The Devine Miss “Ev”

Written Aug 27, 2012 11:48am

Sunday, August 26th, was a very special day in the life of Evelyn Grace Fretz.  She was baptized, bathed in the love of God and family.  As very aptly put by the Pastor, “Baptism is an outward symbol of the inward grace of God”.  I was most happy to get the phone call several weeks ago from Jared, stating that they were pinning down a date for Evi’s baptism. I remember thinking how joyful Jay must be to have this dialogue taking place.

Christian, Audrey (my sister) and I made the trek to Pittsburgh for this wonderful occassion.  It had been about 1 1/2 months since I’ve seen/held Evi and I was excited to be with her, Jared and Kelly!  I was totally prepared to give Evi any necessary time to get accustomed to me because at 4+ months, she may be getting particular about who gets to hold her.  Much to my wonderment, she immediately came into my outstretched arms and nestled in like we hadn’t missed a beat.  She is such a love, she is definitely LOVE!!!  I “got” to sway with her, feed her, ease her into a nap and tuck her in for the night.  It did my heart so much good to be needed, to feel as though I had a purpose.  (Blog on that to follow!)

Evi is a twin to Jared’s baby pictures.  And Jared’s resemblance of Jay is uncanny. Genes certainly are a peculiar thing!  She is in the 99% in height and 60% in weight.  Her legs and arms seem to go on forever.  Evi has the most lovely hands with long, slender fingers that along with my long, slender fingers,  she and I intertwined and explored for several minutes during the service.  Perhaps the racy red nail polish held her interest but it was a beautiful thing.  It was the best hand holding I’ve had in a log time.  I wish I had a picture of that as I love hands. (Yet another blog in the future!)  So, I’m thinking, who needs toys!

Before the service began, I held Evi and in the midst of God’s house, I suddenly became overcome with emotion. (I’m sure that’s not a surprising fact!)  I knew that Jay was with us but I wanted a sign.  I wanted to feel his spirit wrapped around me and Evi like I have felt his warmth cross my shoulders in the past.  But, unfortunately, I don’t get to demand signs from the heavens.  It just doesn’t work that way.  I just have to be receptive and grateful for when they come.  Jared picked up on my need for a hug and we embraced with unspoken understanding.

Little Miss Evi was a perfect angel.  The Pastor took her in his arms and as he baptized her with water she did not make a peep.  She wore a beautiful white dress embellished with tulle ruffles throughout the skirt compliments of Tia Maya & Uncle Christian.  Not many of us remember their baptism, however, Jay did.  As an infant he was dedicated at an Assembly of God church but at the age of 23 he was baptized with Christian.

Personality wise, Evi is delightful and very happy.  She smiles a lot and is quite content.  She exudes charm even at such an early age and her face is very expressive.  Evi likes to grab at things like jewelry, clothes and sometimes hair.

Jared and Kelly are terrific parents, sharing equally in those duties. I am so proud of them and elated for the life and love they possess!  Life is good for them.

I can’t wait to see them again in about a month!!!  Here’s to the little things that make life special!

Love, Wanda

Music and Dancing in the Streets!

Written Aug 17, 2012 2:38pm

Music has always had the utmost significance to me, Jay and our boys.  I have the distinguished honor of having had a song composed for me by Jay entitled “Wanda’s Song”. It is an instrumental and so the words remain unwritten.  At one point, Jared suggested that I give it some lyrics and I have considered it.  However, the title would need to be changed as it would be Jay’s and my song. I must say, it is one of my greatest treasures! As a guitarist, mostly self taught, Jay played out in coffee houses during college with a friend, Nick, who I have never met.

During the college years, Jay had very little extra money (in fact probably safe to say “none”), so he decided we should send audio cassette tapes back and forth as talking on the phone long distance would be expensive.  In going through some items, I rediscovered those tapes.  Yet another one of my greatest treasures!  So, on our wedding anniversary of December 16th, I had a date with my beloved& listened to his voice from so long ago, so young.  When both Jared and Christian asked me what I did that day, I told them I had a date with their father.  The dead silence on the other end of the phone indicated that they probably thought I’d finally lost it!

Anyway, there are three sections of those tapes that stand out and touch me to the core.  One is that he beautifully professes his love and desire for me.  The second is that he has no money and he needs to figure out a way to make money to give me a wonderful life that he feels I deserve.  (Thank you sweetheart, you did an amazing job!)  And the third is a jam session with Nick of “Wanda’s Song”. I also have my song on a CD that Jay & Jared recorded for a Christmas gift to me in 2008.

Jay was never big on dancing in the beginning of our lives together, although a few drinks could be the catalyst to get him moving.  However, as time passed, he became more comfortable in that arena.  I will always remember being at an office Christmas party and it was Jay’s idea to get me out on the dance floor.  The song was “All I Want” by Toad the Wet Sprocket and it will always be in my heart.  Key phrases are “All I want is to feel this way, to be this close, to feel the same, allI want is to feel this way, the evening speaks, I feel it say…”

During Jay’s stay in ICU, my sacred song was “Have a Little Faith in Me” by John Hiatt.  The whole song says it all and it is beautiful but the beginning goes like this:

When the road gets dark, And you can no longer see Just let my love throw a spark, And have a little faith in me And when the tears you cry, Are all you can believe Just give these loving arms a try, And have a little faith in me

After Jay was out of ICU but still in the hospital, I would hear “Windows Are Rolled Down” by Amos Lee as I drove to and from the hospital.  Lyrics that hit me hard are:

Windows are rolled down, sun is setting high

Windows are rolled down, I’m fixing to die.

Windows are rolled down, moon is hanging low

Windows are rolled down, Think it’s time for me to go

The day that Jay passed, I was surrounded by some family and friends.  I had music television on and found my new anthem after hearing “Fill Me Up” by Shawn Colvin.  So this was my plea to Jay & God to give me strength to survive this!  When I think of home, it is synonymous with Jay.

Fill me up, fill me up, I’m a long way from home and I don’t have a lot to say

Fill me up, fill me up, cause you’re all that I’ve got and I’ve traveled a long, long way

Cheer me up, cheer me up, cause I’m all alone and I’m taking it day by day

Cheer me up, cheer me up, cause you’re all that I’ve got and I’ve traveled a long, long way

And I know where you live, I know who you are, so don’t get too close, & don’t go too far

Don’t get too close, and promise me that you’ll never go too far, never go too far

Below are snippets of several songs that provide inspiration for me.

“Someday” by Rob Thomas

You can go, you can start all over again

You could try to find a way to make another day go by

You can hide, hold all your feelings inside

You could try to carry on when all you wanna do is cry

And maybe someday we’ll figure all this out.

Try to put an end to all our doubt

And try to find a way to make things better now that

Maybe someday we’ll live our lives out loud

We’ll be better off somehow, someday
“One Day You Will” by Lady Antebellum

You feel like you’re falling backwards. Like you’re slippin’ through the cracks

Like no one would even notice If you left this town and never came back You walk outside and all you see is rain. You look inside and all you feel is pain

And you can’t see it now. But down the road the sun is shining

In every cloud there’s a silver lining, Just keep holding on(Just keep holding on)

Finally my playlist concludes with “Guardian”.  I have had many troublesome days but one day was unbelievably difficult ~ I was the most distraught I have ever been.  I went to bed but awoke in the middle of the night with panic and distress.  I decided to turn on the TV and when I turned to the music channel, I heard “All I Want”followed by “Guardian”.  I don’t think the sign could have been any clearer.  So Jay continues to be my guardian and I think I am a full time job for him!

“Guardian” by Alanis Morissette

I’ll be your keeper for life as your guardian

I’ll be your warrior of care your first warden

I’ll be your angel on call, I’ll be on demand

The greatest honor of all, as your guardian.

Music helps me get through the day, through the deafening quiet.  I had the opportunity to make it to Musikfest 5 times and quite frankly, I am currently going through withdrawal!!!  It was an absolute blast and I was blessed with two very special occasions.  Thanks Jan & Greg for treating me to the Huey Lewis/Joe Cocker concert and Kay & Don for treating me to the Goo Goo Dolls concert! Both were awesome!  The wide variety of other artists to choose from was a huge bonus.  I stayed in the South Side where the Steel Stacks are located and parts of the street were blocked off.  So yes, I was “dancing in the streets” with and without a partner! I have found it very therapeutic and a great form of exercise. Over the last several months, I am getting out dancing almost every Friday evening with Linda & Judy, who I refer to as the dancing queens!

Last night, a friend hosted a fundraiser for the Levitt Pavilion.  Great job, Victor, thanks for including me.  It was terrific to see so many people I haven’t seen in a long time and to enjoy the Doo Wop Project.  I had the pleasure of a very special dance with James.  He is a beautiful 6 month old and his delightful parents left me a steal a dance with him.  It was a win for me and win for them.  In the midst of our dance I told them that I have a gorgeous 4 month old granddaughter, just lost my husband in September and this is the best dance I’ve had in a long time!  It did all of our hearts good!  Those experiences are just a small token of what we all need to celebrate in our lives.

Music evokes so much emotion.  I can be crying or rejoicing through song at any given moment but I vow to continue to dance through it all.  I know that’s what Jay would want and expect from me!


I had a perfect evening yesterday filled with good conversation, good wine and just enough food to sustain but not put me in guilt-by-something-fried mode. I was sure I couldn’t eat another restaurant meal but there I was…in a restaurant.

I was with a dear friend who I could sit and talk with for hours, and we did, about everything under the sun.  I love that kind of evening.  An evening that picks up right where it left off as if not a minute had passed.

I am so grateful for those kinds of things, not expensive, not extravagant, not over the top, but filled with details that spark ah ha moments and laughter and ease.  At one point we were talking real life moments and I said something about needing a phrase.  I’m thinking one to stop the dominos from falling and returning the momentum to an unquestionable pace that suits me. It was a passing second but it stuck in my head.  Needing a phrase….

We both believe in momentum, both good and bad, and we both get concerned when momentum picks up speed and can’t be controlled, how does one kick out a few dominos to stop it but then allow it to resume on a clear and constructive level? Deep, I know, but thankfully we have each other to banter these things about.

On the way home, top down because the night had turned glorious, I was thinking it’s truly about the tiny little elements of a day that does it for me; putting the top down, walking in the door and watching the girls come groggily around the corner from the hallway to greet me then taking off back and forth down the length of the apartment.  But what to call it?  How to express it?  It’s gratitude but bigger.

I sleep on it, quite soundly after sharing a bottle of wine and emptying my head of all things burdensome and in the morning there is a text.  My friend received a wonderful piece of mail upon returning home and concluded: “Life is so rich.”

I know like I know.

Ironing and Folding

On those rare occasions when I actually sit with my colleagues for lunch I’m always amazed at where the conversation goes.  I guess I shouldn’t be because when you sit together 5 or 6 hungry, intelligent and funny women then the most mundane subjects can take on a comical life of their own.

Take ironing.  I don’t iron, like ever.  My summer sister Kyle is an accomplished seamstress, costume designer/maker and with that comes ironing.  She’s a master.  She once remarked that I, am, one of the best people she has ever seen iron a wrinkle IN…not out.  You see where this is going.  (She also thinks I’m the only one who can incorrectly roll up my sleeves…it’s why I have her.)

My niece Kate visited a while back and asked where my iron was…..nope didn’t have one.  Ok I went and got one, a travel iron, which I can assure you, will never find its way into any of my luggage going anywhere.  So with that little travel iron I bought a folding ironing board, which I’m told by someone who attempted to use it, isn’t worth diddly. Shocking.  My idea of an ironing board is a towel thrown over the top of the washer and dryer.  And apparently some of the women at lunch agreed.  Just sayin.

Why would I iron when I have a dry cleaner?  For a tiny little bit of money they will launder your cotton shirts (light starch) and press them to within an inch of their lives. Steam the hell out of anything else that you can think of including dresses and pants with the most beautiful knife sharp creases.  For every other thing I own, I am perfect fine being poised at the dryer when the buzzer sounds to whisk everything out and into folded bliss.

Now folding I am great at.  I recently spent time at my friend Sandra’s while she was laid up with her two broken legs.  She was in organization mode (from her wheelchair mind you) and the linen closet, which was upstairs in her then very big house, was annoying her.  Ok, let’s take a look.  Big mistake.  Flat sheets here, fitted sheets there, pillow cases somewhere else.  Really?  That sent me a folding.  Flat sheet first, before you fold it over the last time… the folded matching pillow cases and the folded fitted sheet inside to make a wonderful bed in a packet. By the way, lessons on how to fold a fitted sheet to within an inch of its life; free for the asking.   Why the hell would sheets and pillowcases be in different places…these are the things that make me crazy.  PS my colleagues will now be folding their sheets MY WAY. I do what I can to save the women I know from the lunacy that is disorganization.

Finally, to those few people left who actually still iron their sheets…God bless you.  For the life of me I will never understand that.  Buy yourself some fabulous, wrinkle resistant, high thread count linens and be done with it. 

Or you might just hang them on the line (line? what line?) for that wind whipped crisp feeling from the old days.  I know like I know that feeling and that smell is like heaven and long gone never to be replaced by any fabric softener sheet, ever. Too bad.

Our Lady of the Stink Eye

So in her most endearing running ten steps forward and two steps back way, my friend Marianne finally came across the post on my blessed funny women.  You remember the one where I begged her to let me publish the now famous Our Lady of the Stink Eye Story that saves my life every once in a while, the one that makes me laugh more than anything else.  Following permission granted in her own words:

Just found this in my email. Thanks a mil – you are a doll and right back atcha baby. Publish away. I have a league of souls released from Purgatory on my side.  All Souls Day in grammar school – three Our Fathers, three Hail Marys, and Three Glory Bes, another soldier working tirelessly to save my soul.

I knew from a very early age I would need all the help I could get.

Much love,


The story of Our Lady is legend.

It was around 5th grade, I think, after school, about 5 of us were playing around the Our Lady of Fatima/Lourdes Grotto. (The one with the 3 kids) Anyway, Our Blessed Mother was raised on a Grotto about 8 feet high with a fountain in front and the kneeling kids. Behind her statue was a wall we used to run up and down and jump off. We were playing tag one day and I was chasing someone up the wall when I lost my balance and reached out to Mary to steady myself (and really now, isn’t that what we’ve always been taught to do?) Well Mary must have been tipping a few that day, wasn’t all that steady herself and toppled head first into the fountain breaking her head right off her neck.

We all stood frozen for about 5 seconds – just long enough for me to threaten a slow and painful death to a squealer and then we beat feet home like our butts were on fire.

The whole next week there was a full-blown investigation, threats of excommunication, damnation, you name it. A few times, when I would see one of my posse start to sweat or weaken, I’d deliver the “stink eye” and they would keep their mouths shut for another day.  To this day, no one ever found out who decapitated Mary.

BTW, I made my Communion, Confirmation and was married at that church.  I’ve always checked to see if the head is still glued on or if they sprung for a new statue. The head is still glued on.

Also, one of my first lessons in the strength of a powerful female.

Yours in Christ (and His Mother),