view the current newsletter in full, click here.
A Word from Woody. . .
"Interview with Jean Frymire on Christmas and Life "
Frymire is a cherished part of our church whose membership goes back
to the early 1950s. You may know her from sitting near her in church
worship, or attending Sunday School with her. This year she has
moved to The Atrium Assisted Living in Metairie, but will still be
attending church when she can. Recently I was able to find out a
little more about her fascinating life.
Lake Vista Lighthouse: Where were you born and raised?
Jean Frymire: I was born in Peking, China [where her father taught].
We moved to New Orleans when I was three years old. We moved uptown
in the university section—on Octavia, one street off of Willow St.
LVL: What church did you attend?
JF: I went to St. Charles Ave. Presbyterian.
I grew up in that church.
LVL: How did you become Methodist?
JF: My husband Kermit had gone to Napoleon Ave. UMC and we went
there a little until we moved to Lakeview. Then we visited both the
Presbyterian and Methodist churches on Canal Blvd. A friend of his
from Napoleon Ave. UMC said they were opening up Lake Vista UMC—it
was just meeting in the community center at the time. My first child
Karen was born and I needed to stay at home with her. So I didn’t go
to church until she was old enough. We liked Lake Vista UMC and
decided to stay. When I was able to start attending here they had
church services in the Dorsey Bldg.
LVL: What were your parents like?
JF: I was an only child. My mother was very mothering. She had three
sisters, and my father was a little on the austere side, very “professorish”.
His students were all a little in awe of him. He taught at Tulane’s
medical school—in the area of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine.
He got his Ph.D. in Parasitology, but he expanded his
research to all tropical diseases.
LVL: What were Christmases like when you were growing up?
JF: We often had relatives down from Illinois [from where her
mother’s relatives were; her father was from Missouri] and they were
quiet, so we had quiet Christmases. One thing I remember was I was
taught not to believe in Santa Claus—all my presents were to be
understood to be from my family. My parents didn’t believe in
telling me about Santa Claus—though all my friends believed in Santa
Claus, and I had to keep my mouth shut.
We weren’t allowed to open presents until after breakfast.
However, I had one present I could open before breakfast, and it was
always a book. Once when I was in elementary school I got the book
Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible.
LVL: How did you and your husband Kermit celebrate Christmas with
JF: It could be difficult. My parents wanted to have breakfast
together for about 8:00 and open presents around 9:00-9:30, and then
eat a big lunch about 2:00. Kermit’s parents, on the other hand,
wanted to go out and eat between 12:00-3:00 at New Orleans Country
Club at a party hosted by a couple from the Lake Vista neighborhood.
LVL: So how did you resolve this?
JF: We went over to my mother’s dinner about 3:30 and we weren’t
hungry—and she was upset because we weren’t hungry! Eventually the
couple that hosted the party at the Club got older and no longer had
LVL: What are some things for which you are thankful?
I think back to all the trips Kermit [who passed away in 1990] and I
made from 1980-1990. I think back to them in my mind when I can’t
sleep at night, and that puts me to sleep. We had a happy marriage,
but we had a difficult time at first. When we got married Kermit was
in law practice with his father, and his father had been ill for
three years before he died, and this was a time when there was no
health insurance for attorneys and his bills got high. When Kermit
took over, he had all the work but no real money coming in because
he had to pay his father’s bills. I’m thankful when Bob Kennon got
to be Governor of Louisiana [1952-1956] that Kermit became the
lawyer for Charity Hospital, and that helped us a lot—it was then
that we could purchase the land for our house in Lakeshore East.
Thank you Jean for sharing with us about Christmas and your very
interesting life. Lake Vista UMC is thankful for you and your
beloved husband Kermit— the gift of both of you still blesses this
church family today!
Yours in the Lord of Life,