around the frame oct 2017 – our experiences

class of 62 sign


Your Mid-Month Reflection brought tears to my eyes.

This has been a rough summer, indeed, but your comments were heartwarming.


Fred (Apr.’16) adds, “Sorry to have missed the reunion. I was there in spirit.”



Cool Mid-Month Reflection on your Class Reunion!

Having gone to boarding school, 530 miles away from home, I missed much of that.

However, had other advantages and memories that I love.

Simon Stargazer

Simon Stargazer ( See THREAD for his poem and comment.)


Hi Frances.

Have fun at your reunion! I’ve enjoyed the ones of mine I have gone to.

Interestingly, I just saw a post on Facebook about Goshen.

Somebody was saying how much they liked that town. They were Quakers. Are there a lot of Quakers in that area?


Palma (Sept.’17) adds, “My back pain is improving, but incrementally. Pain seems to be a karmic thing. Every 18 years I have had a severe health/mental issue. So I’ll just have to hunker down and get through it.”


small bird


Your August’17 Mid-Month Reflection was a nice story of nature.  As you know I love birds especially bluebirds.  I have a pair in my birdhouse now.  I enjoy watching them especially the female with her head peering out of the house every day.  The eggs have hatched!  The male & female both are involved in caring for the young which is fun to watch.


Baby bluebirds.

Baby bluebirds.

Dottie (Sept.’17) adds, “The baby bluebirds are now on their own.  Two poked their heads out looking at the world for the first time Sunday.  So cute.  I watched for awhile but then left for church.  When I got back the two were gone but the last stayed in the nest for quite awhile. I miss them.”


           Baby bluebirds.

Dear Frances,

Remember all those county fairs up north. I used to exhibit my sewing projects and baked goods. I was a big 4H-er.


Joanie is married, a mother of one, stepmother of two and grandmother of two. In her free time she enjoys, stamping and reading.


Dear Frances,

I’ve been sorting through some “stuff.” Yesterday, I sorted through 2 bundles of greeting cards I had received over the years. They seem too precious to discard. One of them triggered an old memory from high school.

At exam time, we often recited this rhyme:

When I die, bury me deep.

Bury my history book at my


Tell Miss __ I’ve gone to


And won’t be back for the

history test.”

Some of these old memories bring a smile.

Bless you,


June Poucher (Aug.’17) adds, “It’s a way of counting my blessings.”


Dear Frances,

You sound like you are very busy, but then you always are.

My brother, Bill, and his wife left for Florida early this morning. Here, we are to have our first snow today. My brother had a bad accident last winter and they both want to avoid having to drive in ice and snow again. They will stay in Florida until that danger is past.

You asked if I had ever

heard of “congregational discernment.” No. I’ve never heard of it.

I’m now going to church with the woman I walk with. I am getting a little braver, socially. I was very shy in school. It was hard for me to make friends.

Thanks for the prayers for my dad. You are in my prayers, too.

Love and prayers,


LindaSue (Sept.’17) adds, “ My daughter Anita is coming to spend a few days with me over Thanksgiving.”


Hi, Frances:

Thank you for the anniversary card. The truth of it is that Bill and I BOTH forgot our own anniversary!   We were having so much fun in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that we just forgot it. 

This evening, I was thinking of JK back in Florida and the hurricane approaching. It’s probably old hat for Floridians, but it still must cause some concern. 

  • The nearest I have seen to that kind of wind was when the straight line winds derecho (a large fast-moving complex of thunderstorms with powerful straight-line winds that cause widespread destruction) came through Grand Rapids 20 years ago.  I was excited but so sad to see the destruction aftermath.  I remember walking around the large park near the veterans’ home, seeing dead birds and the downed trees.  

We’re well, just working, working, and working!  The summer flew. Time for autumn preparations.  We’re more organized this year.  We will be heading out to Arizona instead of Florida this year.  I look forward to new adventures with my husband.  

Linda Rosenthal (Aug.’17) adds, “There’s Plenty of food for thought in the September Ninepatch!”



As I was lying abed this morning, transitioning from sleep to waking, I thought about Valentine’s day, and how neat it would be If it came on the 14th of every month.

I’ve thought about this before, but this time, I thought about how many more smiles there would be through out the world.

I picked up my iPad l to tickle my brain towards functional wakefulness,

and it told me that Frances had an e-mail waiting for my attention.

Simon Stargazer (Sept.’17) adds, “It’s quite interesting that Frances’s e-mail asked for end-lines for my lines about kindness. This is what can happen when your overriding focus on life is bent towards goodness.”


Hi Frances!

Today I feel like a wannabe-hermit who lives on some mountain in Northeast Pee-aye. I say, “wannabe” because I enjoy being outdoors, but not so much now. I have to wear thick sweaters and huddle under blankets while sitting on the porch – at least, for the time being.

I watch the hummers. They have about another month before striking off for their winter quarters south of here. I keep track of the beans, tomatoes and two pumpkins that are just now maturing.

Geez, c’mon, hurry up!


Malaina (Sept.’17) adds, “ I recently saw Passengers, a movie with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. It’s a sci-fi story about space travel and has no monsters. It was a bit sad, but has a good end and overall was a happy movie. I give it three’thumbs up’!”


Hey Hun,

Just heard something today about hurricane Irma barreling toward Florida. Immediately, I thought of you, JK, and our Ninepatch friends.

Have you and JK got plans to leave Florida before the storm hits? Do you have someplace safe there to stay?

I certainly understand if you don’t get the chance to read or respond to this immediately.



Lynn D.(May’17) adds, “I’ll be praying for you, my dear!”


Dear Francesfairiequeen,

“Fairie queen” is what we are discussing in the honors English class where I am subbing. (Kids are self-directed and industrious.) The end of the week I’ll be in a middle school that has a “zero” period. I’ll have to be there about 7:10 a.m. (Gah!) It takes 25 minutes to get there with the awful Southern California morning city traffic.

It was traumatic being 3000 miles away and watching Irma. Nerve wracking! I still have my house in Key West. I was really concerned it would flood again and, I worried about my friends who stayed, too.

Amazingly, it seems as if Key West miraculously dodged the bullet on this one. A lot of the devastation was further north. (Incredible since landfall was only 22 miles away.) It seems we did not get the leading edge of the storm.



Liz/Moascar (Sept.’17) adds, “My Key West friends are fine but struggling without electricity or drinkable water.” My house is ok, though apparently someone broke in while the tenants were gone. 


Hi Fritzie,

My grandson, Bryce who works at Disney Orlando came home to Ohio a few days before Irma hit there.  His roommate stayed.  Disney closed for two days and asked those who stayed and had jobs there to come back when the park reopened and help clean up. 

The apartment Bryce and his roommate live in is next door to Disney. The electric was only off for 14 hours.  The food did not spoil.  Bryce said there was a bit of flooding but all-in-all

damage was not really too bad. 

Bryce went back to Florida Sunday Sept. 17th.  

Take care my friend.


Patricia (Sept.17) adds, “I have two doctor appointments today.  It seems this doctor-thing has been going on the entire month of September. It has helped. I am feeling much better.”


Hi Fritzie,

I am back home to some of my “duties.” Five of my family who live in town are the support team for a Syrian refugee family.

Today the father has an appointment with a special surgeon to determine how to fix his arm.  He was tortured by the Syrian army resulting in a broken upper arm in several places.  The doctor in a refugee camp in Jordan did a poor job in attempting to fix his arm. My sisters have medical connections and found him the best specialist in our area.

Blessings to you,


Jim (May’17) adds, “We all have ancestors who came to the US for religious and economic freedom or to avoid violence in their home countries.  Yasser and Fatima are studying and improving their English at special classes at the local community college. They are focused on becoming productive US citizens.”  



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

As is my summer habit while in the North, I visit my sons in Michigan one week during each month. Commonly, we are strapped for time since my boys and grandsons have various schedules.

I order “to-go” from Burger King, Pizza Hut or Wild Wings and carry lunch to son Brian and his two sons.

In earlier years, the little boys and I put together easy puzzles and played Crazy 8 and Fish. When they tired of cards, we switched to dominoes and pick-up sticks. As teens they graduated to an “adult” card game: euchre.

This year there’ll be no card games. Two weeks before my visit, Brian had hip replacement surgery. Short periods of sitting were all he could manage.

When I knocked on the glass storm door, a cock-a-poo greeted me. From inside I heard, “Come in! It’s not locked!”

Holding up the bag of hot food, I stepped in and pushed the puppy aside with my foot. Entering the living room, I moved slowly, careful not to step on the wiggling pup.

I stopped in front of the couch. At my left, 15-year -old Sammy sprawled in the big easy chair. His dad sat stiffly on the end of the couch.

Ten years ago, Wally points, “It’s his turn!” Brian looks on.

Ten years ago, Wally points, “It’s his turn!” Brian looks on.

My eyebrows arched with a question for my son. “You ordered food for you and Sammy, but I see Wally’s car in the driveway….”

A silence followed, It held something I could not identify. I looked from Sammy to his father. Brian drew a breath. “Wally’s not here. He’s left home.”

Stunned, I said nothing. Left home? Why? How? Where did he go? I didn’t ask any of that. Instead I said, “How sad.” Brian also left home as a teen. The family pattern has repeated.

Not knowing what else to say or do, I set the large white and yellow Wild Wings bag on the coffee table at my son’s feet.

The puppy stood on his hind legs his nose pointed at the bag, but unable to reach it.

Brian said, “Down Rusty!”

Sammy stood, stepped over and picked up his new pup. He stroked the little animal that licked his chin in return.

Not knowing what to say about Wally’s absence, I opened the food bag,

I looked at Sammy, “Are we going to eat here or…” I turned to Brian. “Can you make it to the table?”

Brian leaned forward and grasped the pair of crutches resting beside him. “I’ll go to the table.”

I extended my hand to help him up but he shook his head. “I need to do this myself.”

We three walked to the country kitchen’s table. My son moved with slow steps to the nearby cupboard and carried over plates.

“Wha’d’ ya’ want to drink, Ma?”

“Ma?” I sign my letters and texts “Mom” but he calls me “Ma” –like his dad did his mother.

Aloud I said, “Water, please.”

Sammy set the pup on the floor and slid into the chair across from me where his brother usually sat.

Even though Brain is able to sit, with only three of us, there will be no euchre today.

The puppy’s antics, spicy wings and fries took over our conversation until the food cartons were mostly empty.

Standing, Brian picked up his crutches. Smiling, he made his way to put his little wing box in the refrigerator. “Thanks for the wings, Ma. I love the tasty leftovers. “

After we cleared the table and before he returned to the front room I asked, “Have you walked yet today?”

I knew he was assigned walking as part of his daily post- surgical rehab.

He shook his head.

I suggested, “I haven’t walked either. How about we go to the corner?”

As Sammy picked up the pup again and returned to the big chair, I added, “After two hours of driving to get here, I really need exercise!”

Sammy nodded and turned up the sound on the TV as Brian and I left the house.

Half way down the drive, I asked my son, “What happened with Wally?”

Brian shook his head. “I don’t know. He never got a job this summer, slept most of the day then went out with his friends.” He sighed and went on. “Suddenly Wally was yelling at me, saying he wouldn’t take any more of my emotional abuse.”

Emotional abuse? I didn’t understand, but again I didn’t ask questions. Brian went on. “I know. I left home, too. I didn’t talk to my dad for twelve years … twelve years!” He sighed. “ I told Sammy and Wally what had happened to me. I said, ‘If you ever have a problem with me, tell me! We will work it out!”

We reached the corner. Leaning on his crutches, Brian turned to me, his eyes dark. “Wally hurt me in the deepest way.”

As we headed slowly back toward the house I said,

“Try to keep your heart open”

After a few more steps I added, “I’ll pray for you all.”

In a small voice he said, “Thanks, Ma.”

Just as dawn comes after a dark night, good will come from the worst situations. God always has a plan for goodness.

As I advised my son, my job is to keep my heart open, wait and trust.

Frances Fritzie

Frances Fritzie


LindaSue (July ‘17) shares her soul-game experience.

LindaSue’s visual concept of soul.LindaSue’s visual concept of soul.

LindaSue’s visual concept of soul.

“I chose number 1 –mostly. The soul is the same size as its body was in life. But, as in 4, the soul is also like a cloud or a vapor, a spirit without definite form.

I do believe in heaven and hell. ‘… to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.’

I also believe that when I believe, I will pass from death to ever-lasting life.”


I remember my first paying job! Like Frances, I consider my first formal employment as my first job.
My folks did not want me to work in high school so my first job came in my freshman fall of college. My sister-in-law arranged it. I became a front desk clerk at a hotel that primarily served the real estate developer on whose vast property it sat.
Those were the days when planes of buyers arrived from the east: Pittsburgh, Lansing, Detroit, Milwaukee, Toronto…. Such places had miserable winters. Men who worked in factories hoped to retire in a
place where they could boat, hunt and fish while leaving hard winters and their aching backs behind them.
20 to 30 salesmen would caravan in their white jeeps to the airport and pick up the victims –er –couples, bring them back to the resort and start plying them with food and booze. These middle-class factory workers took full advantage of this royal treatment.

The next morning the salesmen would pick them up and show them lot after lot (some without paved roads and utilities to them “yet”). They extolled the joys of the reservoir (which was just barely starting to fill at that time), pointed to the air-clear view to the purple mountain majesty (a quick hour away), and
the mild weather (bereft of humidity!)

After more food and booze, vision-blurred men would have talked their “tired of fighting
it” spouses into signing papers for property that would be
“building-ready” when gold watches were received and pension checks came rolling in.
Then jeeps filled with sleeping passengers would be caravaned back to the airport. They would receive a grand send-off as confirmation that they had made the deal of the century on a piece of paradise –and asked to tell their friends to fill the next plane!

My job was to check the Easterners in and out, and make sure to notify the sales team if anyone was bored, drifting off –or (horrors!) arguing about whether or not they should buy.

Rooms not taken by the east-of-the-Mississippi guests were open to the public. I had plenty to do as I was clerk, cashier, concierge, and evening housekeeping.
I worked 2:00 to 10:00 pm. We were the nicest hotel near the blue-collar town of Pueblo, Colorado. We were contracted by the Colorado State Fair for entertainers’ accommodations. I once made Glen Campbell’s bed and cleaned his room after he checked out. The maids had left and we needed it for a bride and groom coming that night. I met a lot of 70’s Country-Western entertainers and many a traveling salesman. Almost no families stayed there. It was too expensive and too far from town.

Me, sitting on a bench in front  of the property office of my first job. It was the winter of 1971. It was taken by one of the salesmen.

Me, sitting on a bench in front  of the property office of my first job. It was the winter of 1971. It was taken by one of the salesmen.

As an employee of the developer I was allowed to hitch a ride on the planes if there was a open seat. The salesmen who lived in the East, accompanied the guests West and made sure the drinking started once the plane was at altitude were very happy to show me around their various cities and introduce me their families.

I saw all the cities that most people leave rather than choose to visit for a vacation! Ha! The sales went along for a number of years more but it was almost 30 years before the community filled out and became beautiful.

Those “early adopters” lived out in the dust for a long, long time!

Georgene (July ‘17) adds, “The job only lasted two years. I got married and moved away, but every time I returned home for a visit I would make the trek outside town to see how Pueblo West was growing.”


Chantal (June ‘17) also remembers her first paying job. “Other than baby-sitting, my first paying job was while in high school. I worked in a dental office. 

“I called to remind people of their appointments and did filing. I also handled the ‘recall’ list. That task involved phoning and reminding patients it was past time for their routine dental check-up.

The job provided valuable experience in dealing with people, but also had a downside.  At the end of each day, I had to balance the day’s receipts with the day’s services performed. 

For some reason it often seemed there was some circumstance I was unaware of which led to a snag reconciling. That could be frustrating!”  


This month’s question, “My first paying job…” will hold over for September. It will be joined by a new question, “One thing I have always secretly wanted to do is….”


The most astounding things

about working in this cafeteria is

knowing you eat dinner here

every Tuesday, bringing your

tray of dishes

to me by six-thirty.

Your burgundy hair makes an entrance

I feel dangerous watching you pass,

wanting you

to raise your head from the plate

you set

before me.

Among your traces of salad and

mashed potatoes

is a strawberry. The top half

that your thumb and fingers touched

still holds a stem. The white center

and ripe outer edges outline marks

from your teeth.

I want to see you take that bite.

I imagine myself a salt-shaker

on your table. I see you

put down your fork and rest

a hand on your abdomen. The meal

you have eaten

resists, for a moment, anything more.

You watch the strawberry on the side

of your plate and delicately pick it

up to your mouth. The fruit’s tiny

hairs touch your lips as your teeth

make an impression for me

to wash away.

Brian Janisse (July ‘17) says, “In a dorm at Western Michigan University, I had a job in the cafeteria washing dishes. One fine young female caught my attention, so I wrote this poem, and used it to flatter her.”


Cynthia and I sat in the Dublin Diner

At the end of a school day when

Too early November frost

Had accumulated

on the window pane.

It was about 5:30 p.m. when back

In town cheerleaders were practicing

For the upcoming football game.

Cynthia knew something was wrong

But didn’t ask, preferring to

Talk to the waitress who told her

The specials for the day, then

Some corny joke.

My face was raw with pimples.

The waitress looked away

while I ordered

Mashed potatoes and applesauce.

Cynthia tried to make small talk

But my voice was hoarse and

I could barely talk.

Tears fell into my applesauce,

My face pressed against

the cold pane.

I don’t remember

what happened that day,

Maybe some boy

had made fun of me,

But I couldn’t talk about it.

Bluebird (July ‘17) comments on her lines, “Tears are blessings as they clear our hearts and minds and allow for clearing.  The tears that fell in this poem was when I was probably 16 wishing I had been a cheerleader, practicing, with others at school.  Tears have fallen many times after that. Along with happy tears there have been conquering tears, tears inspired by others and by my own successes.  Right now our whole family is filled with sadness and tears as a grandson, Aloha Sunbeam committed suicide last week.  Please go to my FACEBOOK page for more information. Thank you for appreciating my poetry; it is now my way of shedding tears.


Satan employs monsters

And blasphemes every

rule in the game,

Striving to maim brothers and sisters

Is his lame-duck claim to fame.

Vessels of bitterness, greed and glory

Are opened by alcohol and drugs.

Attempting to embellish

God’s Great Story

By smearing toxic sludge.

Only by prayer and His Spirit within

Can one survive in battle.

Left alone, we’re prone to sin

Being led like a herd of cattle.

But cows, by nature,

are a contented bunch,

Just mooing and chewing their cud.

Not plotting at all,

just enjoying their lunch,

While lowing in God’s clean mud.

DAPepple (July ‘17) expands on his lines, “Humans have a difficult time embracing the here and now. The brain works overtime with past, plans, future, questions, and dealing with all forms of thought invaders. Methinks it might be a good idea to be like a Holy Cow in a state of Wow, living in the here and now, while tending garden earth.”


It may be a stretch,

But striving for the light

Is always right.

Simon Stargazer III expands on the thought, “Often in a crisis, and even in everyday circumstances, we look above for answers. Sometimes, we look within, searching the dark corners of the brain for an answer. Stretching the mind opens up the inner eye to the light that leads us from within. When we find it, it often lights the way to better things. One of my favorite illustrations is of the tree that grows in the deep dark shade between two apartment buildings. Over the years it stretches its leaves and branches toward the light beyond the shade.

Tree reaches for light.

Tree reaches for light.


Patience and persistence are keys to success.

James (July ‘17) expands, “Difficult tasks may be completed if you stay with them.”


4. Notice small violin lower, center, right.

4. Notice small violin lower, center, right.

5. As the angst represented by the all black and white tangle eases, the violin (which is in color) grows large.

5. As the angst represented by the all black and white tangle eases, the violin (which is in color) grows large.

AmyKaren (July ‘17) discusses what she “saw” first in her next totally black-and-white image, and the following mostly colored one. “The ‘violin tangles’ are about how my husband’s music died with him.  Ed did such beautiful, painstaking work creating those instruments which now will never be played or enjoyed. The maker is dead, and their animation –at least to me –has ceased. At this point, I cannot even see them passed on to be used and enjoyed.  They and their music are just broken.  

Since I made those tangles and thought those ideas over a month ago, I have moved on. Now I feel maybe someone else can make music or enjoy their form.