and ultimately concluded that Manoli did not commit suicide. Once all the results of the tests were back in, the medical examiner also concluded that Manoli died of natural causes. Specifically, the autopsy report states that the cause of death was "severe acute bronchopnemonia, due to probable complication of acute upper respiratory infection." "Possible acetaminophen toxicity" is listed as a contributory cause. The Final Anatomic Diagnosis section lists the following:
No trauma. Severe acute bronchopneumonia with microscopic evidence of aspiration of gastric contents. Microscopic fatty metamorphic changes of liver, possibly early acetaminophen toxicity changes, but no clear necrosis, cirrhosis, or other findings. Acute and chronic inflammation of stomach and esophagogastric junction, with focal ulceration. Brain swelling, moderate.
The "Toxicologic Analysis" section reports that in his blood there was detected 465 mg/L of acetaminophen, 334 ng/ml of doxylamine and 419 ng/ml of diphenhydramine. In his urine, there was detected the 1003 ng/ml of the cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine.

I have often wondered just how normal it is for a relatively healthy 20-year-old man to die of pneumonia in a hotel room. I think he would still be alive today if he had just gone to a hospital. It makes me wonder if he may have been influenced by The Family's disturbing doctrines and policies regarding medical treatment. I have a lot of questions about how it could have happened but I'm not sure I'll ever know all the answers.
There is more to this story and I will update it soon and fix all the mistakes that are undoubtedly there. I just wanted to write something on what would have been Manoli's 32nd birthday. I have a lot of wonderful memories, and pictures (which will be posted at another site soon if anyone is interested) but there are certain gaps. The last time I saw him in person and alive was in September 1990.

It would make me very happy to hear from those who knew him and remember him. There are so many things I don't know about the last few years of his life.

Reader's comments on this article

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from danak
Saturday, December 09, 2006 - 11:21

Hi! When I first read about your brother's death I was truly surprised that he died from bronchopneumonia before his 21st birthday. Now that I read your article things are clearer to me. Bronchopneumonia is curable desease if person doesn't have imunity deficiency (like AIDS for example) which wasn't your brother's case. Curable under condition that person seeks and gets help soon enough. Bacterial bronchopneumonia is cured by antibiotics and most of viral bronchopneumonias only require good care - like enough fluids, rest, antipyretics and in severe cases oxygen support. If your brother didn't get medical attention soon enough, than it can be lethal even in days of modern medicine. Specialy if he was out in cold or didn't eat enough or used substances that depressed his imune system while he was sick (alcohol is one of them for example) - whatever lowered his immunity also lessend his chances of survival. In my country of origin we lost three young writers and poets who were twenty years of age becouse of pneumonia - but that was in early 20th century when antibiotics were not available yet. I am truly sorry for your loss.
(reply to this comment)
from Haunted
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - 19:11


Peter, I am truely sorry for your loss and cannot imagine the depths of your grief.

I'd like to say that I'm truely sorry if your brother's name appeared on the list of suicides I put together earlier this year. It was human error - I could only go on what I was told by those who knew the deceased or posted about them. Again, my appologies.
(reply to this comment)

from vixen
Saturday, March 26, 2005 - 03:34

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

You have my heartfelt sympathy.
(reply to this comment)

from Lance
Saturday, March 26, 2005 - 00:31


I'm sorry for your loss Peter. I can only imagine how terrible it must be to lose someone so close.

(reply to this comment)

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