Frank’s Fax Facts and Reviews

Vol.. XIV No. 2

Sunday, March 31, 2013                                                                                            

                         Happy Easter 2013!


My two most unforgettable Easters were both spent in Providence Hospital, when it was still downtown (the building was bought by South Alabama, and operates now as the Veterans Clinic) The first time, I had a stroke (though, after a month there and in the Rotary Center, nobody could confirm, that is what I had suffered!) And that has to have been the worst month of my life! My sister, Helen came down and stayed in my house; caring for my cat, Trudy I, and driving down to stay with me most of the time. Cora Fairley, also came and stayed at my house (when Helen would go home for a day or two) and my friends were wonderful: Father Kelly came all the way from      . where he had been sent, and brought me potted flowers that lasted for years. and I still use the pot they were in!) Mary Jane Scruggs and Margaret Murphy visited often, and on Easter Sunday, brought me a chicken dinner from Church’s Fried Chicken (the best in town, in my estimation). I have seldom enjoyed a meal quite so much in my life. An older adult student, Elizabeth Nelson, who had become a good friend, brought me a steak dinner she had cooked especially for me. That was unbelievably wonderful. Later, when she said she would like to cook something else for me, I persuaded her to repeat that successful meal! She was thrilled to death to comply with my wishes! Two former students from Hattiesburg (Larry Williamson and Billy Ulmer) drove down, bringing all sorts of goodies; Steve Moore came, and knowing I had no pajamas, brought several pairs (thankfully all of then were Shorties!) so I didn’t have to wear that awful backless nightgown hospitals make you wear! After I was released, Steve came back down and took Helen and me for lunch at Crockmeyers’ Restaurant. It was much less noisy than usual that day, thank Heaven! Anna and Glenn came and stayed with me a few days (one of them being the first Sunday I was allowed to go home for the day. That day at home was sheer heaven, but when I had to return to a life of medications, X rays, injections, and being kept awake by nurses taking my temperature all night long: I wanted to go AWOL!

One test I remember most vividly was when the doctor (whose name I have conveniently forgotten, made me sign a document before he shot hot dye all through my brain! After that, I was so sick that (when they tried to force some vile medicine down my throat, I threw up all over myself and the bed!

On Easter Sunday, before my chicken dinner, Anna and Glenn had visited me, and wrapped me up with blankets in order to allow me to go outside in a wheelchair so I could hold Trudy in my lap. That was the best part of the day, as far as I was concerned.

Betty and Henry Stevens drove down from Richton, to wish me well. Another sister, Josephine (I cannot remember whether Bill was with her or not) came down while the Stevens were there, bringing her book with her. She sat and read her romance novel when she was not the only one there.

So, it was a very busy (and exhausting) day for me. Jack Morgan came, bringing me an Easter Lily and some expensive soap; (Val Early had brought the first lily to me earlier) and by that time, I was being inundated with their sweet and sickly smell! I never want to get too close to another Easter Lily after that day!

Mercifully, the day ended. It was wonderful to have so many friends (and I cannot remember some of the names of the rest) but I was really not able to be a good host.

Four years later, I had a stroke and was in the same dreary location on Easter Sunday! I will spare you that memory, since that was when I had open heart surgery.



Draft Dodgers Anonymous

Operas and Operettas

        I took a cab to the address where I would be spending the next six days. When my hostess came to the door, I was relieved when she welcomed me with perfect English! The house was pretty and my room was perfect, as far as I was concerned. She lived with another woman, and I have forgotten how they were related, but they were both sweet and always kind, considerate and polite. I had my very own bathroom, which was a huge plus.

        I lay down and had a soothing nap after she left, and prior to getting showered and dressed for the evening’s concert.

        The Opera House itself, was very imposing. I tried to think back on how many years Richard Wagner had tried to get the opera house built, that would be able to meet all of his demands for performances of his operas, and nobody else’s. It was a Bavarian Prince who had it built to all of Wagner’s specifications. The Prince, was later declared “Mad” and took that name with him to the grave: Mad Ludwig.

        I had purposely arrived very early, in order to acquaint myself with the necessary information that would help me with the four Operatic Performances that would follow.

        Having never heard even a recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (at this point in my life, I did not care for Beethoven. After detesting one of his sonatas that I had to play in a competition that Mr. Huck entered me, I grew (over the years) to play it again, and found it one of the greatest works for piano that I had ever performed!) I really was dreading so much Beethoven and no other composer; but almost from the first downbeat of the conductor, I was overwhelmed with the sheer greatness and beauty of the work. I sat back, relaxed and just let the sounds run all over my mind and heart. And then it was over! I could not believe that any Symphony, with four long movements (the last has the Chorus and Soloists) could be over in fifteen minutes (which is what I felt I had been sitting through).The work is justifiably lauded and certainly one of any composer’s masterpiece rating. The soloists were all first class (as was every thing in Wagner’s World).

        I wandered back to my lodging, walking slowly (I had taken a cab to get there, but cabs meant extra money.)

        By the time I got into my rented bed, I thought that I would never be able to sleep: not the bed’s fault. My poor brain was working overtime, after my falling in love with Ludwig, and that kept getting interrupted by memories I had of hearing Robert Pope’s recording of one act of Die Walkure (that occupied   several 78 records. The recording continued in Germany, but I couldn’t remember if the entire opera had made it at the time I was seeing it. Ed Kohler found an old army buddy of mine and gave me his address. It was our printer, James Modespachre. After I had written him, he had his wife write a reply (he was too ill to write) and said he remembered my as saying, “If it’s not Wagner, it isn’t opera.” Well, I may have had this zeal back before I sat through the entire Ring Cycle, but I swore then and there, that I would never again put myself in the position! My friend, Robert Pope, had lost count of the number of times he has loved every moment of it. But, he did introduce me to Wagner’s greatness (which I recognize, but I prefer several other composers’ works: Verdi, Puccini, and even Mennotti! Then, I would list Wagner!




        The next morning, I was greeted with my first Continental Breakfast: and it was truly memorable and wonderful. I was accustom to everything about the day’s first meal, being red hot. We always had Mama’s divine hot biscuits, scalding hot coffee (which I drank with milk, and often do still) and then we had whatever we wanted, cooked (usually fried) from the market. It might be pork chops, or a steak; but more often it was either bacon or sausages. I was partial to sausage patties Mama or Helen could make. They basically simply mixed the meat as if for meat balls, then fried these, and served with hot biscuits, I found it irresistible!

        When my tray (with some fresh cut flowers added) was brought to my room, I was delighted to see fresh cherries, in abundance, along with stout German bread and two different kinds of marmalade. The cup of steaming coffee was strong, but delicious. This same breakfast was brought to me every day I stayed there, and I always ate every crumb! I was falling ever more deeply in love with the present day Germany!

        I learned that the cherries were grown by the ladies, themselves. It was a lovely Cherry tree! I smiled when I wondered vaguely if the Germans had a president who ever chopped down a cherry tree.

        After I ate, I got ready for the day, and decided to walk around the town and try to find some souvenirs to send to my friends and family back home.

(Continued Next Week)


Cat Facts

Never trust anyone who doesn’t like cats.


(These words of wisdom are imprinted on a throw pillow on one of Ginger’s favorite chairs. Therefore, I suppose it’s anonymous.

Old Movies Trivia Quiz #76

  1. The Emperor Waltz was a musical, ser in the Austria of Franz Joseph. Starring Bing Crosby and what other Oscar winning star? Hint: she had a sister who won two best actress Oscars?
  2. Johnny Belinda won an Oscar for what Warner Bros. actress?
  3. Who was her leading man?
  4. Lana Turner and Richard Burton starred in which misbegotten remake of The Rains Came?

5 .MGM’s Raintree County had Liz Taylor and Eva Marie Saint playing with which leading man?

6. David O. Selznick’s follow up to Gone with the Wind, was a vehicle for his wife. What was her name?

7. Edna Ferber’s novel, Show Boat was filmed twice. The second version starred this time  Kathryn Grayson what singing star of MGM?

8. Can you name the Edna Ferber novel that was made into the film that was the last performance this young Star played?

9. Cher’s first dramatic role was in the play that had this same young star in its title. Do you remember?

10. Dean Martin, after breaking with what other male star, went on to make it big in serious films?



Old Movies Trivia Quiz #75

1.  I Confess is the absorbing tale of a Catholic priest who hears a penitent's confession to a murder, and is suspected and tried for the murder himself. Anne Baxter is the former sweetheart of the priest, played by Montgomery Clift. 

2. Sunset Boulevard is the story of a once popular movie queen, played by Gloria Swanson (who came out of retirement to make the film. William Holden was the young actor whose life she tries to dominate?

3. Corvette Summer was the story of a young man (played by Mark Hammil) whose car is stolen, and who spends the rest of the film trying to retrieve it.

4. In Amadeus, F. Murray Abraham was the Oscar winning star who played jealous composer, Salieri?

5. Mozart trying desperately to finish his Requiem Mass, before his untimely death?

6. Bud Abbot and Lou Costello made their hit musical comedy Buck Privates?

7. The Andrews Sisters“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” one of the biggest pop music hits of the World War II. Patty died recently, and I wept for the days when we had boogie Woogie and talent like this trio!

8. You’ve Got Mail (recently) and The Shop around the Corner (1940) were both based on the same story line. This was the second version, and starred Judy Garland and Van Johnson (with Judy’s daughter making her screen debut in the final scene.  This charming film was titled In the Good Old Summertime.

       9. Robert Montgomery played The Earl of Chicago. He had a daughter (Elizabeth) who made a big hit, playing a Witch on a long running situation comedy.

       10. Notorious was an RKO film. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock famous, who also had a successful Television career.





Sunday, March 31, 2013