around the frame jul 2009

Dear Frances,

            The June ‘09 issue was really great.  Thank you to all who share such touching and tender parts of your lives and your creative selves.  I just loved the poem, “Wind.”

            A friend lent me two books which I just finished.  One is a novel by Rohinton Mistry called, A Fine Balance. It takes place in India starting at the time of the country’s partition from Pakistan in the late forties. It has vivid characters, and tragic events spanning six hundred three pages. I had a hard time putting it down.

The other book is a memoir by Nien Cheng called, Life and Death in Shanghai.  It is about their cultural revolution. It was another whopper: five hundred forty- four pages, but was also


            I am on the committee planning our 55th high school reunion. I learned at the last meeting that our school — which was the most beautiful school in

the city back then is now equipped with metal detectors and police are always on duty there. I was sad to hear that and wonder what it would take to change it back to what it was.  




Louise (Apr. ’09) says, “A classmate from Arizona will be coming to the reunion and will stay at our house.  It will be wonderful to have time with her again.”



This June ’09 issue seems to be tales of journeys and transitions which in itself is life’s

main motif. That is probably why I am fascinated by tales of others’ journeys. I am interested in how they may relate to my own life. Speaking of that, I am just wrapping up Ellen Burstyn’s Lessons in Becoming Myself. It’s fascinating and highly relatable.

Yes, there are similarities between her life and mine: the toxic family relationships and certifiably crazy ex-husbands.  But when I look beyond these facades, I find a deeper character simpatico.

Burstyn describes her impulsive moves — taking the leap of faith with little money and no sense of consequences. My travels have often followed the motion of seaweed moving effortlessly in the currents and tides and going wherever they swayed me. When I was much younger –and a little more foolish — I hitchhiked into Halifax, Nova Scotia with less than $1.50 to my name. 

Even though I am like Ellen in some ways, obviously I haven’t yet become an Oscar winning actress and star of stage and screen. But her memoir has moved me into a self- realization that a pattern in my life has been to make sweeping impulsive choices sometimes based on delusions of grandeur. Always these have been met with results far different from those of my dreams.

Yet, as in Lessons in Becoming Myself, I am beginning to appreciate the journey. At least for today.

       Keep on keeping on,




Liz/Moscar (May’09) says, “I remember I spent most of my $1.50 in Halifax on cigarettes!

Talk about foolhardy…”




Dear Frances,

Thank you for your list of books. Reading seems to help.

        In my last letter I said, “I know new choices exist in my head, but not in my heart.”  You wrote back, “The process of moving from one’s head to one’s heart is slow.”  It isn’t easy, either. There are no clear directions.

        I am trying to do nice things for myself. I went out to lunch with friends. It was fun.  I still read, write letters and share ideas with my dad and friends at work. One lady suggested I call the Women’s Resource Center and ask if they could help me find another counselor or support group.  I have an appointment at the center later this month.

        Meanwhile, I reread Step Two in my Twelve Step book, “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to wholeness.”  Oh yes!  I believe in a Greater Power than myself! It took me through surgery, divorce and many other things I did not understand.

        I am human and have limitations. I need hope. I need faith — faith in my Higher Power. That is what keeps me going.

        I hope all is well with you. God bless!

        Love and prayers,



        LindaSue (June ’09) says, “Recently we had a family get-together. My husband picked up our daughter, Anita. We had lots to eat and played cards. It was a nice day. No drinking. No fighting!”


Dear Frances,

            Uncle Jerry is — again– in the hospital. His doctor called and said to take him to the ER. Uncle’s hemoglobin is far too low. He must be losing blood internally.

            He received a blood transfusion and two days later the doctor did a colonoscopy. There was a tumor. A biopsy was done. It turned out to be cancerous. I spoke with a surgeon who will remove the growth– hopefully– in a few days.

            This afternoon, the doctor who did the colonoscopy came by to tell us the cancer is local. That is encouraging.

            Uncle Jerry is really looking forward to the surgery. He thinks of eating normally and going to the bathroom on a regular basis.

            Hope all is well with you. I’ll let you know how the surgery goes.

Warm regards,


(Uncle Jerry says, “Hi.”)


            Lotte (June ’09) adds, “I’m writing this e-mail from a hospital computer. I have been in the hospital with Uncle Jerry nearly a week. I sleep, eat and drink here, too.”




Hi Fritzie,

            You drove to Michigan? And set up a condo? Helping your son, too? Sounds like you have been a busy lady.   

I got a recent urge to move — maybe back to Florida — but then I looked around me and thought, “Nah.”  I like this house and I really don’t want to pack all that stuff, sell things and move again.

            Well, here’s an update on Keith, my middle son who lived with us in 2008 while he was getting a divorce. He’s not good.  He still thinks someone who used to be his best friend is con-trolling his mind.  He blames everything on that guy. (I talked to the ex-friend and he said that the reason Keith lost his job was because he just sat and stared straight ahead.) He said my son would not talk to anyone and he didn’t know his old friend anymore. 

No matter what anyone says, my son refuses to get help.  He doesn’t admit there is a problem.  I have spent a lot of money trying to help Keith, but it hasn’t changed his trouble one bit.  In fact, he is worse. Now, he doesn’t have a job. I expect he will be evicted from the Y where he’s been living and will go live in an open shelter. 

I have told him to get help from the people at Net Care, a mental health group. I think they would help him and said I would even take him there.

Keith can not come back here and live with my husband and me.  I could never explain how it was those nine months he was here.

He just keeps me depressed and stressed out.  When he calls it is always bad news.  He doesn’t even ask for assistance, he demands it.  It is really bad. I just can’t deal with him anymore. He is over forty. I can’t help him anymore.


Patricia adds, “I can’t force Keith to get help. I have called several agencies and they all tell me the same thing.  There’s no-thing they can do.  My son has to make the first move.” 



            Mother’s funeral was a graveside service since my oldest sister tried to keep costs down, bless her heart.  It was nice, actually.  Mother’s neighbor and friend is a pastor/psychologist – and a Jamaican. She used to call him her “Black angel.” (I say that with my eyes rolling.  Mother was I and sheltered.   She was always quite the racist.) He conducted the service.

Now that Mother’s gone, I’m feeling bouts of nostalgia.  My childhood seems idyllic, so was living near Lake Michigan. The Silver Beach Amusement Park nearby was very unique, too. I miss it. Truly I was blessed with that situation. 

Anyway, the sun is shining today.  The weather is to be better next week. I keep working at writing little things like this note to you to focus my energy.  It’s all that I can do.  Glad that you are here to read it.

Take care,



            Linda (June’09) adds, “Next week, I may go listen to a man who compiled a history about Silver Beach. My hometown (where the lecture will be) is about 2 ½ hours away.  Something compels me to go and listen to him.”


Dear Frances,

            All is going well here in Albuquerque.  I’ve had an opportunity to fix, rearrange and organize many things in our home and to design and implement a xeri-scaping project for our yard.  We were able to get a large rebate on the cost from the water department. 

Now, I am preparing to move from Albuquerque to go to my new mission — I will be the pastoral life coordinator (“pastor” for a priest-less parish) for a small rural town, in New Mexico.  Most of the people I serve are Hispanic and live very poorly.  The majority of the people are poor and the rest are middle class. 

I will be doing all the pastoral work of the parish and a priest will come most Sundays for the celebration of the Mass. If he cannot come, I will have a “communion service” which is a service that uses previously consecrated Eucharist. 

  Please pray for me and for the a retired Sister who will be joining me that we serve the people of St. Anthony well and lead them  into a closer relationship with God.

      Much love and many prayers your way!



            Patience (June ’09) adds, “This placement is as close as I can get to the foreign Spanish-speaking mission work I desired. It was not a good idea to go to the foreign mission because I would be isolated. During my discernment process, I realized I function best when I live within a community of Sisters. Also, to maintain my health, it is necessary to remain in the USA.”



You wrote about your difficulty getting settled for a longer summer stay in Michigan. I hope things are smoothing out for you.  I applaud your efforts to build your relationships with family.

I’ve been attending more Twelve Step meetings in the last week and a half, and I notice how often someone comments about their difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships. I identify easily with that! These comments also include difficulties with maintaining a strong relationship with God. Bingo again.

Last December I fired my psychiatrist.  I didn’t feel we were getting anywhere. Just last week my internist asked me to try a newer drug for depression. Almost immediately it lifted me out of the deep slough I had experienced all winter. That’s why I’m able to get out and attend more meetings.

My fingers are crossed that this prescription will continue to be effective.

            That’s all.




            Elaine (June ’09) adds, “I follow a Happiness Project on line.  I subscribe to a blog where a woman researches and writes about happiness. She encourages others to form Happiness Project groups. In case you are curious, here is the link to the new group forming in Gainesville, FL.: The idea is intriguing.”




Where you “are” is important.



James (June ’09) adds,   “Where you are is the result of where you’ve been.”

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