Franny’s Story of Theft and Contrition

We recently lost a cousin, a truly vivacious and remarkable woman who was so infectiously fun to be around. Cousin Franny always had a smile on her face, and she loved life and her family. Thank G-d it was a sudden, and peaceful passing, but she will be missed by so many. We are all in shock since she was vibrant and vital until she closed her eyes for the last time.

Since my husband and I go to Margate, NJ in the summers, we always made a point to try to see her. Usually, Franny would rent a place in Atlantic City for a month, and we would get to see her at our happy place – at the beach.

Franny was from an older generation than us, and she was actually my husband’s father’s cousin, but she was youthful in her personality, and as I said above, vivacious and fun to be around. We looked forward to seeing her and being with her.

Franny was also a great storyteller and after she told us one story, she and I both said out loud that it would make for a good blog. (She and her older sister Eileen were regular readers of my Hot Flashes blog! That’s how cool she was.) When she passed away, I thought of that story and how dumb it was of me to forget to write that blog so she could see it herself in my writing, and enjoy it.

So, even though Franny can’t read it, in her honor is her story of theft and contrition.

When Franny was a young woman, married to a dentist who was just starting out, she had a young woman friend, a classmate from her school days, who visited her at her home one day. This classmate had been a friend, and a confidante through school years, and she was someone Franny trusted.

On that particular day, Franny’s husband had left a 20 dollar bill for a week’s groceries that they were taking to their beach vacation. Franny explained that money was tight in those days and $20 was a small fortune. It was part of their vacation money and her job was to get enough food to stretch for an entire week at the beach. Franny left the $20 bill in a glass bowl on the dining room table and visited with her friend.

At some point during her friend’s visit, Franny had to go upstairs and get something. She thought she heard a glass ping from upstairs, but at that moment, she didn’t think anything of it.

She came downstairs and continued her visit with her friend, who remains nameless. Finally, they said their farewells and Franny continued packing and doing things for their vacation trip.

When it was time to go food shopping, she went back to the glass bowl, but the $20 bill was not there. She was sure she had left it there, but she thought she might have been mistaken. She then went around her entire house, scouring every nook and cranny, along with rifling through her own purse, round and round, searching fruitlessly for the rest of the day. The $20 could not be located.

Since the money was gone, Franny decided that her friend must have taken it. It was a hurtful and sticky situation, and she did not want to accuse her friend, but that was the only explanation. She could not believe her friend would steal from her.

Reluctantly, she dialed her friend and explained that she had left a 20 dollar bill in the bowl on the dining room table, and it was gone. She asked her friend if she knew anything about it. Her friend feigned ignorance and denied even seeing the bill, let alone taking it.

As Franny processed that day over and over in her mind, she was sad that she lost so much money that was meant for their vacation, but she was even sadder that she had a friend who was obviously and surprisingly a thief. Franny never spoke to that friend again, who she sure stole that money from her even if she never got an admission.

Fast forward many years later. As Franny was preparing to go to her 50th high school reunion, she found a letter in her mailbox one day from her long-lost classmate/friend – the same one who Franny felt sure stole that $20. Inside was a substantial check and a note of apology. The check inside was for far more than the $20 stolen, it was calculated with compounded interest from the many years that went by. The note of apology seemed sincere, and her friend explained that she really needed the money more than Franny way back then.

When we asked Franny what she did next, she said she happily and immediately went to the bank and cashed the check! She also avoided that friend through all of the reunion festivities! She explained that the woman was not someone she would ever think of as a friend again and she had no interest in reuniting with her.

And that my friends, is my way overdue blog of the story Franny told us one day, and it kind of explains the kind of sassy lady she was.

I sure hope I did this story justice. Rest in peace, dear sweet Franny. You will be so missed by all.




  • I think I would have accepted the person’s apology, at least. And probably I would have responded that she should have asked for a loan, if she really were that much in need. But that said, it’s not good to tempt people by leaving them with purses or cash, no matter how close you are to them. I agree that I one probably could not resume a friendship at that point, but at least it called for a response.

  • That was a beautiful story. I met her when I was a kid. Her husband was my dentist. My twin sister and myself were her mother’s helpers for Arthur and Howard. It was really neat….twins watching twins. She was a beautiful person inside and out…..and I will always treasure the wonderful memories of her.
    Eileen Fine-Reeves

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