OK, so clearly I am not the world’s most consistent blogger. But a lot happened in the last three months. A death in our family made writing happily about life impossible.
My god-son and nephew, Marc Tunno, was killed in a car accident. He was funny, irreverent, and lived life on his own terms. He was only 48-years-old. His untimely death left us feeling gut-punched and incredibly sad for what could have been. It also left me with three pieces of advice for you.
#1. Always wear your seatbelt, even if you’re going around the block. You just never know.
#2. Please don’t text while you’re driving, even a voice text can be distracting. Nothing is so important it can’t wait. (I need that reminder myself!)
#3. If you love someone and haven’t been in touch as much as you’d like, don’t wait for them, you make the call. Be the one who reaches out. I wish I had done that more with Marc.
If there is good that can come of anyone’s passing, it’s that unsubtle message from the universe that life can be very short, so you damn well better do what you want before your world is pulled out from under you. I’ve had three very dear friends, plus Marc who’ve all left me in the past year. It was life’s ugliest reminder that it’s time to get moving.
So, I retired. I decided that my temp job at Carnegie Mellon University was not fulfilling and I wasn’t getting hired there or anywhere else, so I quit trying. I do miss my co-workers, but I wanted to spend my time doing what I enjoy, not just working because I’m afraid to retire.
So, as of February 17th, I’ve been a free agent! Know what? About a month after I retired, I got a nice voiceover gig, which felt like the universe telling me I made the right choice.
I also have great news about my friend and blog-reader, Chas Madonio. He published his book, Bars, Bands and Rock ‘n Roll! It was his labor of love, about the music scene at Kent State University in the ’60s and ’70s. (I had no idea there even WAS a music scene there, but Joe Walsh and several other top musicians sprang from there, so clearly there was!) Heres a link if you’re interested in buying a copy, Bars, Bands and Rock ‘n Roll, The Golden Era in Kent Ohio.
Anyway, he’s already sold a thousand copies, is making the newspapers, and continually inspires me to get moving on my book, which I swear I will do THIS YEAR!
And, in keeping with spring and new beginnings, I moved into a condo and have been hard at work doing another thing I love; fixing this place up. I’ve been sanding, pulling up carpet, painting, etc. Aside from the fact that my hands look like they went through a chipper, it’s such fun to see the change that can come from a few coats of paint and new flooring. As I type this there are two guys downstairs pounding and tearing up tile, pulling up carpet, and putting in new flooring and baseboards. Man, they’re fast! Upstairs carpets will be installed next week.
It’s funny how you can live life and never even notice flooring or baseboards, then suddenly they become the center of your universe. The sheer number of choices is mind-numbing and leaves me in awe of interior designers.
I’ve not been cooking much, but did discover a seasoning I love, thanks to my daughter. It’s called Trader Joe’s Mushroom and Company MultiPurpose Umami seasoning. I roasted some mushrooms with olive oil, salt and a bit of this seasoning and they were really good. You can get it at Trader Joe’s (obviously) or on Amazon. Here’s a link: Trader Joe’s Umami Seasoning.
And I found a walking trail in the woods near my new home, which thrills me because a good walk in the woods can solve almost any problem I have. I do miss tiny Harmony, where there was a perfect walking trail along the creek. Not being able to walk it with my former neighbor, Leona left me a little sad, so I set out to find a new place to walk and I found a path in the woods! It’s not very pretty now, but once the leaves grow in, it will look a little more welcoming.
And just like in Harmony, it’s right alongside one of Pennsylvania’s 2,728 cemeteries. California, in contrast, only has 2,670, according to Find A Grave. Considering California is 3.5 times bigger than Pennsylvania, that’s pretty amazing.
Maybe people come back to their roots when it’s time to go…or Pennsylvania, and specifically Pittsburgh calls you. This Calvin and Hobbes cartoon Carolyn bought me for a housewarming gift does make me wonder. Let’s hope it’s not the latter.
Everyone tells me I’ll be bored soon, but I haven’t been this happily busy in years. I promise to write more once I am moved in. I hope you’re embracing life and all it offers. Life is just too short to live any other way. As my ex-husband used to say, “Dance while you can.”
Judy LApril 5, 2023 at 4:18 pm
Hey Fran. Lovely post but I’m so sorry about your nephew. Yes life is so fleeting & I’ve lost a few good friends suddenly to remind me too. Retirement is calling me too! Enjoy the restoration & rebuilding. I look forward to your posts.
Fran TunnoApril 29, 2023 at 10:59 am
Thank you so much Judy. Life has a very rude way of waking us up. I hope you listen, although being on the radio was one of the most fun, least stressful jobs I ever had…so I understand if you want to put it off for a while. One thing I learned after leaving radio is that you will still be Judy L, whether you are on the air or not.
ken steeleMarch 25, 2023 at 11:06 am
Hi Fran! So good to find your thoughts and storytelling. Indeed the pain of loss is a stinging reminder of our brief time here together. Enjoy your day today!
Fran TunnoMarch 26, 2023 at 10:29 am
Awww Ken, so good to hear from you. I hope you, Adrienne and the kids are well. It’s been a painful lesson in not taking anything for granted and enjoying each moment. Thanks for taking the time to read and send a response. xo
CEOMarch 23, 2023 at 9:53 am
Happy Retirement Frannie! Life teaches us some pretty solid lessons in times of turmoil doesn’t it? I have been trying to do things that bring me joy and light that fire within. It’s been a big year of looking inward and asking myself WHAT DO I WANT? And while in the process I am needlepointing, walking the dogs, working at a bakery and trusting this crazy journey of life. I am glad your are back writing I so enjoy your blogs. Much love to you always!
Fran TunnoMarch 23, 2023 at 11:36 pm
Tough lessons indeed! Whoa, Colleen, working at a bakery? I love that. I always wanted to open one, but never had the guts. I’m proud of you! Keep doing what you love, it keeps you sane. Thanks for reading and taking the time to write. Come visit! xoxoxo
Karen ZiglerMarch 23, 2023 at 5:59 am
Congrats on retirement! Enjoy and definitely take time to reach out to see to people and catch up on their lives. I recently visited with Dawn a few times and she made my vacation to Key West extra special. I am now drinking hibiscus tea and coconut water 🤣
Also my sincere condolences to you and your family. ❤️
If I lived closer I would lend a hand with your demo and remodel. Good luck with your new home and your future book!
Carry on! Howie 😜
Fran TunnoMarch 23, 2023 at 9:36 am
Oh man Howie, I could use another pair of hands. I wish you lived closer too! I’ll bet you know your stuff. So far, drywall is my least favorite thing to deal with! Oh the dust!!!!!
So happy that you had a wonderful time in Key West. I am trying to get Dawn to tell me the best time to visit. I definitely need to visit there too, it’s been way too long. And thank you for the condolences. I can’t think about it too much, the guilt over not reaching out often enough gets me.
Yes to hibiscus tea and coconut water, that Dawn is a healthy one. She inspires me! Thanks for reading and taking the time to write! Let me know when the next Clarion reunion is, I’ll be there! xoxox
lafridayMarch 23, 2023 at 1:21 am
Dearest Fran, although we chat so often that anything I say here is somewhat redundant, I will chime in that it is good that your wit and wisdom are back in the ether.
The years have seen so many parallels in our lives, including the gut-wrenching bewilderment of losing younger family members these past few months, as well as our beloved friend, Janet.
We are now nearing nearly two years since you moved back to the east coast and we STILL haven’t seen one another. Following your wise counsel, it’s time to change that, especially now that you are a lady of leisure—with too much to do. <3
Fran TunnoMarch 23, 2023 at 9:31 am
My Dear Linda, you are absolutely right! Let’s pick a date and plan it! If we plan it, it will happen. Once March is over and I’ve done my taxes and one other big thing I HAVE to do, we will get together. I promise!
Thanks for reading and taking the time to write. xoxoxo
Julia ShureMarch 22, 2023 at 7:41 pm
Dear Fran, I’m so sorry for the loss of your nephew, Marc. I will take your wise advice to heart. It’s the hardest thing in life to lose those we love. Congrats on your retirement and your condo! If you ever get near NY I’m trying to get there as often as I can since I am a grandma now to Kara’s little boy, Nico. It would be so much fun to see you.
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 10:31 pm
Thank you Julia. It feels so unfair when someone so young dies.
But I sure would love to see you! Let’s plan a visit! If we don’t plan it, it will never happen and I love NY! (Gee they should make that into a slogan, huh?) Anyway, text me or email me and we can chat about this! Congratulations on being a gramma. How wonderful! I can’t wait to see pics!
Emil MitchellMarch 22, 2023 at 4:46 pm
With nothing more to say after reading your posting I say “You Go Girl, Drive On”! [From an old Vietnam Veteran who used to dilly dally making a move] God Bless You Ms Fran!
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 10:32 pm
Thank you Emil! I appreciate the sentiment!!! No more dilly dallying for either of us!
TheresaMarch 22, 2023 at 12:25 pm
There she is! Great to see you back at it, Fran. I’ve missed you. Congratulations on retirement and the new condo. Very exciting changes. My heart breaks for your loss. Big hugs. I have a heap of cousins in Ohio and they are very aware of the music scene out of Kent State. I will tag a couple when I see this on FB. Good luck with the condo reno and the completion of your book. I always enjoy your humor and wit. Love ya, T
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 10:46 pm
You are the absolute best Theresa. Thanks for always reading and taking the time to comment. Thanks for the well wishes. I checked on your town during the rains, I was worried about you, but it looks like you got through OK. Glad to see that. xoxoxo
Chas maadonioMarch 22, 2023 at 10:43 am
It’s great to see you back in print again! I’m sure the last few months since Marc’s passing have been rough on everyone in your family. It was so tragic and especially sad for his kids, and I can see how it would put a damper on your enthusiasm for writing. I hope you get back to work on your book and finish it soon. I will be first in line to buy it! We need to get together soon – we have so much to catch up on. Let us know when you are caught up on your remodeling and we’ll make plans. PS – Thank for the plug on my book.
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 10:49 pm
Hey Chas, I was happy to do it! We have to support each other in this writing thing! Yes to getting together. Are you ever in Pittsburgh? If so, let me know! I’ll check to see if I have your number. We must do this! I need to have some fun traveling along with all this work I’m doing!
Mary MasonMarch 22, 2023 at 9:46 am
Love you Fran! Your wit and wisdom abound even when faced with a challenge as your family’s loss of such a treasure. May all your memories bring you some peace and comfort. Retirement! Yay! Good for you and congrats on the new gig. We have been remodeling our house since I retired, and the finished projects bring us such joy! May your new home be filled with laughter. Walking in nature is the best therapy…Brand Park still lures me everyday. Be well, dear friend and yes to finishing your book! I would love to attend the book signing! 💕
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 10:51 pm
Oh Mary, your words brought a big smile to my face. Thank you so much for always taking the time to read and comment. There IS something about the satisfaction of a job well done that is pretty wonderful. Please enjoy Brand Park for me. I sure do miss it. I will let everyone know when I get this book rolling – you’ll hear the scream of joy all the way in California!
MonicaMarch 22, 2023 at 9:29 am
Congrats on your retirement, Fran! I really really hope you finish your book, you are such a talented writer and it will be fantastic. I am going to check out your friend’s book also- my good friend in Ohio worked at Kent State for 20 years, I’m sure she would love it. So sorry about the loss of your nephew.
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 10:53 pm
Thank you so much Monica. I appreciate the words of support and the fact that you always read and take the time to respond. It really means a lot! I hope your friend loves the book. It’s a fun trip down memory lane for anyone familiar with Kent State. Hugs to you and Davey!
Petrea BurchardMarch 22, 2023 at 9:17 am
Fran, I’m sorry about Marc. What a terrible thing. Yes, seatbelts. No, texting. And yes to retiring! I look forward to it. Got some floorboards here that need attention.
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 10:56 pm
I have to say, it’s been pretty awful realizing that he’ll never be back. It’s still pretty unreal. As for retirement, it’s pretty wonderful not setting the alarm every night and not commuting every day and not spending all that money on gas. So far, I’m loving it.
Betty Jo Spickerman CouchMarch 22, 2023 at 8:10 am
Fran, I am so sorry for your great loss. Sincere sympathy and prayers to you and your family.
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 10:59 pm
Thank you Betty Jo. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and respond. It still feels so unreal.
Denice StradlingMarch 22, 2023 at 1:46 am
Aw, Fran … I’m so sorry for this deep loss… and thank you for this valuable lesson. My love to you.
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 11:02 pm
Hey Denice, I was just FB stalking you a few weeks ago. You look great as usual. Thank you for the sweet response to the blog. It’s been a journey. It’s good to be busy so I don’t dwell on Marc’s loss. It’s still so fresh and unreal feeling. Stay safe!
Marianne GazzilliMarch 22, 2023 at 12:54 am
I love that you retired!! And Fran, you will not be bored. You will wonder after you have been retired a while how you did all that you did while you worked. Congratulations on your retirement and moving into a condo!!
A punch in the gut is a perfect description of an unexpected death of a young family member. I am so sorry for your loss and pray the fond memories give you comfort.
Looking forward to more writings after you have settled your condo.
Charles BurkettMarch 22, 2023 at 7:27 am
And enjoy dessert first!
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 11:05 pm
That is excellent advice. Thanks Chuck!
Fran TunnoMarch 22, 2023 at 11:04 pm
Oh Marianne, I love that I retired too!!!! I just saw your FB message and finally responded. I’m terrible on FB anymore. but I have to work on all this social media, so I’m going to try a little harder to be consistent. Thanks for the sweet note and for your condolences. It’s been ugly.