This is the most difficult interview I’ve ever done. I lost someone so important to me, my grandfather, Frank Boone. I’m talking about the man who first taught me to lift weights. The instrumental figure in my life that taught me how to be a man. Frank Boone was incredibly special to everyone around him.
At 94 years old, my grandfather got sick during the pandemic. These factors made it extremely difficult because we weren’t allowed to see him. Due to these circumstances, I decided to write him a letter because I didn’t know if I was going to get the opportunity to say goodbye. The mere thought of this was mind blowing to me. Here's the letter I wrote him.
I love you so much, Papa. I wanted to remind you of the impact you’ve made on me as a man. None of these things would have ever happened without your guidance as a young man.
I put in pictures of my family and him with my grandma and me and my kids. Interviewing Tiger, interviewing Arnold, and him reading when I'm on the cover of a magazine. All this happened because of the lessons and values he instilled in me.
You made me believe that I could build myself up. You showed me how to lift weights when I was 12 years old. You made me believe that I could be big and strong. He was so big and strong. I didn’t have any muscle magazines. This dude is my hero. He's my idol. He's taking time with me every day to get better after work. When my parents split up, we moved in with my grandparents when I was in like sixth or seventh grade. It changed me forever.
You made me believe things could be done the right way. That you could stick to your values and still be successful. He was always a man of his word. He always talked about if this dude or that dude in business was squirrely, he didn't trust them. He was an old school World War II vet. It’s just the way he operates. I took notice and took it all that I could.
You made me believe in myself through lifting weights and helped me develop a positive mindset that I could accomplish anything. He always told me that he didn't know what was possible because he didn't understand the internet and the business that I had decided to go into. He was always pushing and thinking and wanting to be stronger as he got older.
I remember seeing him doing lat pulls with 180 pounds for 10 reps on his 80th birthday. That was his goal. He had goals still set up for his lifting then. It was wild. Our family will never be the same because of what you taught us. I love you Papa. And that's a fact because he got me started to believe that I could do something great. As a result, I’ve been able to change our situation forever.
Showing the tattoo I got of his father on my arm was a great moment. I wanted to show him the immense gratitude I felt. His dad Joseph died in the coal mine explosion in 1935 when my grandfather was nine years old. My grandpa became the man of the house at nine years old. Not only this, but his uncle, Isaiah, died the same day too. All of this happening two weeks before Christmas.
Joseph was the first weightlifter. He was showing my grandpa how to lift weights when he was nine or 10 years old. The chalk bowl at Old School is literally part of his barbell set. So, when you chalk up your hands at OSG, you're chalking into a late 1800’s barbell from my great-grandfather, from Frank Boone's father.
This is why I decided to get a portrait tattoo of his father. I wanted to show him how much he really meant to me. I wanted to pay homage.
Two Days Later
Two days later I got to see him. It was wild. He didn’t look like he was sick. He looked like he was doing well. That aside, I’m thinking to myself, “We're in hospice. There's no IV. I can see things are not working, right? Like his body's shutting down." But he's looking at me like he’s not even sick. He's pulling on me like get me out of his bed. I put golf on, and I sat down. My mom goes, "You know who this is?" "Oh, I know this is. This is Cory."
We're watching golf. He's talking about Steve Stricker missing a putt. He's talking about my golf shirt, saying that he likes it. He's feeling it, how comfortable it is. He's eating cookies. I'm thinking to myself, "This dude is about the pull through again?" But then my mind is like, "No. Cory, you need to just take a deep breath and soak all this up because this is probably the last time."
As we're talking, I locked eyes with him for a second and said, "I love you, papa." He looked back at me and said, "I love you too, buddy." I was able to give him a kiss on the cheek. He said, "Thank you."
He just wanted to get up. He's like, "Well, which way do I go?" I'm like, "Papa, you have to stay in the bed. You can't get up." And he's feeling fucking strong. I'm talking like different level of strength for a 90+ year old dude. I felt like I didn’t know if I could beat him in arm wrestling that day.
As he's taking his medicine to go to sleep, I'm getting ready to leave. He never woke back up. A day later, he passed away.
The Rally Day
It's called the Rally Day. The rally day is a phenomenon, right before people pass on that they have enhanced cognitive awareness and function. It's almost like they're not sick. There's a lot of people I've read about that have Alzheimer's and they can remember their family members at that time.
I was able to experience it with my Mom, grandma, and some other relatives. I didn't understand that phenomenon at the time, but I'm glad I was able to experience it before he passed.