around the frame may 2013 – our experiences

Francenberry –

Did I tell you that I am now attending community college with a young man who has Asbergers’ Syndrome? I go to English and Sociology classes with him. Then I assist with organizing homework and producing the assignments on time. It’s a sweet gig. I like the eighteen-year-old a lot and the college campus is beautiful –flower covered hills and a Pacific Ocean view.

Sandy’s poem about her grandmother (Apr. 13) was haunting. How much I take for granted about life and family. Those old stories can be amazing. My grandmother told me about the time she met my grandfather. He was in the cavalry during WWI, but they didn’t have horses. She first spied him and his troop-mates practicing their drills on bicycles.

She must have seen something that appealed! ?



Liz/Moascar (Apr. 13) adds, “I’m off to walk the beach with the ‘Golden Girls.’”

Liz (far right) and Golden Girls at the beach

Liz (far right) and Golden Girls at the beach

Dear Frances,

I’m not sure if we can get together when you are here visiting. I’m having medical tests done. I’ve been tired and having trouble with my stomach. I’ve lost a lot of weight. At first my doctor thought it was stress. Now, he’s not sure.

My life doesn’t seem very settled. Now I’ve left my husband and the problems with him seem to be over, my dad started being crabby! He got worse and worse. He kept asking to go spend time with my oldest brother, “I want to see Chuck! I want to see Chuck!”

I don’t drive and no one in the family wanted to take him!

Finally, I got another brother, David, to take Dad to see Chuck so I could have some peace. David came to get Dad and shook his head to me. “I don’t think this is a good idea … but, you do need a break!”

Even though I didn’t know what was happening, it seems my brothers all knew. After seven years sober, my dad was drinking again—with my brother, Chuck!

After that last visit, Dad could not even walk! He fell out of the car and rolled around on the ground. We couldn’t get him up! People from the other units where I live came out to see what was going on. They thought Dad was having a heart attack! An ambulance came. The paramedics took Dad to the hospital, “for observation.”

Now he is still in the hospital. They think something beyond drinking is wrong with him.

Why didn’t I see all this happening? Maybe I didn’t want to see it. I realize that I also didn’t see my husband’s problems or my older daughter’s troubles–until they were really b-a-d.

I am sure God has a plan for my life, but talk about twists and turns! What is God trying to tell me, now? Please pray for me.

Love and prayers,



LindaSue (April ‘13) adds, “I’m still trying to take one day at a time. It isn’t easy.”


Dear Frances,

I chaired a meeting last week and co-chaired this week. Having been in a classroom for thirty-two years, I want everyone to know the rules and to follow them. That attitude always gets me in trouble. After this week’s meeting, I felt disappointed because it hadn’t gone as I planned. I asked one of the seasoned members, “What went wrong?”

She looked surprised. “I thought it was perfect.”

Maybe I am too hard on myself. Perhaps I expect chairing this rather informal group to be more like leading a classroom. Time (and prayer?) will help give me perspective.

A bright spot is The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute which starts again tomorrow. My husband and I are taking two classes: a literature class where we’re reading, Emily Bronte’s masterpiece, Wuthering Heights, and a class on the father of psychoanalysis, Freud.

Happy days of learning ahead!




Lousie (Mar.’13) adds, “I am glad to be returning ‘ to school.’ Last semester my husband and I both had health issues and missed most of it.”


Hi Frances,

I loved your attic story! (Apr.’13 Extra) When I was about twelve years old, my mom made me put my dolls in the attic. She said I was getting too grown up for them. I cried and cried! I did not want to grow up. I wasn’t ready.

She said, “They will sleep forever for you in the attic.”

Her words and the whole situation was so dramatic and sad. (I still feel that way when I tell this story.) It was like my dollies were dead.

In spite of mom’s words, I never got them back. After she died, the house got sold. Whoever bought it must have just thrown out my treasures.

I always regretted not making a trip back for those things. There were stuffed animals up there, too, threadbare but dear. I can still cry easily when I think of my little bunny, whom I named “Bunnus.”

I did keep him in my bed through high school, but he disappeared, too. Guess I was embarrassed to take him to college. So now what do you think I have? Stuffed animals!!




Barbarajean (Apr. ‘13) says, “I even have stuffed animals in my car. Can’t get enough of them!”


Hello Frances,

I’m exhausted tonight. My husband, Bill, and I have had a busy spurt with our business. I’m feeling as though I am dragging out of hibernation, kicking and screaming. I love this time of year, but it means back to work with a vengeance. I guess I’m just not ready for it.

Bill leaves with his father in a few days for Washington, D.C., and a big week away from home. I will join them later next week. Frankly, a nice, quiet week here with just myself for company is what I need to recharge. It’ll be good. It will be a long drive for me later to join them – I’ll take along some books on tape.

So, there you go. This is what I know,



Linda Rosenthal (Apr. ‘13) adds, “I have maple trees to tend for sap this year. I will enjoy that and just plain time alone to think.”



Hi Fritzie,

You ask about my son, Bryan. His situation hasn’t gotten any better. The last time I talked to him was November ‘12. As usual, he was in a big hurry. He said, “Can’t talk now Mom. Will call you later.”

Of course, “later” never came. Now his phone goes straight to voice mail. He is on my telephone plan, and I can see he hasn’t used his phone for two months. (No minutes are recorded from his phone.)

I talked to the lady at the garage where his car is parked (I pay that bill.) She said his car hasn’t moved for close to a year. (His tags are outdated, too.)

The coordinator at the YMCA said she has gone to his room several times to talk to him about getting help because he is three months behind and is on the list to be evicted.

She told me his room is full of junk and trash. She also said he has “let himself go.” He does not have a job.

Bryan thinks he is going to be rescued. He thinks the FBI is going to put him in protective custody!

I don’t know, Fritzie. I hate that I can’t force him to get help. (I think every lawyer and mental health person in town knows my name.) They all say the same thing: he has to get help himself, he is an adult.

Really? His might be an adult, but his mind is scrambled and he can not be reasoned with.

What can a caring mother do? Apparently, nothing!

Take care,



Patricia (Apr. ‘13) adds, Friends and my doctor have advised me to not seek guardianship of my son citing my own health and age.”



A reply to your recent email is, there is no end to setbacks.My husband, Jean, suffered a TIA (Trans Ischemic Attack or small stroke) after coming home from rehab and was back in hospital five days.

To complicate my life, three weeks agoI mis-stepped coming out of the shower. I thrust out my right arm to save myself, but whacked down into the toilet bowl which was hard as a rock. I needed a trip to the Emergency Room where I was told I had fractured my rightcollar bone near the shoulder. PAINFUL!

Now I have home therapy and it is getting better, finally!




Bernadette (Apr. ‘13) says, “I can type a bit of an email with the left hand.”


Hi Frances,

I am sorry that I didn’t get back to you sooner. My life has been like a roller coaster. My husband rented our villa to a race car driver and his family for two weeks during a local racing event.

Of course I had to clean the house from top to bottom. Then, we had to leave. We were gone for ten days, visiting our children across the USA.

(We were both exhausted! We’ll never travel like that again.)

During this time, I developed female problems. I’ll have to have surgery. (My body is falling apart!)

Hope your life is much better than mine.



Lynan(Sept. ‘12) adds, “Congratulation on your book. Do you have plans to write another ? May you be blessed with many more writing inspirations. I am proud of you.”


Dear Frances,

My life back in New Jersey continues. On Thursday the lawyer called. He said, “The judgment is in. Your name has been approved by the state.”

I was delighted, I wanted to get the car registered in NJ. I went to his office and his assistant handed me the documents. I took out my reading specs and guess what happened! Both lenses popped out and I couldn’t read the document.

The next day, I went to the optometry store. They put my lenses back in and I returned to the lawyer. I thought I was becoming a NJ resident until I saw that the lawyer (or the court ?) changed my date of birth! The Department of Motor Vehicles didn’t accept that judgment, neither did the bank or my car insurance.

On the same day, I had to go and see Uncle Jerry’s lawyer to sign some papers. Somehow that office gave me a different first name! Not “Lotte” but “Loretta.” I pointed out the difference to that lawyer and he was a bit embarrassed.

After all of that, I will not be able to inherit anything from Uncle Jerry after all. Medicare/ Medicaid swallowed up the entire amount which I was awarded.

Oh well, I was poor and now I am still poor, but in good health and in excellent spirits.

This is my life and I am still going forward to the road of success.

Until next time, my best wishes!



Lotte (Apr. ‘13) adds, “Tomorrow, I will be at the Korean temple and they will be chanting for several hours. I notice that many people fall asleep –including me. It is so relaxing!”


 Fading moments become more precious.

 James (Mar. ‘13) adds, “When time is limited, it becomes more valuable.”

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