She married a younger man, Paul Amerine who was a career Air Force chief master sergeant, the highest rank without becoming an officer, Strategic Air Command and that accounted for their living in different parts of the country and world. He was very handsome and very likeable. I may have mentioned that Francie could be haughty and a bit snobbish. That did not go over at all with her father, Teofil, who once told Paul, her husband to come visit as much as he wanted but to leave his wife at home! Now that is a walk on the wild side for a Polish father to say about his daughter, but it gives you a taste of how beloved Uncle Paul was and how Aunt Fran could be different. Uncle Paul was really a prince of a man and I never heard anyone in the family ever say a negative word about him, except for his wife, my Aunt Fran. Seems she could pick at anything. He died young in about 1968, tragically suddenly of a massive heart attack.
I said last week, Aunt Fran visited home in PA often and the following photo 1957 shows her in PA with her mom, (Grandma Rose), Paulie, Paula Jean, Aunt Fran and Aunt Marge (Uncle Carl's wife and yours truly squatted in front, as I was the big girl when the little cousins came to visit.
Oh I remember this visit because Aunt Fran wanted to buy me a new pair of shoes to start the school year. Maybe it was because growing up she never was sure to have new anythings for school, but everyone, my Grandma, my aunt Jinx, my Mom told her that I would certainly have a new pair of shoes to start school, but for some reason she was set to do that. This was in August I believe and so one afternoon she and I went downtown to the shoe stores. My Grandma Rose had warned her, "Francie, Patty has her own ideas and when she makes up her mind that's it. You told her when she was as a baby to have Big Ideas and she does." (Remember last weeks' picture of her holding me as a baby.) Francie was soon to learn that I already was extremely opinionated about what I would and would not wear! We had 3 shoe stores in our town then and I had determined that the shoe I would have was a fancy flat while Aunt Fran had some oxford in mind. Grandma Rose tried to warn her," Francie, maybe you better not take her because Patty is used to getting what she wants now, so don't argue with her." Francie thought to herself, "sure, how much trouble can a 12 year old be? " Well she soon learned. When she tried to explain to me that the oxford would be good for school, I was not having it! I turned up my nose and promptly put my own shoes back on explaining that I already knew the shoe I wanted and it was in the store across the street! I don't know what else I might have said nor what faces I might have made, but we went across the street where I pointed out my desired shoe, which engaged her to explain to me that it was not the right school shoe. I said something like, I didn't care, it was my feet and it would be that shoe or none, that she did not have to buy these because I could wait, since school was not starting and my Grandma would see that I had what I wanted! I think Aunt Fran was really astonished. She did buy me the flat I wanted, but I remember Fran telling my Mom later, "She embarrasses you, the poor saleslady didn't know what to think. Here's this girl with her big opinions." My Mom only shrugged her shoulders and said, "Francie, we tried to tell you. She is used to having things her way, Mom and Jinx always see to that." After they returned to CA or Nebraska or wherever they were living, that fall, Aunt Francie sent a package of slippers for me on my birthday. I thought they were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, flats with a gold crocheted thread of sorts that stretched. I suppose she meant it to tease me, but I loved them and wore them for as long as I could. I learned to sing a Gospel Spiritual song "OH Dem Golden Slippers" from Daisy, a black lady who was a friend of my Grandma, and when I put on my slippers I danced around and sang that! She always remembered sending me those slippers and we laughed for a long time about those!
Here she is with her family when they lived in Spain about 1965; Uncle Paul, Paulie, Paula Jean and Fran.
Uncle Paul was long gone, but Aunt Fran carried on quite well as a widow. She always said that there was no substitute for having good friends. She knew that because she never had family living close to her and neither did I. Her independent streak rubbed off on me and has helped me through many life events. However in her later years she suffered many health problems, surprisingly. She always took the best care of herself, as I shared last week, but ended up with heart conditions and diabetes!
|1980 Paula Jean with her mother Fran|
|1996 last visit of the three sisters |