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.
**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!