Following are little comments and story responses to the topic, “The thing I remember most about my first job is…”

Liz/Moascar (July’19) says, “Jimmy Savile, the British disc jockey who was posthumously revealed to be a child sexual predator, came in to eat a meal at the Wimpy bar where I was waitressing on Sundays. I started work there when I was 15 or 16 and spent all of my earnings on clothes!”


Gail (June ‘19)remembers, “How special I felt to be working in our small hometown newspaper office two nights after school. There was a window opening out on the street. Folks could look down and see us. It was like being in a fishbowl.” 


Simon Stargazer III (July’19) says, “I learned that hard work is worth it. During High School, I worked at two competing orchards, picking apples. One paid 50 cents an hour. I switched to the one that paid 10 cents a bushel ‘cause I could earn more per hour! One of the great perks was I was allowed to pick out a ‘best piece of fruit’ for my girlfriend!


Georgene (July’19) recalls, “Shady stuff. I worked the front desk of a hotel built to host Midwest and East Coast people brought to Colorado to purchase land in a proposed development. Lots of alcohol ‘loosened’ up tongues and wallets. It was confusing to an 18-year-old”. It took over 30 years for that community to develop and after 40 years, while it is a true small town now, there are still building lots for sale.”


Tennessee(Sept. ‘00) says, “I had a morning paper route and by far the most striking memory is just how cold winter mornings were in Wisconsin.”


Frances (Editor) recalls, “In the late 1950s I worked after school and Saturdays at HARTERS, a sporting goods store that also had a department for general women’s clothing. On the Saturday before Christmas, many coaches came in looking for a gift outfit for their wives. When I asked the men “What size is your wife?” they would stop and look at me from head to toe and answer, “About your size.” In those years many coaches’ wives received size 12 skirts and 32 sweaters! 


Week 1: “If you could invent one thing to help the environment, what would it be?”

Week 2: “Who is the living or deceased family member you would like the opportunity to know better?

Week 3: “What is the most important thing you learned from your mother?”

Week 4: “Did you ever watch a movie more than once? If so, what one(s) were they?

Week 5: “What one thing, large or small, could you do to help the world?


This month readerLindaSue (see her letter in AROUND THE FRAME) shares her thoughts on “If I could talk to my younger self…”

She says, “If I could talk to myself all those hears ago, I would say, ‘Think long and hard before you get married!’

Oh, to be young again!”


Our question for August 2019, “If you were trapped in a TV show for a month, which TV show would it be and why?” will continue for September. A fresh question for consideration will join it: “The best thing friends can do for one another is…”


Editor’s Note: Didn’t get around to writing soon enough? Responses to earlier questions are welcome anytime!


Atlantic sunrise

At beginning and
End of ocean

The sun comes up
… For early morning
Seated on the sand 
Beach towels spread
…in red, yellow and green –

We four of us –
Son, daughter-in-law,
granddaughter and me,

Not forgetting Mae-Mae, –
Walk on white soft

A mile walk,
Where everyone

Now awake
Walks along, too
Dogs catching balls,
Or running,
Little-legged Mae-Mae
Keeping up….

Mae-mae and my son

Gayle Bluebird (July’19) adds, “This poem was written in Saint Augustine when my oldest son and family and I spent a few days relaxing and being tourists. The walks on the beach early morning were special, watching the sunrise, with other people who had gathered to watch and to walk along the edge of the ocean. Everything seemed like an edge, the edge of the ocean, the edges of the orange sun while rising, even the edges of different ages in our family, young and old.  Dogs were enjoying the experience as well.  Lots of happiness free and easily accessible at the ocean.”     


This book by Ann B. Ross is the first in a long series about a Southern woman described as the “steeliest of magnolias.” When her husband departed this world, he left Miss Julia two legacies.

The first was expected: his quite sizable estate. The second was not only astonishing but scandalous: a nine-year-old illegitimate son who strongly resembled her deceased husband.

It’s about to bring Miss Julia a whole passel of trouble.

June Poucher (July’19) says: “It’s a warm and engaging story.”


My sister recommended the book Where the Crawdad’s Sings by Delia Owens. For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a sleepy town on the North Carolina coast. Kya is sensitive and intelligent, and she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home.

It is a coming-of-age story and a surprising tale of possible murder.

Elaine (June’19) says, “Kayaking today was both beautiful and grueling due to the heat. A manatee came close to our boats, and we saw a dolphin cavorting nearby.”


Doing nothing is doing “something.”

James (July’19) adds, “One decision a person can make is ‘do nothing.’”


In the video game, “Final Fantasy VII,” there is a part where the main character, Cloud Strife, falls through a roof into a church in a rundown part of town. Right in the middle of the church is a patch of the most beautiful flowers in the world!

There is also a scene in the movie “Return of the King” where Frodo Baggins stumbles into a dark cave and is faced with a huge nasty spider that is about to devour him. In the midst of the darkness he remembers that the elves gave him the light of their star, Earendil. Frodo pulls it out so that it frightens away the spider and lights his way.

This is what life is like. There are times when I am walking through a dark patch. I face trials and tribulations. But if I trust in Jesus, I will shine with His Light.

Bookworm (July ‘19) says, “Jesus wants to be my Light in the darkness and my flowers in life’s ruin. He loves me so much!

around the frame aug 2019 – our experiences

Dear Frances,

When I read your story, “The Handyman” (May ’19) and wrote about contracts (June’19),

I had to consider my own history with such workers. While my non-contractual agreement with my dog-sitter is going smoothly, handymen are another matter.

Personally, my confrontational style is a mess. I want to improve it. I’ve tried in the past but I don’t know how to do better.

For one thing, I can always get a written quote from anyone I’m going to pay for any service they agree to perform. When I failed to do this in the past – not once but TWICE –with painters like in Frances’ story no less –I learned to get their word in writing. I also learned that I’d better include “trim” in the quote if you want that part to be painted. And I’d better state that I want TWO COATS of paint, not just one. Additionally, I’d better include “ceilings” AND the “cabinets” if that’s what I envision.

After the last painting I contracted, I wound up painting my own trim and cabinets after the fact. I also had to “beg” to have the second coat of paint applied to the trim on my house –even though the first coat was streaky and obviously needed a second coat.



Sherryl (July ’19) adds, “Life happens, and we learn.”



I have a few minutes of wonderful Sunday time that I can write freely.  I thought your edit of my response to what I would tell my younger self was fine.  I don’t like going into that dark alley that used to be my life.  I know that I will occasionally, but that doesn’t make it any less distressing.  It’s good to talk about it, though.  That sharing is fresh air blowing into a moldy old self and very healing.

I wanted to write sooner, but knew that I needed some time to say something more than just a few words about how I am sorry to hear about JK’s oxygen- starved ischemia. (Fancy words for dementia, right?)  

I don’t know as there is anything I can say that will offer more than word of support.  From your recent email, I see that you are already taking action steps: seeing your lawyer for advice and looking in to lifetime- care living areas.  It sounds like you have the situation as well in hand as you can.  

I can imagine emotions are swirling within you. I will keep both of you in my thoughts, my friend.  Being a caretaker is a challenge and I know that you know how to ask for help as you travel on this road. Please know that I am there for you.  Bless your good heart!

Take care of yourself.

Best of regards,

Linda Rosenthal

Linda Rosenthal (July ’19) adds, “Each season of life unfolds as it will.” 


Hello JK and Frances!

I was glad to see in July 2019’s Ninepatch that JK’s lab results were better than they could have been. I pray that the medications will successfully treat his condition.

JK your father and grandfather did live very long lives and I’m sure you’ll be doing fine, too.

Hope your time up North is going well. Hope you are seeing family and friends!

You are always in my thoughts and prayers.


VLB (Oct.2007) adds, “Sadly, my daughter’s great job that was supposed to start this month fell through. I was also laid off when my location closed. I’m sure we will find something else soon.”


Hi Frances!

 I have a quick suggestion for Elaine (July ‘19) about her photo albums.  I also ended up with lots of miscellaneous pictures so I created a miscellaneous album divided into categories like these:



Work Friends

I even divided the categories by themes. For example, I love sky/cloud pictures, so I put all of them together, and all the beach together, too.

  I didn’t worry about chronological order or anything. If the picture made me smile, I put it in a category. If it didn’t make me smile then I reluctantly let it go. 

  Hope your day is a good one, Frances. I’m pounding away at work stuff.

  God bless,


Georgene (July’19) adds, “By not having children and living far away from family for so many years, my picture stash is probably smaller than most. Hopefully my tip will still be useful.”


Dear Frances,

You say, “I don’t hear much from my older son … and I was such a dutiful daughter ….”

I was a dutiful daughter, too, when my ex- would let me. He couldn’t bother with visiting or relatives. Both my girls are more like their father than like me. Maybe you and I tried too hard!

All we can do is go on with life and make the best we can out of our own lives. One day at a time.

My pastor says, “All we can do is love them and pray for them.”

So many things in life are planned and changed or missed. The only thing we can count on is change! I saw a sign somewhere that said, “Man makes plans and God laughs.”

Still we all need someone to hear us. Sometimes I wish I were still in counseling. I can’t afford it now I am retired.

God bless you and keep you safe.

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (July’19) adds, “I write and read a lot and I have friends. The Lord provides all I need and more. I am happy!”


Dear St. Frances,

I decided to sleep in this morning because I was so tired. For some reason, I was getting phone calls about every fifteen minutes!

Speaking of waking up in the very early hours, yep! I do that a lot. I turn on Netflix then do some needlework or read or work a puzzle.

I would like to sit on the front porch before daybreak, but that’s when the critters like to prowl and I don’t want to disturb them.


Malaina (July ‘19) adds, “Guess I better check the outdoor kitty and chickens.”


Hi Fritzie,

Nice to hear from you again and know you’re back in Goshen for the warmer months.  I’ve always thought that would be ideal, to have a place up north for summer and down south for winter!   

I am most likely not going to be at our high school’s class birthday party in July.  My lymphoma has returned and spread into wider areas of my body.

I am awaiting a second biopsy and pathology report to determine if it’s the same type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) or if it’s transformed into another type. That diagnosis will determine the type of chemotherapy I will receive. 

Once the cancer cells are eliminated, I may be a candidate for an autologous bone marrow transplant, using my own marrow. Again, I am in a holding pattern while all the appointments get scheduled.  The situation is disheartening and frustrating.   Will it be worse than the last round of chemo? Most likely. Will I lose my hair again now that it has just grown back?  Probably.  Will it work to cure me? Odds are good it will with the replaced bone marrow. 

I am learning to pay attention to how I respond to this news and what’s ahead.

Much love,


Mary (July’19) adds, “I’m just so sorry to miss seeing everyone at ‘our’ birthday party.”


Dear Francasummerfun,

  You sound as if you are busy with family and friends. I thought of Bookworm last week.

I visited Balboa Park in San Diego with my friend Trish. We saw a large pipe organ there at the Spreckels Pavilion. Trish and I enjoyed the last part of a performance by a very enthusiastic young man. Afterward, we were able to take a peek behind the stage at the workings of the organ. I was amazed by the number of attachments and other pipes we saw.

Love, <3


Liz/Moascar (July’19) adds, I’m travelling to central Europe next week: Munich, Prague, Budapest, Krakow then Vienna. I’m travelling most of the time with a small group then on to Vienna by myself. Right now, I am trying to get everything ready –no time to be excited yet.”


Dear Frances,

After having to cancel the event twice in the last year due to carpel tunnel surgeries, on July 20 I entertained my “fun group.”

Fourteen people attended. (I’d never entertained that many people and was a little nervous.) They began arriving at 3:30 and left at 11:00. I made hamburger and hot dogs on the grill.  Everyone also brought a dish to pass.  Such fun people! So helpful! There was a lot of laughter, too. We celebrated three birthdays with singing and candles on the cake. Also fun. They included my birthday, too! (I was away visiting my sister back then.)

I’ll have the people in again next year, but try for June which isn’t so hot!

Best wishes,


Dottie (June ‘19) adds, “Early in my recovery I played pickleball. I had to wear a biker’s glove as my hand was very tender in the area of the surgery.”


Dear Frances,

Yes Ma’am. As you observed in your last message, at times it can be rather tricky living with several women. Seems as though every lady goes through monthly stress and turns into a horrible monster for a day or two. (Chuckle, chuckle.)

Yesterday I reminded the suffering ones that three of us have been there and done that and burned the t-shirt. I said, “I’m very thankful I don’t have to deal with what you do! I’m past that. I’m going to go lock myself into my bedroom now, so if you are all going to kill each other, just leave me out of it. I’ll make sure it’s done with and over before I come back downstairs.”

I learned a long time ago when I lived with 15 brothers and sisters not to accept invitations to real arguments. Now when I say, “I’m not accepting your invitation to this argument,” it really stumps people and stops the argument.

What can anyone say when the other party leaves the verbal argument or just walks away.

Have a blessed day!


Meschelle (July’19) adds, “Of course, sometimes I get agitated and aggravated, then I forget I don’t want to argue. I have a strong distaste for arguments and some girls here have also learned how to push my buttons. But overall, except for about the same week every single month, we all really do love one another and get along very well.”


Dear Frances,

Surprise! Here’s a letter from me. (Shocked?) I have a list of things to write about and am determined to make time in my life for writing. First things first! Here’s a recent update.

If you remember, I have been de-cluttering for a long time. Thing is, I was never in one place (Up North or Down South) long enough to be able to complete it. (If, in fact, that can ever be accomplished!)

Now we have sold our mobile home up north where a couple of our kids live. (In fact, it sold before we even got there!) Originally, we had planned to be there until mid-July for my husband’s desire, returning for my Florida daughter’s birthday mid-July.

However, once we settled into a cold and rainy spring in Massachusetts, my husband told me he was ready to return home to Florida. We hurried around and in three weeks “emptied” the mobile. We shipped a couple of boxes and packed the rest into the car and came back home to Florida!

I feel like I’m home! This is where I live!


Nancyann (Nov.’18) adds, “I don’t have that ‘stressed to the max’ feeling anymore! Gratitude.”


Dear Frances,

This year I have been very busy with various programs and now I have a few minutes to explain. 

There is a program where I reside called Family Promise of Bergen County. They do a lot to help the homeless. I volunteered to host one night and also stayed overnight with a homeless family.

The mothers must have a job in order to be qualified for this program. Their kids go to school. Each family spends two weeks at a church then the company van brings them to a location where they have dinner and the kids play until it is time to go to bed. The van will pick them up and drive to the headquarters where they shower, get dressed and ready to go to their jobs. (They are also served breakfast.)

The Family Promise will get the family a transitional place to live until they have earned/saved money to get a permanent one.

As a volunteer, I slept on a provided air mattress. I brought my own blanket, sheets, and pillow.

The homeless family were respectful. We exchanged pleasantries until it was time for them to retire to the room which they had for two weeks.

Other homeless families will come. The program is seven days a week. 



Lotte (Feb.’19) adds, “I wrote this in July since that month is dedicated to efforts for the homeless.”


Rain freckled my Honda’s windshield as I turned east. I bumped over a double set of railroad tracks, took a breath and began driving several miles through Amish country. While many motorists avoided these county roads used by the slow Amish horse-and- buggies, I found their life-style peaceful. I enjoyed the occasional slow-down behind a buggy and used the time to study crops in roadside fields.

    Today I studied corn crops: some green, but less than two feet tall. A few were shorter and yellowish either badly water-soaked or planted late due to the chilly rainy spring. Other fields looked fallow. Mounting a hill, I smiled at several acres showing low, bushy green plants. Must be soybeans.

Like a dog’s toenails crossing linoleum, rain tapped the Honda. It reminded me to spend the first of my two-hour drive to Grand Rapids, Michigan in silence. No radio or CD’s.

Turning east onto Indiana Highway 4, Ninepatch crossed my mind. What shall I write for the August issue?

Heading east, I passed orderly rows of healthy corn and Amish homes without electric connections where washing fluttered from an outdoor line. The sights connected me to the slower-living people and moved me from life’s fast lane. A thought came: I’ll take a picture every time I stop for a red light. Perhaps a story will be in my journey.

At the amber blinker intersection of Indiana Highways 4 and 13, I turned north on 13. Remembering my photo plan, I patted my phone/camera. That wasn’t a “stop.”

The traffic light at the intersection of US Highway 20 was green. I continued into Middlebury, a small town whose main street reminded me of my hometown in the 1950s. Tidy Main Street homes with wide front porches called passersby to “Come sit a spell!”

In its downtown, rain ended. I met my first stop light and snapped a picture.

A shop in Middlebury’s downtown

Farther north at another Indiana stop light, I dropped my phone while trying to turn on its camera. Reaching for it, I heard the truck behind me toot. Without touching the phone, I pushed on. No last photo before the Indiana Toll Road.

I sailed through the next green light about a football field’s length from the Michigan State Line and large blue sign declaring, Pure Michigan!

Rolling on, I curved right and left then bumped over a railroad crossing. A sad memory perked into my mind there, but I turned off its “heat” and shut it down.

No need to give energy to sad memories.

At the White Pigeon intersection, the light turned red. I grabbed my phone from the floor of the car where it had fallen, and managed a hurried shot of the number of this Michigan-numbered highway.

Michigan Highway 131

Near corn fields by a seed company, I breathed the energy of tall green cornstalks. Further on, my res purred as I rolled over new pavement. When I am quiet, I enjoy ordinary sights and sounds.

Several miles later I smiled to see planted acres where three huge yellow machines harvested some kind of green plants. At least one farmer’s crop was not ruined by too much rain!

Minutes later, the road climbed and curved through lush pine trees. Perhaps pioneers traveling through a virgin pine forest also felt peace.

Five miles later, showers resumed near Three Rivers where two lanes spread into four. Orange and white striped cones marched along the dividing white line. At a stoplight, construction was protected by large striped barrels and fencelike barricades.

I sat up straighter, preparing for traffic changes and four lanes of “city” traffic. Not far to Schoolcraft now!

Schoolcraft is a village on 131 just before the limited access four-lane with fifty-five speed limits changed to an expressway with legal limits of seventy.

The small town held memories dating back to 1969 when my first husband and I lived in Grand Rapids. Our children’s grandparents in Indiana occasionally drove “halfway” to meet us for a meal at The Bell, a local eatery. Often, they took one or both children back with them for a weekend visit. Wayne and/or I would return two days later and pick them up. I recalled one visit when my parents drove up to return Brian who was then our only child. He had stayed several days with them at their Syracuse Lake home.

When the time came for him to get into my car, Brian had cried and clung to my mother who treated him like a prince. Poor kid! Being at home was not as much fun.

The village remained a stopping point for my drives to visit my Grand Rapids’ sons but the restaurant I used was now McDonalds. Turning in, I found a parking place and shut down the Honda’s engine.

Schoolcraft’s McDonalds

Holding my keys, I sat a moment reflecting on my trip. I’m blessed to have this quiet part of my trip. I feel God’s touch before I step into the hurry-up pace of the expressway and metropolitan Grand Rapids.

Frances Fritzie