Compiled by Dayna Gooch Jacobs during Francene’s Lifetime
29 Nov 1925 – Born at home in Mesa, Arizona. Delivered by Dr. B.B. Moore, who later became governor.
1931 – Began school: Lincoln (1-2), Irving (3-5), Franklin (6-8)
Fall 1940 through Spring 1941 – Freshman year: 2 weeks at Mesa High. 2 ½ months at Lawton, Oklahoma (dad stationed at Ft. Sill). 3 months at a combination of Ft. Benning, Georgia and Columbus, Georgia. Doctors decided to treat Francene’s curved spine with a body brace, to be worn during the day. It was very heavy and awkward and was like a metal corset. Remainder of year at Abilene, Texas (Dad stationed at camp Berkeley). The body brace was still being worn in Abilene, and when doctors decided to check her spine for progress they discovered a lesion on the 5th lumbar vertebrae. They thought it might be malignant, but it turned out to be a chip of some kind. They prescribed a body cast, which was worn for ten weeks. It weighed 30 pounds.
7 Dec 1941 – In Abilene when Pearl Harbor was hit. Dad shipped out that night. Didn’t know where he went. Francene was playing the organ at a church service when Pearl Harbor was hit.
All of the base medical personnel had been shipped off, so when it was time to be cut out of the cast, they had to drive to San Antonio. Then the body brace had to be worn again. During this time, Dwayne had contracted Rheumatic Fever. He was a junior at the time. He ended up getting his high school diploma from a hospital bed.
Dad had been sent to Panama. He was too old for combat and was made commander of Ft. Clayton – Pacific side. 45th Division.
Summer 1942 – Back to Mesa for junior year.
Christmas 1942 – Went to Safford to visit friend whose father was in 45th. Her name was Joyce Pursley and she was going with Earl.
1944 – Graduated from Mesa High. Joyce joined the WAVES. Francene went to University of Arizona. Freshman year lived at home. Her mother rented a house in Tucson because Dwayne was also going to school there.
Aug. 1945 – Went on a troop ship to Panama with family and other dependents. Had to wear Mae West vests all the time and have blackouts at night because a Japanese sub was on the loose. The war ended while en route. Francene got so seasick she lost 12 pounds in 11 days. Landed in Panama on 18 Aug 1945, on her mom’s birthday. Spent her sophomore year at Ft. Clayton in grand style, since she was the daughter of the Post Commander. Had lots of dates and a chauffeured staff car. Lived in the town of Balboa, Panama Canal Zone. Attended the junior college one semester.
Jan 1946 – Dad transferred back. Came back through the Caribbean. The day before coming back, Francene had an impacted wisdom tooth taken out. Threw up for three days. Landed in New Orleans.
Jan 1946 – Back at the U of A. Lived in Gila Hall on campus. Earl home on leave to Safford. Drove a girl back to U of A and saw Dwayne. Left a note in Francene’s box at Gila Hall. Got together, and that was the start of the romance.
Summer 1946 – Worked at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon playing the organ.
Fall 1946 – Junior. Joined Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Lived in the sorority house.
Summer 1947 – Senior.
Spring 1948 – Graduated with distinction in Fine Arts. Lived in Phoenix at parents’ home. Worked in Firestone store selling tires and toys. Was the top salesperson!
Summer 1948 – Truman ran for president. Harold Patton ran for House of Representatives from Arizona. Aunt Dorothy worked on his campaign. Patton wanted to hire a receptionist (if he won) who was from a well-known Arizona pioneer family, was a college grad, and was a people person. France was interviewed and promised the job if Patton won. He did win.
Christmas break 1948 – Traveled by train to Washington, D.C. Shared an apartment with Della Skousen. There were five girls in the apartment. Arriving in Washington, she was knocked unconscious when a sleeping compartment fell on her head.
Went to Truman’s inauguration. Worked as a receptionist and handled Patton’s personal mail.
Aug 1949 – Job ended. Had been having trouble with feet the whole time. Discovered she had rheumatoid arthritis. Hands and knees started to swell. Bedfast for a year. Had blood transfusions, braces on feet, and crutches.
Vern Fedderman wanted to marry her, but she wasn’t so sure.
Jan 1950 – Earl, living in California and engaged to Gloria ______, visited Phoenix. Earl and Francene had not really spent time together before. They had only corresponded and seen each other now and then for seven or eight years. They decided to spend some time together on this visit. Soon after, Earl broke up with Gloria.
Easter 1950 – Got engaged to Earl.
12 Aug 1950 – Got married. Francene still had arthritis. Had to wear ugly orthopedic sandals with wedding dress. Worked for Sunset magazine in the advertising department on Wilshire Blvd. Managed an apartment complex. Arthritis mysteriously eased up in December 1950. It turned out Francene was pregnant, and the hormones had cleared up the arthritis. Had kidney stone attacks with Leslee’s pregnancy, off and on until Stacey was two (about five years in all). Had kidney surgery.