Monday, May 26, 2008

remembering "Frannie"

Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have died, and I know it's mostly supposed to be for those who have served the country, but it's... expanded, I suppose. A day to remember anyone we have lost.

Sunday I somehow ended up mostly talking about and thinking about Brady. Mom and I somehow got on to 9-11 from NOTHING about Memorial Day on our way to church, which of course turned into "how I felt that day" and missing my cousin a lot. Ended up crying on the way into church, which did NOT help my headache (but then the opening HYMN was too LOUD for me (that is how messed up my head is right now). That was hard.

Another who I felt like crying over, though I don't KNOW them, is the story of 2nd Lieutenant John Alley. Following it, joining the "Find him" group on Facebook... watching news stories and feeling sick along with this family I do not know. Why does it affect ME so much? I do not know. I don't know them. But my heart breaks for them. And I hurt so much inside the more I hear about John's state of mind. I am praying for them.

But the main one I am trying to remember is more of a funny one than something so sad. A few days ago, a lady wrote my mom to ask for information about my grandpa's death so she could better date a letter she had found. It was a letter HER mother had written to my grandma but apparently never sent some 20 years ago at least... but about an earlier TIME when my Grandma was going to nursing school, starting just after high school. The things she mentions are hilarious, and I like the way her friend "Ruth" writes. It is so cool picturing my grandma so... almost Anne Shirley-ish!
(p.s. "Bus" was my grampa... but Ruth calls him Buzz in here)

Dearest Frannie,

Remembering back thru all the years we have known each other reminds me of Charles Dickens “It was the worst of all times and the best of all times.”

Possibly the memories that are so vivid to me you may have long forgotten, but perhaps in recalling them you may know once more the carefree happiness and, yes, even some despair of those years long past.

Do you remember:

When we checked in at the nurse’s home and fussy little Mrs. Battan (?) briefed us on the do’s and don’t’s of our new home in the little room top floor on the southwest wing?

How we could hardly wait to graduate from our stripped crab-blue dresses to the full skirted uniforms with white bibs and aprons only to have a new style pain straight white uniform when that day finally arrived?

The morning at Devotional when I was called on to pray and stood mute and absolutely petrified and you calmly proceeded to offer the prayer and no one even realized that it was you, not me?

The long hard hours we worked with the fear of dismissal always hanging over our heads like a sword of Damocles?

The days we walked up to the U. (University of Utah) to afternoon classes and home again – absolutely famished – even cafeteria food was delicious.

You getting scarlet fever and all our class sent home early for Christmas vacation – just as if you had done something very naughty and we were all being punished!

The nice boys you introduced me to – how happy Turp and I were for awhile and what fun we had dating together and separately with other boys?

The day I was called off duty to the nurse’s home and my Aunt and Uncle told me my brother Jack had died. – scarlet fever and pneumonia and only my youngest brother to comfort him. We went out with Turp and Ray after the funeral – Did my relatives think it heartless of me – somehow I felt deserted and that I was the only one who truly mourned for him.

The beautiful summer nights when we slept out on the screened porch at our cottage – how many cots in a row!!

The night Sally wrestled someone’s date to the floor (was it yours?) in the front room of the nursing home. Horror of horrors and where was Mrs. Duke?

Also the evening she dumped me in a bath tub full of water and me fully clothed and the house mother scolding you for all the commotion.

The psychology class directly after lunch in the sunroom on the top floor of the hospital and everyone trying desperately to stay awake. I got my lowest grade in that class.

Finally, graduation night, new uniforms, a stripe on our caps and a bouquet or roses. No one from my family came. I felt so badly I don’t even remember but surely your family was there. I went with Allan afterward – where I no longer remember.

Then I was married and you went to Heber to work and we slowly drifted apart. Strange that as close as we were I don’t believe we ever wrote to each other.

Then Buzz came home and you were married – remember the reception at the old Jensen home?

Several of us were at your little house for a party (I believe before Kay was born) and were fooling around with table tipping.

I will never forget you and Buzz taking my children and me into your home for a week after Laurie’s birth when I was so depressed life itself seemed useless. How did you manage I wonder?

Again when I left Allan and came home from California you and Buzz gave of your comfort and strength and helped me start over.

I think of you often and wonder why we never made more effort to talk to each other or visit together (both of us so caught up in our family and work, I suppose) but some how I always feel close to you and when we do meet it is as if no time has passed and we are the same young carefree girls of the long ago golden days.

God be with you, Frannie dear, and bless you and Buzz with joy and happiness for all your lives.

I giggled at Grandma as a young nurse saying the prayer instead of her terrified friend and since everyone's eyes were closed, nobody knowing. I felt so bad thinking of friends that close drifting apart, knowing I do that even to my closest friend... pushing them away even, ESPECIALLY when I am saddest and probably need them most.

It also renewed my resolve to someday write a historical fiction about her as a kid; Grandma, I mean. Grandma as a little girl growing up with an abusive father and her mother dying from blood poisoning all during the Great Depression. Doing the crazy things she did. And now, standing in and praying for a stage-fright afflicted friend. But I will just cram all the stories together. Someday.

Because my grandma was, if nothing else, a CHARACTER.

1 comment:

  1. Great thoughts will be checking back on your blog often.