Tag Archives: frances cagnassola


111 years ago today, the universe gave birth to an angel i called gram.


i love, miss and think about you every day gram. happy birthday! xo


“We should all have one person who knows how to bless us despite the evidence.”
~ Phyllis Theroux



many thanks

my aunt fran, who we always called sis, spent every day making life better for people. she was an accomplished professor who left the world of higher education to assist  people who may not have been able to receive a higher education without her help, generosity and kindness.  she taught children in the public school system in downtown newark, nj and made lives better for all ‘her’ children. because of her efforts helping kids understand that they mattered, assisting them to learn and sharing her light, there are adults today that have risen out of poverty, gone on to college, and made a better life for themselves –  a legacy we should all want leave behind.

sis left this world way too early yet was able to do what may take others many lifetimes to accomplish. she spent her spare time doing things like volunteering for habitats for humanity and helping the poor and underprivileged throughout the world in many ways. it’s hard to believe it’s been seven years without her yet good to know her legacy will live forever.

Dad's Grad4

thanks for all you’ve done here, sis – and a big shout out of gratitude to all the people who helped her along the way.


The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
 ~ Mahatma Gandhi 



extra extraordinary

to most people, these may look like ordinary playing cards.

but they’re not  . . . 


and these things, they may not appear to be extraordinary either.  but they are.

all of these things are my treasures.  the cards belonged to my grandmother and she used them weekly for her bridge games.  she loved bridge.  she also loved to knit and sew.  the scissors were in her sewing kit.  you may be wondering about the white plastic item . . .  


it was gram’s rain bonnet!  

she always kept an emergency rain bonnet in her bag along with her wallet and a handkerchief.  although i don’t ever recall gram wearing perfume, her purse always  had a very distinct fragrance from the perfume she would dab onto the handkerchief inside her bag.  i loved that smell.  when gram died, i saved all of her purses and her wallet as well.  

i stored all of her purses inside of a suitcase that i would open on occasion just to smell the fragrance that reminded me of gram.  one day the fragrance was gone and  i was heartbroken.   but, as luck would have it, on the same day the fragrance disappeared, i was going through some of the things i had saved from her house and i found a fancy glass bottle.  it was wrapped up in newspaper, inside a box labeled “gram”.  i opened the bottle and smelled the inside. it was the fragrance she used on the hankies!  i only open it sparingly – maybe once a year or so.

in my treasure chest is this card which gram received from my grandfather exactly 78 years ago today on her 29th birthday.   september 29th, 1934.

on september 29th in 1905, the world became a better place.  i think of you & miss you every single day, gram – happy birthday.  i love you!

“glory be”

that was one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings.   if you told her something outrageous or surprising her response would be “glory be”  or,  “oh my land”.  “for heaven’s sake” was another common phrase she used.  i loved when she said those things and i miss hearing her voice.


happy birthday, gram –  i love you!
today gram would have been 105.    glory be . . .


“Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul”
 –  William Hazlitt

september 20


grateful for your work on earth, the lives you touched and the many people you helped along the way.  happy birthday sis.


“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ”
 – Christopher Robin to Pooh