around the frame – feb 2021

Hi Frances,

I loved your story about your father the soldier (Dec.’20). Very touching. Then, your January ‘21 newsletter containing so many different letters resonated with me on many fronts. First, your account of the little CVS house in the drug store’s parking lot make me think of the vaccine. I’m hoping to get the shot before the end of January, but have to make an appointment.  Today, it’s not available. (At 84, I have no compunctions about getting the vaccine.)

             Loved Leigh’s stuck on note with the sticker of the covered bridge in snow. It re-minded me of my home state of Vermont. There are more covered bridges in Vermont than any other state.

               Gayle Bluebird’s poem and NancyAnn’s letter about moving late in life certainly “hit home” with me.  I just moved last June, after my husband’s death the year before.  I’m flabbergasted that June Poucher is ninety-two! Loved her World War II story.  I was five when Pearl Harbor was struck. 

Afterward, we had air raids in Springfield, Vermont and had to keep our lights out and stay away from the windows.  It was scary.  We learned later that our machine tool town was seventh on the list to be bombed by the Nazis.

                DVL’s book report about Roosevelt reminded me of a couple of books I’ve read in recent months:  Erik Larson’s The Splendid and the Vile and another fictionalized book, The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins.  (I love all the Ninepatch book reports!)

                Malaina’s “Refrigerator Soup” was fun to read!  I spent more time in the kitchen during the months leading up to Christmas than before.   Being alone and wanting to get “in the Spirit,” I baked and made treats for family and friends. 

I enjoyed Georgene’s letter about taking the ride to see the Christmas lights with her husband.  The lights seemed to be prevalent everywhere as we tried to overcome the darkness we experienced with the pandemic’s isolation.  LindaSue talked about her senior center being closed.  I identified with that too.  As a new senior in my small town, I look forward to when our senior center opens. I’ve talked to the folks who manage the activities and am told it has a very active program.  I’m looking forward to it.

           I’m doing my best to spread the word that letter-writing should make a comeback!  I congratulate all you letter-writers and wish you a Happy New Year!

  Hugs to you,


Gail (Jan.21) adds, “Young students are beginning to penpal. Years ago, I wished I had a foreign student for exchanging letters.”


Hi Fritzie,

I never imaged how the Christmas Holidays would turn out this year – the worst I ever had! My husband came down sick on Dec. 24 and was ill on the 25th. The next day he tested positive for COVID 19. (I was tested, too, but was, and have remained, negative.)

He had to go to the ER for treatment and tests. On Dec.30, he qualified for the “infusion” developed by Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals. He is doing better, but there are aftereffects.

For two weeks I was quarantined and unable to go out. Walmart delivered groceries and my daughter in Ohio sent me books. I have been going to bed earlier. I don’t need to become ill!

Food, rest and reading are my necessities in this time of 2021!



Kay (see her article in FABRICS) adds, “The books my daughter sent are The Crown, volumes one and two, and Ninety-nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret.”


Dear Frances,

Learning to love myself has been an on-going journey. I’ve been doing Christian Counseling with a younger woman. It’s been two years of digging deep and also learning to let go! I’m doing the “work: but she’s wonderful to bounce ideas and thoughts off. One thing I learned is to MYOB (Mind My Own Business) and not look to my husband so much. Another thing I learned to apply is QTIP! (Quit Taking It Personally.) Sometimes he is just blowing off steam.

Love, you,


Nancyann (Jan.21) adds, “My husband’s dementia is progressing. Thanks to God, he is calmer and more appreciative than ever before! I have made progress with my issues, too.



          I left Indiana two days after Christmas.  I wasn’t certain how many were planning to go south, but one son, his wife and two daughters went down with me. My they switched off the driving responsibilities and we drove straight through.  

My sons devised a “safe” plan for exchanging gifts this year. We dropped off gifts on our way south. They will pick others up later on the way back. That way we did not drag everything with us in an already full vehicle. (I was masked in the car and I had a trove of disposable gloves for any necessary restroom or gas pumping needs.)

          I wish they could have stayed longer!  It’s cooler this week, but still nice in the sunshine!

          New Year’s Blessings to you!


          Chantal (Jan.’21) adds, “I took only the book-for-the-road on my way down to Florida. Now I am here, I either buy used books or read some my sister has saved. Sometimes there are new books left behind at the condo and there is also a nice library at the community where my sister lives.”


Dear Frances,

We finished more holidays under the virus! My daughter Anita stayed with me a few days. Our family doesn’t get together anymore. That ended when our mother passed away in 1999.

Life is still the same. The only time I go out is to run errands. (Of course, I bought extra this and that for Christmas…)

The news drives me crazy: lockdown, then come and go, and lockdown again. Who was listening? Not all those people who traveled to see families over the holidays! What were they thinking?

I think this is a wait-and-see time, a good place to use “One day at a time” philosophy!

Best to you in the New Year!

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (Jan.’21) adds, “When our church closed again, I went to my brother Bill’s house to watch the service on Zoom! He and his wife didn’t go to Florida this winter so I am able to see them more often. (One good thing in this whole COVID mess.)”


Hello Frances,

  Happy New Year! It has been a long time since you heard from me.

  2019 was a sad year. I was in a car accident. A few days later I checked myself into Emergency. I had excruciating headaches. The Chief Vascular doctor did many tests and it turned out my right carotid artery was 90% blocked. The doctor operated. Afterward, the doctor checked my right and left side again. He said, “The blood flow is excellent. Don’t want to see you until the end of 2021.”

During my recovery, I went from being a vegetarian now I am vegan. I feel better.

  Then I started my new job in a new school. I was just getting settled in, when in March ‘20 we all were let go due to Covid 19.

I am now doing remote teaching. I am also a private tutor to two kids. (The mother doesn’t want them in school).

Sadly, the mother has Covid 19 for a second time!

Now, what?


Lotte (Sept. ‘19) adds, “The doctor tested me for Covid 19 and the test results: NEGATIVE.”


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

Browsing the Christmas mark-down aisle of ALDI’s during the 8:30 A.M. “senior time” on Thursday morning, I was not completely surprised when my phone rang.JK must have remembered something I should buy. Answering it, I heard a woman’s voice instead.

“Is this the phone number of JK…?”

I paused, “Well, yes…”

“I’m calling from the Gainesville Health Department about the COVID 19 vaccinations. Can I speak to JK?”

I paused, “He’s not available at this time.”

The woman paused. “Is this his wife?”

I smiled. “Yes!”

“What is your name?”

I smiled at the request. “Frances Fritzie. I am a modern woman. I didn’t take my husband’s last name.”

The lady chuckled. “Neither did I!” She got back to business. “What is your name again?”

I spelled it out.

She continued in a methodical manner. “And how old are you?”


The friendly-sounding person asked, “Would you and your husband be interested in taking the COVID 19 Pfizer vaccine?

My eye widened. “YES!”

“Can JK come to the Martin Luther King Center tomorrow at 2:45?”


“And,” she paused, “How about I give you an appointment at 2:50?”

I grinned. “GREAT!”

As the lady recited the address of the center, I pulled a pen from my purse and wrote on the back of an envelope that held Pepto chewables. I said, “OK.” I’ve never heard of the place, but I’ll FIND IT.
She went on. “Do you have Internet access?”

My spirits sank. I am not good at web sites. “Y-e-s…”

“We’d like you to print some information.” She gave me a website address and I scribbled it, too.

“It’ll go faster if you can print and fill out the eight pages.” She paused. “But, if you can’t, you can do that here.”

“I’ll give it a try!”

“Alright. We’ll see you tomorrow afternoon at 2:45 for James and 2:50 for you.”

Though she could not see me, I nodded, “Thank you!”

Fifteen minutes later I pulled into our garage. Carrying in two cloth grocery-filled bags, I met JK at the front door. He was headed out to carry in the rest. Once he returned, I bubbled over with glee. “Guess what!”

He set the gallon of milk he carried on the kitchen counter and looked at me. “What?”

“We got appointments for COVID shots! Tomorrow afternoon! Both of us!

Without raising an eyebrow JK asked, “Where?”

Looking him in the eyes and standing close so he could hear I said, “At the Martin Luther King Center. Do you know where it is?”

He shook his head. “Never heard of it.”

Heading for the computer which had a large screen, I called over my shoulder, “I’ll check Google!

Google didn’t show it. Oh-oh! I walked back to my purse and picked up my scribbled notes. I’ll have to use Mapquest. That program located the MLK center and I copied easy directions. Next, I took a deep breath and typed in the suggested web site. It came right up. Hooray! I clicked on the yellow box she had mentioned and the pages also appeared. The first two were information about the person getting the shot and a signature line. The other six pages were Pfizer vaccine information. I printed all eight for JK us both.

Grinning with success, I carried a set to JK. He was (Next.) sitting in his place at one end of the couch wearing his close-up glasses, studying a sudoku puzzle. “Here’re some pages to fill out and others to read!”

My husband nodded, laid them down and returned to his puzzle. Luckily, there’s no hurry!

On January 8, 2021, I recalled TV news images of older people bundled against chilly Florida nights waiting in line overnight for their shots. However, everything happened easily for us. I drove to the Martin Luther King Center. Across the street, two uniformed policemen stood talking.

JK sat in the car while I went in to check how long the line was. A masked blond gal at the door asked my name and I also mentioned JK. Holding a clipboard, she crossed off both our names and waved toward the doorway to a huge gym.

“Is there a line?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No line. You are next!”

I turned and called over my shoulder, “I have to get JK.”

I did a run/walk to our Honda, waving. JK opened his door and peered at me over it.

I panted, “We’re next!”

Closing the door, he joined me on the sidewalk and we hurried toward the center.

Inside at the clipboard woman, I pointed to my husband. “This is JK.”

She nodded.

The center’s highly polished wood basketball floor gleamed as I paused at the door-way wondering where to go. Across the floor at the opposite side, two women waved at us. Behind us the clipboard blond spoke. “Go to those nurses who are waving.”

Two men were seated in chairs at each end of a long table getting shots. Before we were half-way across the wide floor, both stood, pulled on jackets and left.

Nurses give shot at both ends of a long table.

Arriving at the two-nurse table, JK sat at one end and I sat at the other. My twenties-looking nurse with a ponytail asked, “Which arm?”

“Left is best.” I pulled off my windbreaker and sweat-shirt jacket then drew up my lose knit long-sleeved “shot shirt.” Before I could even prepare myself, it was over.

“Good job!” I told the woman, “I’ll give you an “A!” She smiled. “That’s good to hear.” She handed me a white index-sized card. She pointed to a sticker. “This is the vaccine you got today.” Flipping the card, she pointed and added, “Here’s your appointment to return in three weeks. Come back here at the same time you did today.”

From the corner of my eye I saw JK walking toward me. I tucked my card in my purse and gathered up my jacket and sweatshirt. As I stepped toward JK, another man started crossing toward these nurses.

As JK and I took a few steps he said, “We have to wait fifteen minutes.”

Right! I nodded. He pointed at white stacking chairs set in socially-distanced twos and threes. (I had seen those chairs and people sitting in them, but only now realized what was happening there.)

JK waits after his shot.

We chose a pair and I plunked down. Suddenly I recalled I had only one photo to document this adventure. I stood and snapped a shot of JK. I felt barely settled, when JK said, “Let’s go.”

As we drove away, I waved at the policemen were still at their post. I’m glad they were not needed to keep order. At least this vaccination site was prepared “just in case…”

We are blessed.

Frances Fritzie
  • CORRECTION: The CVS “shot shack” I mentioned in January ‘21 now has a sign on it stating it is for COVID 19 TESTING! <Sigh> Maybe it will also be used for later vaccinations. Only time will tell!


January 2021 is the first Ninepatch issue that I have published and mailed without funds from our corporation.
When we closed the Ninepatch corporation at the end of 2020, funds remaining had to be donated to other 501C3 (religious/educational) non-profit organizations. Previously, these funds were carried over to the new year and paid our expenses until new donations arrived.
Georgene (our treasurer) and I are the two remaining corporate board members. We have agreed to choose three non-profits for our funds. After we reconcile the 2020 financial books, I will send those tax record donation letters.
When our 2020 Ninepatch taxes are filed, the corporation paperwork should be completely finished.
Frances Fritzie, Editor


Week 1: “What made you happy in 2020?”
Week 2: “What did you learn in 2020?”
Week 3: “What do you hope for in 2021?”
Week 4: “Have you ever been camping? If so where? If not,
where would you go if you could?”


Following are a few December 2020 comments from our Facebook page.

Week One: “I was raised to believe…”

Georgene (Oct.’20): “I was raised to believe “My house… my rules!” (It was Dad’s house.)”


Gail (Dec.’20): “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”


Frances Fritzie (Editor)

“Easy-peasy! I was trained to believe if I made the ‘right’ choices and ‘behsved myself’ my life would be GOOD!”


Week Two: “I took a risk when…”

Simon Stargazer (Dec.’20) “When I changed jobs. Each time I learned something new and valuable. Same with marriages. The Covenant of marriage works better when one accepts, cherishes and practices it always. Since both my wife and I have previous marriages, I am reminded of a saying by famous coach of the Green Bay Packers Vince Lombari who said, ‘Practice doesn’t make perfect…perfect practice does.’”


Week Three: Our sharing topic for the third week of December 2020 is, “Do you ever rehearse what you are going to say on the phone? If yes, give an example.”

Cathie (Feb. ‘19)

“I don’t. Maybe I should.”


Dottie (See her letter in AROUND THE FRAME) “Yes. I just did so today as I had a phone conference regarding my son who is in a nursing home. I wrote down the main topics I wanted to discuss.”


Our December question: “If you started a magazine, what would you call it and what would be in it?” will continue, and a new one joins in for your consideration: “Do you dream? If so, tell one of your memorable ones. If not, tell what you would like to dream about!”


In regard to December’s question about starting a magazine, DVL (See his book re-view in INSTRUCTIONS.) wrote this, “In big bold four-inch letters on cover would be

W. T. F. Underneath in small print would be, ‘Where’re The Facts?’ (I would make the name of the magazine LARGE so older people would not have to find their reading or magnifying glasses.)

The content would be political. If possible, for the first two issues I would like to interview former living presidents. I would want the men to sit down together with my staff for in-person interviews!”


Like shifting winds,

As if a hurricane

Hits you,

You always know HARD TIMES will


Those fleeting thoughts,

Those temporary fears,

Those contradictions,

You can almost feel,

The turning of one


To another,

The way it happens,

Is a smile, a word said,

A compliment not expected,

Taking a good look at what

You already know,

What you already have,

The fondness of friends,

The nearness of


Nearness close by,

Always know what you

Have stored away,

You can pull out for

Rainy days –

Or threats of hurricanes,

So easy we are,

If we only knew,

Put good memories

In front of you


While rocking in a good

Rocking Chair –

The only word I want

To spread Today

To myself and to you

Is “Smile.”

Gayle Bluebird (Dec.’20) “If you have had to move in your senior years you probably know it is not easy. In this poem I am telling myself it will get easier, new friends will be made, some-one will smile at me, someone will compliment me. Perhaps this will resonate with you. Maybe you too have a life change ahead; May it be happy with little stress.”


African lions: Internet photo

Last week I thought of this movie based on the book, “Man Eaters of Tsavo,” It told the real story of two man-eating lions that accosted a railroad crew in 1898 in the Tsavo region of Kenya. The animals were not acting like lions usually do. Maybe they weren’t just ordinary lions, either.

The whole thing is fear had taken hold of the railroad crew. There was a scene where three guys in a railroad car with baseball bats had a lion in the middle of them. One tried to shoot the lion but the creature just roared louder than ever. He roared so loud the men had to plug their ears and run out of the railroad car.

The next morning there was chaos and confusion as the leader, John Patterson, tried to keep order. He was met with accusations, anger and hostility from the railroad crew: “YOU are the PROBLEM in TSAVO”. Out of nowhere Charles Remington arrives and quickly takes charge of the situation by force. Remington’s attitude is a you’re gonna’ do what I tell you to do so I can leave here. End of story! He’s a hunter brought in to deal with the lions. But Remington has something no one there has, and that’s a coura-

geous take-charge attitude. It’s no-nonsense.

With Remington’s leadership the lions are even-tually killed and peace comes back to Tsavo.

Bookworm (Dec.’20) adds, “Lions are going to roar loud in my life. But God is louder than all of them.”


I just finished reading a book by Bret Bair. Three Days at the Brink, FDR’s Daring Gamble to Win World War II. The book goes into great detail how President Roosevelt man-aged to keep Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin on the same path – Roosevelt’s path! First, it carefully explains the difficulties with Churchill and Stalin. Second, it tells how FDR over-came the problems and last it covers the logistics of just get-ting to the meetings at Tehran, Iran and Yalta on the Crimean Peninsula.

The book leaves the reader wondering if Roosevelt had lived to see the surrender of Germany. If so, wondering about after the war if FDR had met with Stalin Churchill what would have been the outcome? Would we have had to endure the Cold War for a generation? Or would FDR have listened to General Patton and invaded Russia while the US had their army in Europe!

It is hard to believe President Roosevelt did not in-form his Vice President about the atomic bomb! Had Roose-velt lived would he have used it on Japan? General Eisenhower did not want him to use it!

DVL (Dec.’20) adds, “It is interesting to think that Roosevelt had so much confidence he thought he could deal with Stalin. Personally, I think Churchill had a more rational view of Russia’s leader. That’s what makes history interesting: how one person can make, some-times, a big difference in the world for good or bad.”


Something occurred which usually never happens. I began a book from a “general fiction” section of the library.

I read thirty-five or so pages and just put it aside. I started a different book. It was not “general fiction,” it was “fantasy.”

I just can’t get on board with the fantasy other than the Harry Potter books and some similar children’s books.

For some reason, I don’t care for adult fantasy.

Chantal (See her letter.) adds. “I have read some really good young-adult fiction, though.”