around the frame jul 2010 – our experiences

Dear Frances,

Kindergarten. How I loved it! Loved my teacher and she loved me.   I remember the “cubby” where I kept my things and my mat to lay on the floor for my afternoon nap. I wore pigtails, too — like you wrote that you did (May ’10). Skinny ones. Braiding was a painful experience — part of the process of making a child presentable.

        Kindergarten was the bright spot of my school years.

        Love you,


        Nancyann ( May ’10) adds, “ I love the sharing that happens in  Ninepatch. Often reading it brings to mind Kierkegaard’s saying, “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.”




I got May ‘10’s Ninepatch late yesterday. I enjoyed it very much, especially Lotte’s May ’10 article about the nursing home. I can relate to that.

My father was in such a facility for a year and a half. My sister went one day to visit him and I went the next. We were very close to our parents.

The OWL’s Club practiced a presentation and went to three nursing homes, where we put on a little skit and sang. The residents seemed to enjoy getting into the spirit of Christmas.



Glenda (June’10) adds, “During the winter, many plants were killed on the north side of my cottage. My daughter took me to get new ones. It was lovely, but I got a little tired trying to help replant. The sun was wonderful but the heat got to me.”



My dearest Fritzabelle,

June’s 9- patch was fabulous — a truly eclectic quilt. Your reflection as you walk the mall reads as an “aha” moment of clarity. Death does seem to have a way to propel the living into a new realm.

As you reflected on your divorce decision, a string of choices I made popped into my consciousness. The death of a colleague’s baby actually prompted me to propose marriage to my younger son’s father. (That person I was now seems long ago and far away.)

Reading on, I chafed at the unfair treatment that Karen Louise’s building seemed to be doling out. However, it’s not that actual messes bother me as much as the minutiae of dealing with the details!

Gail’s poem about four- wheeling really resonated with my memory of a similar experience. And, June Poucher’s review of the Guernsey Potato Peel Society caught my attention. The book floated into my awareness at the time of its publication.  I had meant to read it then.

       Maybe, after all the stuff I have to do this summer I will get to it! Let’s see – my list is some-thing like: graduate/move house /get younger son to fencing nationals/arrange a trip with older son/ blah, blah, blah.

Anyhoo, I’m going to hit the hay!

Sweet dreams!



Liz/Moscar  (June’10) adds, “I spent a few days on Guernsey years ago. The Channel Islands are beautiful and the only part of the UK that was invaded by the Germans.”



Hi, Frances.

        It was really nice to hear from you.  I skimmed most of the May ’10 Ninepatch, except your story from your childhood. I saved that for another day as I was in a hurry.  I have been very busy since.

         Tuesday after Mother’s Day, my daughter came back into my life. (My “alone” life was short-

lived.)  Now, I again serve the maternal role: being there for her. 

She has so little in the way of support. It is scary. (I know you know.) I want to be there for her.  She has my car now and if I have to pay her rent, I’ll do that too — for now anyway. 

She is in bad shape, not feeling good about herself but trying to, thank God.  I took her out to eat and it obviously meant so much to her. I felt blessed. 

It’s odd, but in watching my feelings and remembering my history, I see an undercurrent. Part of me wants to turn on her and treat her the way my family treated me: as a problem too boring to deal with. Is it a hope that she won’t suffer as I did? 

        Wow. I think back thirty years and see how awful it was not to be more supported.  But I also think, “How great! I survived it all!”

By the way, I liked your new little writing — the “glimpse” you shared with e-readers. 

        Have a good summer and stay in touch!




Shari (May ’10) adds, “I don’t want to hurt my beautiful daughter. She does not deserve it. Nor did I, come to think of it. That thought estranges me from my family of origin even more. It’s a mental health choice.”



Dear Frances;

             Another adventure coming? Seems each letter from you brings news of events that take your time but give you rewards, be it home renovation, Ninepatch events or visiting your kids. I hope this trip will be good.

As for me and ‘my guy’…  It still seems strange saying I have a ‘boyfriend.’  After the luck I’ve had in the past, my divorce, and five years of avoiding dating like the plague, I had started to wonder if I’d ever take this step.

            We’ve been seeing each other almost two months and our relationship seems to be just getting better. The funny thing happens whenever people ask how long we’ve been seeing each other. He always looks at me, smiles, and says, “A  week.” 

            Once I clued-in, I started doing the same. Years from now, perhaps, we’ll still be saying “a while!”

Mean time, we’re busy-busy. He’s an auto-worker who also works weekends doing window installations.  I’ve still got work, house, grandbaby and everything else in my life to look after. But we take off for mini-vacations when time allows. He rides a Harley Davidson, Easy Glide Classic.  We spend after-noons exploring and visiting friends and family. Sometimes we just hang out, play cards, and relax. Life is good.

I hope this note finds you well and that you and JK enjoy the budding summer.


LynnTROR (Mar.’10) says, “Everything’s been crazy of late with celebrating birthdays and helping friends move.  I hardly have time to check my e-mail!”




The weak are less able

to sustain




       James (June ’10) adds, “The strong can better counter adversity.”





So you are driving north this summer.  How often do you go?

I’ve asked for a hospice referral for my husband who is now in a nursing home. I’m waiting to see where that goes. Once the nursing home doctor makes the hospice referral, the hospice physician needs to con-cur. That starts the wheels in motion.

What I want most for him is to come home. I know that’s not possible given the amount of care he requires. I’ve met with hospice staff and read up on it and,   (Continued on the next page.)

honestly, I don’t know what path hospice would recommend. I’m impatient. Once I make up my mind, I want an action plan. I need to know what’s next. I don’t want my husband of forty-three years to suffer any longer so perhaps my impatience is warranted.

         I’ve called funeral homes and requested price lists. I’ve contacted the VA cemetery. I’ve checked obituaries to see what funeral homes are used most frequently. I suppose I should write an obituary.

Although my perseverance is calm, all of this still seems callous especially since he could live for months and months. At least I’ll have the pieces in place. In my heart I know I’m doing what is right. 

Safe trip my friend. I mean that.



         Elaine (June’10) adds, “I’ve already misplaced my paper issue of Ninepatch. The paperwork on this journey with my husband has been monumental. I have a basket where I stack all related materials. It’s not

well organized but when I need something, I know where to look. Ninepatch will show up where I least expect it.”



Hi Frances,

            Yesterday, I saw two baby mourning doves in a nest in our front River Birch.  The nest is surprisingly low so I can look right in. The daddy dove just looked at me.  It was so precious.  He seemed to be smiling. 

I read about doves on the Internet. The male dove sits on the nest during the day and females at night.  I was glad to read this as it seemed the same dove was sitting on the nest continuously. 

There was also a last minute get together yesterday at my granddaughter’s. The men grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.  It was a nice. Everyone was in good spirits.  Smiles and good words.  I am grateful.

Wishing you many blessings, Frances, as you prepare for your adventure driving north.


Dottie (June ‘10) adds, “It was a special day.”



Hi Frances,

      This spring was glorious, one of the nicest I can remember.  Rochester, New York is called, “The Flower City” and lilacs are the highlight.  They were about two weeks early this year due to the warmer than usual spring.

            At our home a lawn company came to edge, weed, and mulch, something we no longer do ourselves.  It looks so nice.  Some old bushes surrounding a Japanese Maple were removed so that the beautiful tree could take center stage. 

            I joined a class similar to a book club except we saw current films and discussed them. At the same time, my husband took a literature class. I was also the reviewer for my book club.  I had chosen, Home, by Marilynne Robinson. It is a spiritual journey in novel form — an excellent book– as is, Gilead, written two years earlier with the same characters.  Both books won prestigious awards.

 Now, it’s on to summer!

        Love to you,



Louise (May ’10) says, “My ‘new’ dog, Maggie, is coming along with her training and is more obedient although still ‘reactive’  — a nice way of saying she wants to greet every dog, squirrel or bird we pass as we walk.”



Hi Fritzie,

        All is well here.  My husband has his garden planted out back. A couple of bunnies check out the area most mornings. So, he surrounded the growing area with barriers and chicken wire to keep out garden wreckers — even if they are cute.

I got the house “spring cleaned,” windows washed and patio furniture set up.  I don’t do as much as I used to.  I am glad this house is small. 

I’m going to start reading Laura Bush’s book. I have watched her interviews with her daughters and have already read some parts of the book. I think it will be a peaceful, lovely read. 

        Going to close now my friend. 

Hope the oil stays away from the shores of Florida. Hope that leak is plugged soon.

        Take care. 


        Patricia (May ‘10 ) adds, “Our youngest cat, Mr. Gray, and the rest are fine.  Gray goes for his yearly check and shots tomorrow.  That will finish them all for the year.”



Dear Frances,

        Last night I missed living with my older daughter, Anita. We used to pick up hamburgers on Friday night and rent a movie. Instead my husband bought us hamburgers after he picked me up from work, and we did not rent a movie. “No movies in my house!” He says they are against “his religion.”  What next!

        I notice in the last newsletter, I mentioned our cats and hubby’s new dog.  Well, both cats are gone now.  When the dog came, my cat started “marking his territory.” Seems he and the dog were having a pee-contest, They were both piddling in the house!

One day I came home from work and my cat was gone. My husband and daughter took him to the vet and had him put to sleep!  It’s interesting that my daughter’s cat stayed on several months more, even though it was messing around, too. I told Molly she had to keep that animal downstairs. That is the only say I had in the whole affair.

         You asked me what –exactly — I meant by “my baby steps.” Anymore, I don’t know what they are.  I don’t see my lunch girlfriends. The one I loved best died of cancer and the others just seem busy with their families. I just take one day at a time, read the Bible and pray a lot. I know God has a plan and nothing comes quickly. Only the Lord and time can heal wounds.

Love and prayers,


LindaSue (June’10) adds, “I send Christmas and birthday and to my lunch girlfriends and they remember me, too.”



Man, Frances!

I don’t even know how to begin.

        I just read your email where you asked for pictures of my quilts. Quite frankly there will be no photos of my quilts coming any time soon …nor any others for that matter. I just lost my home… and EVERYTHING in it.  There was a fire early in the morning last Saturday.  My fiancé and I weren’t there and came home to find the house engulfed in flames. (Well … the inside anyway — it was an earth home.) Nothing is salvageable.

I’ve been working hours sifting  through rubble just trying to find essentials, like keys to other vehicles in the back garage and my safety deposit key so they won’t hafta’ drill it open which might take months.

       I did find my deceased husband John’s flag memorial frame with a bit of an old picture and some remnants of his grave-side flag but no dog tags. They were shielded in a frame with a flag. Such stories I have on all this…

Oh … and I am searching for something…ANYTHING…left from my daughter who was killed by a drunk driver a few years ago. I lost her — and now I’ve also lost her “things.”

And, my two babies…my cat, Edgurl, and my daughter’s cat, Stripes.  I took Stripes in after my daughter died… now both animals are missing. 

My intended and I have searched thru the ashes over and over, sifting  spots  where the cats would have died if they hid. Nothing!

Hopeful they escaped; we put food out. I left a t-shirt I had slept in for three days to assure them I was OK. So far, no sign of them.

I can only continue to hope and pray they are in the woods somewhere.

Keep me in your prayers my dear friend. Thru love and prayers, I hope to get thru this.



CaT (May’10) adds, “Every trip over to the scene of the fire is hard … maybe even harder than

the last.”



Dear Frances,

      It is — in the words of my husband –“a splendid day” here in Michigan.  Splendid.  Temperatures are in the low/middle 70s and no clouds clutter the sky.  It is days like this that I miss the sailboat very much.  However, when I think of it, I also recall the difficult situation I endured until I finally gave it back to the man who had “given” it to me. My husband and I still discuss buying another, it just hasn’t happened yet.

     You suggested I read, Thin Places by Mary Demuth who wrote about awful secrets of her past. That brought me to Mary Karr and a book called, Lit.  I am finding strength from her ability to write about her past with honesty. 

My poet/artist friend from the Schuler Book Store days, mentioned Mary Karr’s name and book, “Liar’s Club” in an e-mail. My friend started the Secret Writing Group.  I haven’t contributed yet, but I am work-ing at a story that was gnawing on me.  (Continued on the next page.)

Right now I lack the discipline of writing each day, but I’ll get there.

I have had lots of revelations about my past lately and both stories-in-progress are part of that.  One of the wonderful tools of Twelve Step Recovery is developing an awareness of where the cracks are in my soul.  I leak a lot of energy through those crevices. Recovery has pulled false repairs off some of those fissures and allowed me to be aware of and work on true reversal of the damage.  What a relief! I sincerely believe that this continues to help me maintain my happiness. 

            Hope all is well with you and JK.  Life is good here.

Best of all regards,



Linda Rosenthal (June ’10) adds, “Thank you very much for the Ninepatch birthday greetings.  It was the most pleasant birthday that I have passed in awhile though I’m not sure why!  I used to get upset right before that day but that energy seems to have changed.  Hmm.”

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