around the frame aug 2010 – our experiences

My dearest Francula,

I have been thinking about your July ’10 letter a lot. Why does first love continue to resonate throughout our lives? Or, is it only unrequited first love? Perhaps it is like that first drink, drug, or spiritual awakening — it is never as intense as the first time.

            Sometimes I fear I just don’t feel emotions as deeply as I did when my hormones were raging. Or perhaps I used up my share of those feelings, or I don’t have anyone to pour them on. I know I need to bathe myself in them.

More later,



Liz/Moscar (July ’10) adds, “I’ve been moving, freakin’ out, and actually working like a mad thing on this research grant. Next– two job interviews.”



Dear Frances,

In your last letter you observed my husband was running our household. Yes, I know that, now. Looking back, I can see he always has. I don’t know why — I can’t understand it. I am the one earning an income. Now he has started having health problems. He thinks he is dying and is driving everyone crazy.

        A while back I mentioned I wished I were Amish. Actually, some of my dad’s relatives really were Amish. You reminded me in that culture, the husbands, brothers and fathers rule the women and children. Yes, I know. In the books I read the men are also loving and caring.  Their family is important to them. My dad always says, “Children are a blessing from God.”  But, my husband always felt children were “in the way.” He didn’t want any.

        I do have some friends. There is a lady in the nursing home where I work who gives me a hug every time she sees me. She also tells me she is praying for me. 

She has met my husband and says, “I don’t trust him. It isn’t right … a man who doesn’t want to support his wife.” She says even the Bible says men should “provide for his own.”

         We go to church, but my husband sleeps! When I ask him why, he tells me early on he went to church only to make his mother happy and she’s gone now.

        I still take one day at a time. I study my Bible and pray a lot. My dad and I hope for a better future. God is in control.

        Love and prayers,


LindaSue (July ’10) adds, “One of the reasons I married my husband is I thought he had a strong faith. We went to church together before we got married. A lot has changed since then…”






Hi Frances,

            I always print Ninepatch, take it into the living room. I read it as the TV news reports events of the day and I sip a martini.

            Something has recently been on my mind and I keep asking The Universe for help with it.  I have been granted extra years. At eighty-four, I have lived far longer than any ancestor. Of course nowadays, people are living longer, but I say to The Universe, “Help me do something with my extra years.”

In my prayer and meditation, I got answers. One was, “Do some little things three or four times a week for someone who expects nothing.” It’s an old thought, but it seems right. I feel good about what I do.

When I talk of my work, reading and travels, I notice many older women say, “Oh well, I’m eighty and I just hibernate.”

Another message I got from The Universe relates to those women who feel finished. About them The Universe said, “By living happily and looking younger than your years, you show other women they can do the same for themselves.” 

This kind of knowing is a long way from “reading” my bubbles (July 2010).  But it’s true.

            Be well, be happy!


M.Joan (July ’10) adds, “I am single, run my own business and still put in long hours. Life has blessed me in many ways.”



Dear Fritzie, 

After his long illness, two days ago my husband passed away. I was with him and was able to speak gentle thoughts. There is a hole in my heart today and it will heal. 

Both our sons are here with me and have been of great comfort. We are so glad this is over for him that we aren’t as sad as you might think. He is at peace

— what we have wanted for so long.

As I came out of my dream sleep this morning, I was planning what to take to the nursing home and then when I thought about him being gone, I wondered if I was dreaming or awake.



Elaine (July ’10)adds, “Thoughts come at me quickly — I’m a widow; I’m a single woman; I won’t be going to the nursing home tomorrow; it’s 6:30 in the evening and I’m never home at this time…”




            Sorry! I’m not much of a correspondent lately.  I seem to be either working, sleeping, or mindlessly playing Internet games (I think that gaming soothes me, somehow.) 

Our vacation starts a week from today and lasts for two weeks.  So much to do in the meantime!                     

Preparing a motorcycle trip is different, more complicated than car travel. 

            I do hope that all is well with you, I suspect that it is.  You say you are “unsettled.” I get blues after landing in a place different than my regular home.  Perhaps it is separation from your hubby?  Memories of the past (your first love story) stirring?  Missing your Florida friends?  It is difficult to “wait,” to feel grounded isn’t it? 

            Alas, duty calls. In a few minutes, I must mow my portion of the lawn and that will take a couple of hours.  Aaach! 

Until “later,”


          Linda Rosenthal (July ’10) adds, “I seem to have to will myself to do everything except play games.”



Dear Frances-

I was glancing through the May ‘10 issue of Ninepatch, while getting ready to pack to travel to Massachusetts for the remainder of the summer. I thought of many things.

        One thing that crossed my mind was about not seeing people I care about. It seems that my friendships are mostly made for life. With these folk, we will effortlessly pick up with one another at our next encounter as if we have never really been apart. We start wherever we left off.

        We matter to each other — care about each other — while going on with our daily “living forward.”  You are one of those friends, Frances.

        With regular reading, Ninepatch writers are, too– in a way.

        Love you,


        Nancyann (July ’10) adds, “I also thought about my favorite time of day. It’s late afternoon. I call it ‘the golden time.’ If I am at the beach that time of day, I hate to go home. To me, it feels like basking in warmth and fullness and beauty — no matter where I am.”



Hi Frances,

              Yesterday I went out dancing to work on #2 from my summer plans list (June ’10), “practice dance steps.”  I drove about twenty-five miles to a Friday night dance.  Arrived just as they were setting the tables for “lunch” at 8:30 PM!

As I stood in the doorway surveying the crowd in hopes of finding a nice young lady to dance with, I discovered they all seemed as a OLD as me! J

I went on to Sioux Falls.  Their VFW had a cowboy band, but the lights were out all over that part of town.  Trusting luck, I chose my partner in the dark.

Eventually lights came on and I saw who I was dancing with.  However, by then I was having a good time and it didn’t matter.

Today I started thinking about # 6 of my summer plans:  make a pizza better than Liberty Bell Chalet.


 I realized I’d first have to learn to make mozzarella cheese!   What you find in the stores is often artificial or the real stuff is too old.  Cheese is the best when it is fresh and used within two or three days. I also need fresh pasteurized milk, citric acid, rubber gloves, a very accurate thermometer, cheese cloth, and stainless steel pots, knives and rennet– a liquid used in preparing jams and jellies.  

Wish me luck. 


Le (June ’10) says, “Since I didn’t get my tomato and cherry-pepper plants into the ground until mid-June– summer plan #1 — I’m hoping for a late fall.  Today I dissolved some calcium tables in water and poured a bit around each of the plants.  Reason:  the soil needs calcium to prevent ‘blossom bottom rot.’  In my childhood, folks added crush-ed egg shells to their gardens — calcium!”




At six this evening, we had Nancy Cat put to sleep. She was nineteen years old and I had her seventeen of those years. 

She was doing okay until last night when she threw up nothing but blood. It was not good from then on.  She stayed wherever I was and cried when she moved. The vet examined her and found a tumor in her abdomen. 

She is the last of our old cats.  My “ladies,” Nancy and Charlotte were with me from early 90’s.  Andy was about fifteen and ours from 1997 until last year.

Only three are left.  They are still young but the two black brother and sister are diabetic and need daily insulin. Mr. Gray is seven years old. Hopefully these pets will be around for awhile. 

I will miss Nancy.  I miss Charlotte and Andrew, too.  


Patricia (July’10) adds, “The pets I’ve lost will not be replaced. Any new cat might outlive me. I am really sad. Sometimes getting old sucks.” 



Hi Frances,

     You asked me if I still blame things I do on “Lucy.”  I did that all the time when my husband was alive. Now he’s gone, but I still do it with my boyfriend on occasion.  Lucy is such a part of me that I will go to my grave with her.

It is fun to have someone to blame for my sometimes outlandish behavior or carelessness.  Don’t you sometimes just want to let loose and do something

really kooky, like singing “Little Ducky Duddle” or acting childish, doing a wild dance, or just making funny faces? 

I find I don’t do as much of that playful stuff anymore and I sometimes wonder why.  It is hard to pinpoint what has made me a more somber person.  Maybe losing my

husband and all my family being far away has something to do with it. 


My boyfriend tends to be on the serious side most of the time. I’m sure that is part of it, too, although I have to admit, when I act silly he usually plays along.  

            I hope you have a wonderful summer in Michigan.  Stay cool and enjoy.


Judy (April ‘09) adds, “Life can be demanding on a day to day basis and sometimes “Lucy” and I just need to brighten it up a little.  I used to write little notes and put them in my husband’s socks when he went away on business trips. Other times, I’d pack something personal of mine in with his underwear.  He said it was always a welcome surprise and made him feel that I was always with him.” 



Appreciation grows with need.


       James (July ’10) adds, “It’s easy to take things for granted until they become scarce.”


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