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Wet Homecoming

January 16, 2017

Hated to leave while mom was in the hospital, but if I was going to have that hip surgery, I had to get home for the final round of preparation and appointments.

So, I stopped in for a couple hours, checked in with Betsy, and headed north. It was the Martin Luther King holiday.. not too much traffic. I was sorry to miss MLK events in Davis (again), but moms and hips come first.

Not surprising, I have a few road shots:

Leaving the South Bay…

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The sunny LA Basin gave way to a foggy central valley… this is near the bottom of the Grapevine…

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I just couldn’t get enough of those green, green hills…

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They have declared the California draught over!

After many, many years, water completely filled the Yolo Basin…

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…which made for a beautiful homecoming, not to mention sunset…

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I’m definitely home for a while this time.

 

 

 

 

The Hospital Zone

January 15, 2017

Spent a lovely morning with Peter.. albeit a late morning. We slept way in, due to a very late arrival last night (1:30am!). We had breakfast at the Stratford Court Inn in Del Mar. Mmm, yummy. We did a bit of time at the CVS in Del Mar as well. This is how it works with these college student visits, no?

It is the Martin Luther King holiday weekend and a lot of students are gone, but having been gone Thursday and Friday, Peter needed to spend some time this weekend catching up. No time for hanging out with me!

I was going to drive back to Davis, but learned mom had developed a fever, which means there is a chance of pneumonia.. nothing to mess with. Matt, Jay and Chris decided to take her to the ER for evaluation. I decided to head to PV.

Turns out mom does have pneumonia and was admitted so they could address the infection and make sure it doesn’t get worse. I decided to stay overnight.

Spent the afternoon and evening in the hospital zone… all too familiar. Poor mom; she hates having to be in the hospital. All systems are just not go… the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the gut… all seriously compromised….and then you throw a mean old infection on top of it all. They poke her relentlessly, interrupt her constantly, and she’s twisted and tangled in cables and cords and lines and tubes..

It’s utterly undignified and yet.. she’s a good sport. She knows she’s getting great care. She even says the food is vastly improved.

Jay and I left tonight at the same time. Chris and Matt had been and gone.

I pulled up to mom’s, stepped out of the car and nearly gasped at this view of the Broen’s old house…

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Thought Edgar Allen Poe, himself, might step out from behind the tree.

This was a nice view of the living room… all aglow:

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Some shots on the day….

We cleaned up our place (and got a fantastic text from the Airbnb owner who said we were perfect guests, yay).. it was a nice place.

We took some good-bye pics…

Teri, Chad and Brian:

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Jim, Peter and Brian….

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We’ve decided Jim and Brian look a lot alike.

Bro and Sis:

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Peter played a bit more basketball….

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I took a selfie:

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We went to the Pima Air and Space Museum:

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Saw lots of planes. Some famous ones, like the SR-71, Blackbird:

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Some specs:

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Some records…

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We saw a WWII US Coast Guard uniform, and dang, if it didn’t look JUST like Jim Sr’s!

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After about an hour of looking around, we boarded a tram for an outside tour:

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Looked at a buncha planes:

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I like this one’s skinny fuselage:

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There were fat ones, too:

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This was the plane the Iran hostages came home on…

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Then it was off to the Tucson International Airport to return our car, check in Jim’s new gun, and head to Las Vegas.

In Las Vegas, Jim took off for Sac and Peter and I for LA. Peter and I then drove to La Jolla for a night at the Sheraton.

Long day…

 

 

Memorabilia

January 13, 2017

Another day of soaking in the life and times of Jim Sr.

Jim, Peter, Chad, Teri, Brian and I spent the afternoon with Elisa at her house. Her brother and sister (Richard and Jeannie) have been staying there, and were on hand, as well. (And Jeannie’s son John.)

Now comes the hard part…  dealing with the realities of life after Jim.

There are a lot of decisions to be made and a thousands logistics to deal with (where Elisa will live, what she’ll do with a lifetime of belongings–crammed full into closets and drawers everywhere). She’ll need a lot of help settling into her new life and nobody lives close by.

This day was full of sadness, but also plenty of delight. Between discussions of wills, home care services, assisted living facilities, insurance policies, emergency procedures and so on, was all the rummaging through photos…

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Letters…

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Old coast guard uniforms….

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Love the buttons on these uniforms!!

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And…. some WWII paraphernalia.  Now, this requires some ‘splainin’….

Jim’s platoon removed this flag from a captured German command post, and all the platoon members signed their names to their souvenir:

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And this gun was taken from a dead German officer… a 1914 German Luger..

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We continued a whole bunch of story telling, in and amongst the overwhelm.. and of course ate like exhausted sad people:

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A couple other shots…. this is a shot of Marty and Brian through the flowers:

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Speaking of flowers, I loved seeing the plant mom sent to Elisa, a gorgeous lily that Elisa really loved:

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With a very heart-felt note that was written by some who understands…

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And later, after returning to our house, Peter threw the ball around a bit more…

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… as the storm clouds gathered.

Military Send Off

January 12, 2017

The service for Jim Sr was today.

We met at the Adair Mortuary in Tucson: The three of us; Chad, Teresa and Brian; Marty; Michael and Marsue; John and Alan; Jason and Nicole (Mike & Marsue’s grandson & wife); Richard and Jeannie (Elisa’s siblings); John (Jeannie’s son); Bill and Joanne (Elisa’s niece and husband) ; Rod and Sandy (friends); and a few others I may have missed.

I believe this was my first experience with an open casket.

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It was actually okay. Quite interesting, even.

Teresa shared these comments:

Good morning.  Today we gather to celebrate the life of James Horace Frame, Jr.  Buddy, as the family called him when he was young, was born on January 6, 1925 at the family home in Lawrence, Kansas.  Born at home, he would tell us, so he could be near his mother.  He was the fourth child of what would eventually be a family of 11 children, 7 sons and 4 daughters, born to Lillian Ruth Hart and James Horace Frame, Sr.

Raised in the harsh years of The Great Depression our dad would tell us stories of growing up at a time when food was grown and preserved at home, shoes were purchased when school started in the fall, and family fun involved singing around the piano or making a batch of fudge.

Being city kids, my brothers and I were envious of the pets and farm animals Dad and his siblings got to enjoy: the milk cow, the pony, the chickens, the dogs and cats.  Little did we know the work involved in milking the cow twice a day, every single day, keeping the animals fed or processing those chickens for the dinner table.

Dad liked school and was a good student.  His High School Yearbook commented that he was “Smart in both work and play and always had a clever remark at hand”.  He loved to read and until the very end of his life he read voraciously, bringing home a bag full of books each week from the library.  He played baseball in school and American Legion Baseball when he was a little older.

The United States was at war when Dad graduated from high school.  He started college at the University of Kansas but soon joined the U.S. Army, and was assigned to the 99th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop.  He was sent to England and then to Belgium, eventually fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.  He shared with us stories of the hardships of war and of experiences that included complaining about conditions to the GI next to him in the shower and subsequently seeing that man put on an officer’s uniform – General Omar Bradley.

One story about Dad shared by our cousin Alan went something like this:  It was toward the end of the war, and a major battle had just been won or some territory taken and secured.  Dad and a few buddies had been in the field for quite a while, were maybe hungry, exhausted, unkempt, frustrated and probably a little angry.  A general encountered them and somewhat sternly asked “Don’t you men recognize that the Army has standards for grooming, cleanliness and professional appearance?” Dad answered “No.” The general was peeved that Dad hadn’t answered “No, sir” and shot back “No, WHAT?” to which Dad responded: “No soap.”

After V.E. Day Dad won a two-week pass to Paris.  He told his commanding officer that he did not have any money because he had sent it all home.  The officer pointed out that Dad had many cartons of cigarettes and it wasn’t long until he was on his way.  He remembered meeting a girl and having a wonderful time strolling through the Parc Monceau.

After returning from the war and finding it hard to settle down to normal life, Dad eventually joined the Coast Guard.  He was stationed in northern California and at a church social, following a parade where he was in the honor guard, he met Sonia.  They married in March, 1948.  Three children were born, Teresa, Jim III and Marty.  Dad’s brother, Dean, married Sonia’s sister, Annita, and they had five children, Marie, Alan, Monica, Mark and John.  The two families grew up living near each other, celebrating birthdays, going on picnics and camping trips, and spending days at the beach and to this day the two families and the eight double cousins have a strong attachment.

Sonia died in December, 1971 and our lives were turned upside down.  But fate smiled on Dad.  While visiting a friend he was reintroduced to Elisa whom he had known when he worked at Safeway.  On May 27, 1972 they were married in Pennsylvania and lived for the next year in Cherry Hill, New Jersey before returning to the Bay Area.

Dad had a lot of jobs over the years.  He worked nights at Safeway overseeing the data processing department.  He worked as buyer at Safeway, a food broker for Hamilton Stone, he sold insurance, real estate, real estate and travel agency franchises.  He once showed us his collection of company blazers and the drawer full of name tags from all those careers.  He was good at sales because he never sold anything that he did not firmly believe in himself and he could be very convincing.

Dad was a do-it-yourselfer and a tinkerer.  He worked on and off for years trying to perfect a word game that involved a race track and little metal horses and jockeys he called Tele-Stakes.  He and son Jim rewired the house on Cambridge Way.  He dabbled in woodworking.  He and Elisa had a house built in Safford, AZ and dad did all the finish work inside and built a block wall around the perimeter.

Dad was creative and wrote poems for special occasions.  On his 88th birthday he sent us poem modestly entitled, Ode to Me.  Dad loved to cook and for most of their 44 years of marriage he did the cooking and Elisa did the dishes.  He was creative and innovative in the kitchen and enjoyed the cooking as much as the eating.  Once at a grocery store when Elisa told a woman that Dad did all the cooking, the woman responded, “I want one of those!”

Most importantly Dad taught us what was important in life: to enjoy life, and the love of family, friends, and country.  I am sure he will be missed by all who knew him.  Thank you, Dad.  We love you.

People circulated, stood around in quiet conversation, sat with Elisa..

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Afterward, we headed to Marana Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, way out in the middle of lots of desert, cotton fields, mountains and saguaro:

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A shot from the commitment area … there were various branch insignias on the wall:

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Pallbearers–Brian, Jason, Marty, Michael, Chad and Jim carried the casket from the hearse to the cart, then the funeral home guy helped guide it to the commitment area:

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A bugle guy played Taps as the honor guard appeared. They presented the flag:

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Then came the ceremonial folding. They followed strict protocol… thirteen folds in all, choreographed stepping, precise hand movements and lots of fancy flourishes…

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And the presentation:

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It was very moving.

Here’s the unadorned casket:

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As we left, we observed the casket being taken out to where it will be placed in the ground:

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The plan was to reconvene at our house for the rest of the afternoon and evening–appetizers, dinner, conversation. On the way, we stopped at Whole Foods for a few dinner supplies:

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Spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with family… many, MANY stories were shared!

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Peter and I even played some basketball…

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Here are the only two remaining Frame brothers–Dean (age 87) and Michael (age 75). With Sandra (age 82 and unable to attend due to a back issue), they are the only three who remain of the eleven siblings.

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Then a few goodbyes…

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It was a great and fitting day. So happy to be with family.

PV to TUCSON

January 11, 2017

Up in darkness, a rainy commute to LAX… a beautiful look at PV from the air…

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And a birdseye view of deserty Tucson..

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Before picking Jim up at the Tucson airport, spent a warm and wonderful afternoon with Sam. Love that guy. A reminder of how much I loved my work, loved my colleagues, and valued all we did together in and for our communities. Truly.

Jim and I drove to our place in north Tucson… and the sunset did not disappoint. I was driving, so unable to get shots at its peak, but got a few around the house when the car finally stopped.

Birds on the wall outside..

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Looking to the left…

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Then a little more to the left…

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And yet a little more…

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Very nice place we have here… and the best: stories around the table with numerous Frames and Cheyneys… we were ten for most the evening.

Jim fetched Peter at midnight, who’d made all his connections from La Jolla –> San Diego airport (via Uber) –>  Tucson flawlessly, which is today’s top-of-the-fold story: First solo flight!

Good job, Peter!

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Way back on my page 42, behind the classified … T holds his first press conference. A true cluster eff. Themes: business conflicts of interest, unreleased tax forms, questionable cabinet picks and the lovely allegations of the Trump’s campaign’s behind the scenes communication with Russian operatives in joint effort to damage Hillary’s campaign. That got a bit lost in sordid tales of golden showers… not proven. Not inconsistent, but will withhold judgment. Welcome to a new and ugly era.

 

Goodbye, Sir

January 10, 2017

I’ll have comments later about the ending of Barack Obama’s presidency and the suspension, for the time being, of all things decent, intelligent and compassionate.

Yep, how I feel.

I have pretty much run out of words to describe my despair over what’s to come. For now, I don’t want to waste the keystrokes. For now, gratefulness beyond measure for the integrity, grace, and strength of character of this man…

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… and his wife, for all they gave to our country. We are better for it.

It was a gorgeous goodbye.

Tears were shed.

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Enjoyed an evening with 2/3 of the bro contingent. Mom’s signature chicken…

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..and lotsa chillin’by the fire on an uncharacteristically rainy night in the southland…

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