Happy New Year Fran Tate!!

Well, I just had a conversation that was the cherry on top of a fabulous year!  We have been keeping up on our dear friend, Barrow Easter Bunny, Fran Tate via her family.

Steve & Johnnie with Fran Tate

Steve & Johnnie with Fran Tate

**For the uninitiated and anyone else wondering “Just who is this Fran Tate person and why is she called the “Barrow Easter Bunny” just click on this link to be taken to the article Colleen Mastony wrote about Fran in the Chicago Tribune**

I was recently given a phone number that by-passes the switchboard at the Anchorage care facility she is living in. I’ve tried that number several times and began to think I was given a wrong number.  Today I called again. Lo and behold, the phone was picked up on the second ring and a nurse asked for my name, spelling of my name and said she would be happy to ask Fran if she wanted to speak to me.  Suddenly I heard a loud voice say, “Do I know her? Yes, yes, give me that phone!” I was so happy to actually hear her strong, clear, voice and the Fran laugh.  She said she was comfortable and getting stronger everyday and thought that after losing a leg to diabetes she was ready to talk about a prosthesis so she could get “back in action!”

She said she has been overwhelmed by the number of cards she has received.  Thank you all for taking the time to do just that.  She said the cards are all over her room and she hasn’t had a day go by since the first of the month without a new stack of cards arriving!  I could tell it has meant so much to her.  If you sent a card, you did a good thing!

I asked if she is able to keep up on her extended Pepe’s North of the Border Restaurant family (the restaurant burned to the ground in’13).  She said yes, many are still in Barrow but, sadly many of those who had worked for her for 15-20 plus years were forced to move to the lower 48.  She did mention that another Mexican restaurant has opened in Barrow and as Fran put it “it’s in someones backyard I think!”  She actually said she still dreams she will be going back to Barrow and showing them how it’s done.

That’s our Fran! The incredible strength and spirit that first took her to Barrow as the lone woman working on the Alaska Pipeline came though loud in clear.  Before we hung up she had to catch up on us and our family and she’d heard through listeners that we had a book out.  I asked if we could send her a copy and she said, “Please! I do miss my music, doing my radio show and talking about music.”  Guess where I’ll be Sat. morning.  Yep, in the post office mailing a copy of “A Little More Les” to Fran Tate c/o Providence Extended Care 1035 Compassion Circle Anchorage, Alaska 99504. If you haven’t dropped her a card or note, do.  I think hearing from the WGN Radio listeners is good medicine!

Johnnie

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9 Responses to Happy New Year Fran Tate!!

  1. It was great hearing both of you on wgn for the holiday,it is wonderful you finally got to talk to Fran Tate.

  2. Fred iwata says:

    Ahhh so nice of an update. What a wonderful woman Fran is and Thank you Steve and Johnnie for having her on the air . Fred from Livonia Michigan

  3. Mary Schmitz says:

    Thanks Johnnie for a great update on Fran. I will be sure to send her a card and hope it can add a little cheer to her day.

  4. Karen Peters says:

    Thank you so much for the update on Fran. Think about her often and was glad that you found her in good spirits. It was also great to hear you on this New Years. The music and conversations were terrific. Miss you both.

  5. Norman rosen says:

    Glad to know she’s okay

  6. Victor Cruz says:

    Good Luck Fran.

  7. Cathy Bautz says:

    I was always just thrilled to hear Fran when you had her on the air! I’ve thought of her so often,
    wondering how she was doing. I now know, thanks to your update, and SO glad to hear that
    she was full of her usual spirit! I did not have an address for her until now, and will send her
    a card this week. There are no words to adequately define how wonderful it was to hear you
    New Years Eve! You are SO missed!!!!

  8. Mari ann says:

    How is Fran doing. I just found this article while I was thinking about her. My husband worked for her for years in Barrow.
    Thanks
    Mari Ann Moran

  9. howard ozeran says:

    hi to all, sure wish you were still on wgn, was just watching a rerun of Johnny Carson of a 1984 show, low and behold Fran was his first guest, said that she had married her 24 year old cook about 9 mos. ago, very good looking then and seemed very smart also, so sad about her problem, whats the latest on her where abouts, this blog on her is more than a year old, how about an update.

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