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Good morning. I have not been here in a while. There is no way I can write up everything that has happened in the last almost 2 years so this will be a high level. If you have kept up with us you know most of it, anyway.

So, it has been a time of change for the Frakers. Today is Thursday, June 17 and nothing is as it was way back when. I don’t know exactly where to start so I’m just going to throw some things out there.

The big news is, we are now Florida residents. After an awful middle school experience for Brooks where his teachers were horrible and the school administration was complicit in their actions, and sometimes inactions, we decided that it would be in Brooks’ best interest to move to Florida so that he could attend the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, located in beautiful, historic Saint Augustine.

Now those that know Melisa and me know that we had always intended to move to the beach when the boys were grown but Brooks’ situation and the desire to hopefully make his life and education better prompted our early relocation. I have to be honest, St. Augustine was never on our list of places to live but now that we are here we can’t imagine why we didn’t look. The place is beautiful with so many things to see and do. Brooks’ school is 15 minutes from the house and anything we could want to do is a short drive away. We have a beach, we have history, we are close to cruise ports and, as Florida residents we have discounts to the theme parks. You know the ones.

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Of course, we spent the past year with this ridiculous “pandemic” that had the world running scared so much of the things, in particular cruises, are shut down. Our cruise from April 2020 was cancelled due to this and now there are no cruises, although they are starting to open up. After a year of going nowhere we were finally able to get to Disney and Universal but everyone had to wear a mask, which is just miserable, and the attendance is limited. You’d think that would mean shorter waits but no, the wait times are much longer than I have ever seen, so go figure.

Luckily, mask requirements are being lifted so our next trip should be much better.

Anyway, back to Brooks. He went through the seventh grade in Georgia. We discovered a lot during that year that would make you angry and cry at the same time. Brooks is a very good boy but all the years of this was affecting him so, here we are.

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He did band again but, after trying it for 1 + years he decided it wasn’t for him. He tried so we are happy. His Scouting career has slowed during the adjustments but he has achieved Life rank and we hope he sees the value in the Eagle, which is next. But honestly, his real passion is computers, and he is really good at it.

During the past year Brooks has developed software that is now listed on the Apple and Google stores. He worked very hard to get it right and it is amazing that a now 14 year old has achieved this. He is so smart and always continues to amaze me. It’s funny, we hear him in his room, and even when we are out, on the phone with folks, walking them through technical issues and acting as his own support center. The things he does took me years to understand but he runs circles around me and is entirely self-taught. If we have a problem with anything technical at home, we ask Brooks and he diagnoses and solves it.

So, Brooks is 14 and, if you can believe it because it seems to have gone so quickly, he has completed middle school and yes, Brooks is now in high school. I cannot believe it has gone so fast.

We measured him a couple of days ago and he comes in at 5 feet, 10+ inches. He’s taller than Melisa and me, of course (I am shrinking) and, in a funny scene, GG is with us and stood next to him and he towered over her. It looked like Joe Biden taking a picture with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.

Griffin, can you believe, just turned 19 and has finished his first year of college? The updates skipped his entire 18th year, meaning Griffin participated in his first election and he is registered for the draft. yay….

He attends Valdosta State University. He decided on VSU because he wanted to be in the marching band and this was a good, medium sized school that offered it. His plan is to study anesthesia and move on to graduate or medical school, depending on the path he chooses.  

He was accepted into Honor’s College and began as a Biology major but switched to Health Sciences as it allowed more freedom and a broader range of studies. We are incredibly proud of him because he finished his first year on the Dean’s List. His VSU GPA is 3.67. That is outstanding and shows that yes Griffin, you are smart.

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His last year of high school was…different. It started good with football and such and he had a great time, as seniors should. Then, when spring arrived this stupid virus from China showed up and ruined it all. His spring band concerts were cancelled and the last few months of the school year were finished on-line. He missed out on all his senior activities. He worked 11 ½ years to get to that point and it was all taken away from him. We were so sad for him. Griffin is usually reserved on his feelings but he finally admitted it bothered him.

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He did graduate with honors, as a member of the Beta and Key Clubs as well as a Georgia Board Scholar, meaning he finished with a GPA higher than 3.5 (he ended with a 3.66667). We are very proud of this. They did get to have a graduation but it was "socially distanced", which is an annoying term, and he could only have 2 guests attend, so only Melisa and I were there in person to cheer him on.Then, of course, college took a turn. Football season was cancelled, which meant no marching during games. We did get to see a show, so that was nice but we hated that he lost his freshman year. His classes were mostly on-line, so we brought him home for spring semester. We saw no reason to pay to stay in his expensive room.We're expecting better this coming year, though. Football is back to normal and we have our season tickets. Brooks is not happy about having to go but we'll try to figure a good trade-off for him.

So, we have right at a full year in Florida. The yard has palm trees and live oak trees, complete with Spanish moss, and St. Augustine grass, which I grew up calling Charleston grass. It's funny that we have the oak trees because, when we planned to originally move to Florida at retirement, Melisa was looking forward to the salt air and being able to breathe properly. When we found the house it didn't strike either of us that we were moving into a community named after oak trees and full of oak trees, which are one of the major things Melisa is allergic to.On the plus side there are no mosquitoes. They spray for them and now Melisa can sit outside without being attacked. Seems the little monsters know how wonderful she is and only care about her so not having them is wonderful. She and I spend hours on the lanai each day.

Oh, cool thing. We can see the launches from Cape Canaveral from our back yard. Melisa stays on top of the launch schedule and we have seen some really good ones. We want to see one in person but if we can't actually be there this is a pretty darned good substitute.Christmas did see the setting on our 12 foot tree as well as a separate 8 foot tree. The outside decorating is a changing thing as we experimented this year. I have always wanted lights in a palm tree like the Corona beer commercial but in trying I realized it is pretty much impossible and that the lights in the commercial are fake. We missed our first Halloween as we were in Valdosta so hopefully the neighborhood kids will give us another go next year.

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GG has visited us as have Grandmother and Papa. We have a guest room but it changed as Griffin decided he wanted to change rooms, meaning decorating twice but both rooms turned out nice. We have refinished much of our old furniture to give it a coastal look and the house has come together nicely. Our plan was to put in a pool this year but while we were trying to figure out housing at VSU the pool plan got put on hold but soon, soon there will be a pool with the screened in room.

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On a very sad note, we recently lost our sweet Baxter. After 16 years he just got tired and we had to say goodbye. He was always a very happy puppy, even towards the end and we are very sad he is not here. 16 years is a really long time and we loved every day with him and will miss him very much.

We left our friends and family behind. I hated leaving them as well as my Troop, my Scouts and friends but I have become involved in Scouts here. It is very different from what I was used to but I guess I'm adjusting. I have not been to my office in over a year and, when things open up I will have to fly to Atlanta each week, which is no fun. Melisa talks or texts with folks and doesn't see her mom as often, which is difficult. Our lives are not the same so yes, we do miss things about Georgia and people but we really do like it here.Overall, we are good and are really loving being here. We've done walks on the beach and have tried a bunch of restaurants. Melisa has started keeping a list of everywhere we have eaten and rates it. She is like our own personal Fodor's.

 

OK, enough. I am current again. I am sure I won't keep it going but today, I feel better and tomorrow is a better day.