Showing posts with label Fran Amerine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fran Amerine. Show all posts

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Aunt Fran continued Week 34 Sepia Saturday (Click here to see other posts)

I continue with my Aunt Fran Amerine, her married name from last week.  Most of the older photos I found of her  I sent on to my cousin, Paula, her daughter in CA; we are in touch and often comment on how we are the last of the old family.  Here is the last one I have  of Francie from earlier days,  1947 and I do not know where this was taken but this is prior to her marriage and she is still Frances Konesky (Americanized version of Kochanowski.)  I have sent all the other photos off to Paula, her daughter so that the grandson and  grand daughter can enjoy them.  I hope they do.  Wherever this photo was taken,  there was snow and by this time she was wearing eyeglasses.  Last week I mentioned how she changed her age to suit whatever was facing her. 

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.

Easter  Paulie Fran and Paula Jean
 I suppose negativity  was a family trait among her and her sisters but  for a long time I  thought it was just my mother.  However, her daughter, my cousin,  Paula, and I have talked a lot about our family experiences because I know more about  our grandparents than she does.  I learned that Paula had some similar experiences with Fran, her mother, as I did with mine, Helen so, who  knows??  I don't know how genetic that would have been because my grandma Rose was the sweetest woman who ever lived, so her daughters did not get that from her!

 Paul and my Aunt Fran married, I am guessing appx. 1949-50 and they had  two children, a daughter and a son.   The photo to the right shows Fran  with her son, Paulie and daughter, Paula Jean in 1956 for an Easter pose.  I am not sure if this was in Atwater, CA or Nebraska. She always called her son, Paulie Wallie Doodle.  I don't  think he enjoyed that as he got older!    

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.

I may have mentioned that she was my inspiration for wanting to go to CA which I did and where we lived for 40+ years.  When we lived in Fair Oaks, another of my dreams was to have  a swimming pool, which we had.  We had  many gatherings and  in 1973  when Aunt Fran came to our home to meet up with her Aunt Francie (my great Aunt Francie Mroz) for whom she was named. All the Mroz's came to stay  for a long weekend with us and it was a great reunion.

 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
When my Mom and aunt Virginia  (Jinx) visited me in CA in 1996 for their last trip, we went to see Francie who was living in Vacaville.  We knew then that things were not right; she gave us the wrong directions to the home where she had moved and the wrong address.  I had to go to a pay phone and call ,  to get the correct address (this was before cell phones).  But here is one of the last photos of the three sisters in CA 1996.  Right after this Fran would suffer another heart attack, be hospitalized and moved into assisted living.  The  good thing was it was close to where  we lived and I could go to visit her.  At the end with dementia she  thought I was her girlfriend Mary Jo from her WAC years,.  Right to left, my Mom, Helen, Fran, Aunt Jinx.

1996 last visit of the three sisters 

This may be one of the last photos taken of Fran with her grand daughter, Caitlin, Paula's daughter. Fran died at age 83 in 1999. As I visited with my cousins, Paula & her brother Paul who is the spitting image of his father, Paul,  I laughed that they were unsure of their mother's age; the adventuresome Kochanowski girl who changed her name to suit her circumstances, getting older to join the WACs in 1942, getting younger to marry a man younger than herself and all around keeping her age a mystery was one of a kind.
This has been a Sepia Saturday post, click on the title to link to others in our international community to see their photos and read their stories. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Aunt Fran Konesky Amerine Sepia Saturday Week 33 (click here to other Sepias)

This week I introduce, my aunt,, Frances Kochanowski (aka Konesky) Amerine, who was the intrigue of our family and the reason I so wanted to live in CA which I did for many years.  There will be more later to share about her, but for today, suffice that she was the  eldest, first born of Rose and Teofil, my Mom's parents and my grandparents.  Born in 1916, but she  changed her age so frequently that when she died in CA in 1999 even her daughter and son did not know her true age.  The only time she could not lie about her age was when she was around her sisters, who would not tolerate that.  This is the earliest photo I have of her, similar to Uncle Carl's at the Renton School, taken in about  1923.

Aunt Francie was the most  adventuresome  as well as he most argumentative of the family and enlisted in the Women's Army Corps (WAC)  in  1942 to the consternation of her family. If Uncle Carl her brother was going to enlist, so was she and she did, with her first stretch of the truth about her age when she made herself older, the only time she increased her age! I always thought that was so brave of her; she never served abroad though she claimed to be wanting to do just that, but she traveled all around the country serving where needed.  I am uncertain what she did in the WAC's, likely some sort of office work, I do not believe she went into nursing.  This photo is from about 1942 and you can see how pretty she was and quite happy to be out and about in the world.

 She wanted to travel and did so much of her life, after marrying Uncle Paul, who was career military Air Force. For their marriage, sometime between 1947-1948, she made herself  younger because he was younger than she.  There were many family discussions about that and even Francie's father, Teofil could not understand why she did not just admit her age and be over with it.  There were many things he did not understand about this daughter. 

Well she was on her path and one thing she wanted was out of the Polish poor family and onto the world.  At times she rather looked down on her roots; but her family accepted her, referring to her "big ideas."  I liked that from early on, believing that we should all have big ideas.  I  never knew as a child that there was any negativity associated with it.  The next photo is about 1943.

She visited home often and the next two photos are in 1945 when yours truly was among us.  The photo of her holding me looking toward the bridges and the river was one I remember my Grandma Rose saying, "there was Francie holding you and telling you there was a world to be had and seen beyond the riverbanks of PA."    I believed her from this time when I was only  several months old.

Here she is holding me beside her sister, Helen, my Mom the  widow.

I will have more photos and stories next week or so about her.  She died in CA in 1999 and we lived there at the time so I was able to see her.  For someone who always  practiced  good health habits, never smoked, nor drank alcohol, ate extra healthy preferring little meat and large amounts of vegetables and didn't even drink caffeine, it seemed not right that she would have heart problems.  One of my visits to her in the hospital I mentioned that and she said "yes I always took care of my health and look where it got me, on the way to death anyway!"

As I said more to come later about this intriguing though at times haughty aunt Francie, named for my grandmother's baby sister, Great Aunt Francie Mroz whom I wrote about  Sepias ago. She did not get on at all with her brother Carl, especially after their mother passed away and she did not come home to PA for the funeral.   He has never forgiven her to this day despite his dementia for ignoring her Mom's funeral.   As always click on the title above to get to other Sepia Saturday posts.