As many of you know Frances Reid from DAYS OF OUR LIVES was my great aunt.
We finally buried her ashes last weekend near Berkeley, California, where she grew up.
I was extremely close to her and in many ways I do not think it has quite hit me that she's gone. I still imagine myself going to visit her and her face lighting up when she would see me.
I refer myself to friends as Julie from THE LOVE BOAT. My family's version of a cruise director.
In 2002, I organized a family photo shoot with my sisters, mother and my Aunt D'Ann at Francie's house. I am so happy I put the photo shoot together as the four rolls of film and Polaroid's from that day are just amazing. I found them the other day and was surprised at how many gem images there were that I never printed.
I printed this one of Francie and I. It was shot with a Contax 645 camera. Reminds me why I love medium format film so much.
Special thank you to Russell Adams from Shulman Photo Lab for printing this for me.
My dear friend and former theatre professor Ron Marasco was the officiant for our small family service. I wrote this and had Ron read it for me at the service.
There were many times when I was young I was asked how Francie was related to me. The question always puzzled me because I thought every family had a great aunt. That indescribable presence in a family. -- so unique and so special. Francie was always there for us but not in typical way. My parents didn’t look to her to take care of us while my parents had somewhere to go. That was never the role she played in our life. Francie was our hostess, our listener, our mentor and our jester.
Francie taught all of us how to listen and how to listen with intent. She never cared to talk about herself, which is rare in an actor, and always wanted to hear about other people’s backgrounds, adventures and experiences. Right before she passed away I realized that she was ours and we were hers and it made me feel so fortunate.
There are so many things I will miss about her. I will miss her calling my mother Laurie Gail. I will miss receiving my Christmas gift in a Vicente Foods grocery bag. I will miss her asking the adults “Martini or a Bloody Mary?” I will miss sitting next to her while having dinner in her home. I will miss her smoking her cigarettes. I will miss going to the theatre and having grand discussions about what we saw on the drive home. I will miss sitting at her kitchen table talking for hours and hours about just about everything.
I feel so incredibly grateful to have had her in my life and we are lucky enough that the world also knew her as well. They didn’t know the real Frances but that’s okay because we did.
I asked Francie once where she wanted her final resting place to be. She said she wanted to be with “Mother and Daddy” and so it has become her final resting place. She wanted there to be a “talk” and I think she would approve. My dear Aunt Francie you will always be in my heart and my mind and I will always miss you.