FRANCES AND FRITZIE

Editor’s Note: Following is a page from my spiritual notebook.

Am I a flirt? Maybe, but I don’t think of myself that way. “Frances” is “a watcher” and kind of quiet. But, somewhere along my years, I seem to have also developed, “Fritzie,” an outgoing chatterbox.

In February this year, I started a new book. Before I write about my Ireland Pilgrimage, my writers’ group reminded me I need tell the reader about myself. Last week, I told about Fritzie, the flirt!

Pony-tails were in and I wore one when I was fifteen in 1959. That summer, Mother, Daddy and I vacationed at Lake Syracuse for three weeks. One afternoon, my chores were done and I was sunbathing on our dock when I heard the gentle pa-poom, pa-poom of an inboard motorboat. I raised my head as a wooden Chris-Craft idled past, beyond the swimming buoys. Two guys waved. Who’s that? I stood up and raised my hand, in reply. The boat circle and nosed into our dock. I didn’t know the crew-cut brown-haired guy behind the wheel or blond kid with hair slicked back like Elvis, who lounged opposite him.
“Hi,” said the blond. He stood and reached for one of the dock’s posts to steady the rocking inboard. The crew-cut boy cut the engine and the other said, “You aren’t from around here, are you?”

I grinned. “No. I’m Fritzie Ridenoure, from Goshen. We’re renting The Shoemaker Cottage.” I pointed to the white bungalow on shore.

“Didn’t think so. My name’s Gary Grimes. I live over in town.” He sat down on the back of the seat and shook his thumb at the crew-cut guy. “This is my friend, Rob Chuler. He’s from Wawasee.”

That big lake through the channel! “Hi, Gary! Hi, Rob!”

Gary waved at the glassy water. “The lake’s so smooth! Great day for skiing!”

Really?” I frowned a little and looked at their clothes. Both wore t-shirts and jeans.

Gary laughed. “Well, not today.” He looked down at his pants. “No trunks. No, skis or rope!”

Rob spoke. “I have to get the boat back.”

Gary said, “Hey! Maybe we can go skiing sometime.”

I grinned. Daddy taught me how to water ski. “OK! Wait. What’d you say you names are? My folks will want to know.”

The blond said, “Gary Grimes.”

The driver replied, “Rob Chuler.”

OK.” I repeated the names to myself.

Gary said, “Maybe, see you tomorrow?”

Rob added, “If I can get the boat.”

Gary grinned, “See ya’!”

Clearly, that was: “Fritzie, the flirt!” But, understanding how my two personalities work is a puzzle.

Later, Gary prepares to water ski.

Later, Gary prepares to water ski.

 

I notice I often talk a lot when I am nervous. I wonder if “the flirt” is partly a social adaptation for my shy self (Frances) who had acne and didn’t make small talk.

Two years later after the lake incident, one Saturday I had a date, and my face had broken out in red bumps. I wailed. “I can’t go out with Tom! My face is a mess!”

Daddy shook his head. “It’s not good to break a date.” He coached, “Just talk and gesture. Tom won’t pay any attention to your face.”

Another time, when I felt awkward, Mother advised, “Ask people about themselves.”

Either people were bored telling me stories, or I didn’t use that tactic well. But, Mother helped another way. She showed me how to use pancake makeup to cover my red spots!

Mother and Daddy helped me “face” social situations! Fritzie does, too.

 

Even when I don’t see it, God always has a plan.

I am blessed.

 Frances Fritzie

 

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