around the frame jun 2015 – our experiences


Your story about making a May basket for your mom revived a long-forgotten event.

I was in First Grade and our class made cut-and-paste Valentines for our moms. Valentine in hand, I rode the school bus to our farm home. The big yellow bus dropped me at our mailbox. The house was about fifteen minutes up our driveway.

As I trudged along, rain and sleet fell without remorse. By the time I reached the house, my cut-and- paste Valentine was wilted, dripping red paste on my hand and clothes.

I was in tears, but Mom treated the wet paper as a treasure. She smoothed it, dried it and bragged about it at dinner.

Rest in Peace, Mom!


Don (Feb. ‘14) “Have a great summer!”


Hi Frances,

Yesterday I had an experience that really changed my mood for the better. I was with nine other people at a nineteen-acre farm. It was a sort of retreat led by the owner who is also a professor of communications and language. The woman had a bright, peaceful aura about her.

We were assigned to walk various parts of the beautiful property, to be quiet, observe and meditate.

All of us got little notes labeled “Quest” and “Thought.” My “Quest” said, “Wander through the arbor lanes to see what you can see.” My “Thought” said, “I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.”

After our walks, we gathered around fires outside. One was by a pond in front of the log home and the other in a clearing. We shared our experiences before going into the professor’s peacefully decorated two-story log cabin with a long front porch with a swing, chairs and many hanging baskets of flowers.

What a happy experience!



Dottie (Apr. ‘15) adds, “I am grateful for the experience.”


Dear Frances,

Good to read the Ninepatch and hear all the adventures of my fellow Ninepatchers!!

I really enjoyed Sandy’s letter about her spirituality Such faith is inspiring and makes me want to work toward such a lack of fear.

I guess fear is the greatest block to my practice of love, hope and faith. I agree with her that The Twelve Steps are a wonderful way to practice the concepts that lead to spiritual conversion. Thank you for sharing, Sandy.

I particularly enjoyed the names of “God” that Sandy shared. “All That Is,” “Creator,” “Divine Light/Love,” “Infinite Truth,” “Great Mystery,” “Great

Spirit,” or “You, Who Love Me.”

I would like to add a couple. “God All,” “I Am,” and “The Universe.”

I am sorry Sandy will be leaving us. Someone with such wisdom is a great gift to us all. I believe that we are all one, whether in this earthly form or in a more ethereal form. I believe she will still be with us even if it’s in another realm.



Palma (Mar. ‘15) updates her travels. “I’m heading for Michigan’s UP and my place there this weekend. I hope the weather is decent.”


Dear Frances,

I well remember last year’s Father’s Day.

My daughter came by, unexpectedly. I say, “unexpectedly” because she had called to wish me, “?Happy Fathers Day” earlier, and said she had other plans for later in the day.?

She brought me a gift. She knew I was planning a trip into the mountains. I unwrap-ed a Biological Filter drinking mug to sanitize stream or lake water.

As we talked, one thing led to another until we were talking about her job and how current changes were affecting it.

She hung her head and said, “I might have to look for another type of work.” She got a little teary and sniffled, “I like my work!”

I smiled and gave her a hug. I assured her, “You have lots of talent. And, also the ability to ‘go for it!’”

She gave me a trembly smile and a hug back. She added, “Thanks for reminding me, Dad.”

Simon Stargazer (May ‘15) adds, “Sometimes all it takes is a small reminder to prime the pump of reassurance!”


Back of postcard found in a Ninepatch.

Back of postcard found in a Ninepatch.

Dear Frances:

I am thinking of when we got together in Florida. Time had passed and yet, when

we saw each other, it was as though we pick up where we left off and coolly continue the narrative. The years in between seemed like a minor interruption!

When we met you told me of a postcard a Ninepatch reader found trapped in her newsletter and sent on to you. (You scanned it and sent it to me.) It was apparently from a young prisoner who was trying to reach someone back home.

Off the top of my head, it reminded me of the way that my mother used to misspell some words. I remember that her grocery lists frequently contained the misspelled “pittza.”

She was a farm girl who was taught through the 8th grade and saying that makes me think of my father. He could write his name, but my mother insisted that he could not read and that when he looked at the newspaper, he was just looking at the pictures. The poor man, he hid it well.

Bill and I are hoping to go back to Florida again next winter. I’m happy about that. Scuba diving is on my “bucket list.”

Best Regards,


Linda Rosenthal (May ‘15) thinks back on her family of origin. “There is much about my family that I didn’t understand when I was growing up.”

a postcard*

Dear Francesca,

At church this morning, the minister gave a sermon about fathers. He said when he prepares for memorial services, he asks questions of the family members to help him plan what to say. He said that often the children of the parent didn’t know the answers to some of his questions.

I thought of my dad. He was diagnosed with lung cancer at age sixty-eight and died six months later. He had been working full-time prior to becoming ill.

One of the minister’s questions was, “What was your parent planning for retirement?”

I have no idea what my father was planning, if he even planned to retire, or if he had thought about it. Maybe because of all his interests he wasn’t concerned about what he would do when the time came.


Elaine (Feb. ‘14) adds, “I do believe that my folks expected to live in their house at the lake forever.”


Dear Frances,

It is sometimes strange how one thing will remind me of something else. The book you sent me had a protective paper cover. On it were chickens.

When I was a little girl, we raised chickens! My mother had chicken wallpaper, pictures of chickens, and clothing with chicken-prints. She also collected chicken figurines, lamps, and mugs.

I think of Mother. Now I know what she must have gone through trying to cover up my father’s drinking. When we were little she said, “Daddy’s sick.” And, “Be quiet. Stay away from Daddy.”

Now I see chickens on a book that relates to an alcoholic. I never saw that side of my father. Mother and my brothers did. I didn’t see it until he came home drunk that day last year. He fell down and I had to call the ambulance to get him up. Somehow, I was blind to his problem.

Finally, I decided to get my own place, alone. Now, holidays, birthdays and anniversaries come and go. No one wants him around. I still wonder sometimes, “How is Dad doing?” and “Does he ever think about me and all I did for him?”

I have summer plans. Going on vacation with my brother, Bill, my daughter Anita will stay with me for her August birthday, and there’s The Truck Show in September.

Thanks for the daily reader book. It reminds me to be true to myself.

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (May ‘15) adds, “I still go to church every Sunday with my brother, David.”


May ‘15 was another wonderful issue, Frannykins.

Nice going.

My singing lessons are growing further apart. Partly, it is my laziness in not wanting to practice. Partly, I had another kidney stone adventure. Last, there are my husband’s frequent doctor appointments. And, that’s just on my end. My friend and teacher also had hip replacement surgery! The time has just not been “right,” but I’ll get back to it. The hardest part is in learning to read music while the best part is spending the time with my friend.

My book club is reading Winter in the Blood by James Welch. I haven’t gotten into enough yet to know if I will like it. I loved our last read, The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro.

As you probably know, we had a long and very snowy winter so spring has been a treat.

Lots of love,


Louise (Apr. 15) adds, “Weather! Just when I was getting used to milder sunnier weather it turned cool and rainy.”



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