He spun his own yarn and could tell a good one, too…

Chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms are diseases in which the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells, platelets, or certain white blood cells. Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of cancers in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature or become healthy blood cells.

This was the bugger that ended Ed’s life.

We hoped for a break-through in stem cell research for about five years (it seems it may have been longer) but there was ongoing debate about whether stem cell research should be done at the time.

Buz achieved merit badges by the bunches-and never stopped pickin’ up honors and medals during his life.

Ed-who we called Buz- was third in the Nationals while wrestling as Captain of the Harvard team.

He was my captain as well. He gave me strength, courage, and cut a swath via his Mineola High School achievements wide enough for me to draft through.

No one ever had a better big brother—positive.

The song, The circle Game, runs through my head as I write this, and the fact that Buz never got to play out an old age end game. I’d loved to have seen that.

This is dad holding Ed….My mom always said Ed’s lips ran all over his face as a new born—

This is an impossibly great shot of his wife, Chris Franquemont, holding a picture and Ed’s hat while they were in Peru…that went on for 10ish or so years.

Ed and Chris loved Peru, primarily they worked in the area of Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, once capital of the Inca Empire. This is my recollection, and I believe they each spoke and understood the Quechuan language along with a few variant dialects.*

Thing is, I could go on writing about Ed’s accomplishments, a man mentioned in passing within the Smithsonian magazine but, really, a friend who knew him asked about Ed’s passing, and it occurred to me that others may want to know.

He lived via blood transfusion quite well for years after diagnosis hoping for a medical break through in stem cell research, and then for more years with discomfort and weakening condition. I spoke with him weekly-it was as though we were wrestling the same match, planning our strategy each month. The question was when to have the operation where 50% died on the table but a few lived well for about 5 to ten years after…..109-2

We had hope.

We decided to not take the gamble unless, until, it was absolutely necessary. That time came.

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We had so many wonderful  sunup’s and sunsets. We wanted more.

Finally, a perfect transplant match for Ed was found near the region of Stuttgart, Germany.  Oddly, we have since learned that this is exactly the region where all the first Von Franquemont and Franquemont ancestry lived! It was soon to be Ed’s 57 birthday, and the day his operation was scheduled in the Chicago Mayo hospital. I went to see him the previous week, and the doc said Ed should go home for weekend to celebrate his birthday since he might die on the table during the upcoming operation.
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It all made sense.
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We all hoped he’d make it.

Chris and Buz left the New Heaven Hospital that Friday and headed to their nearby home via car. Of course, Chris was driving.  A driver ran a stop sign and hit their car on Ed’s passenger side.

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Mom, then almost ninety, took the news hard, we all did. It’s the only time I ever heard her question God.

Ed had no clotting abilities by the time of the accident. Once he returned to the hospital and was deemed not fit for a transplant due to  his serious condition after the accident, Ed elected not get any more transfusions. He called and gave me the news. I flew back up immediately, calling my job during an over lay in Atlanta to notify work I wouldn’t be showing up that day. It was an odd flight. We cleared the North shore of Long Island as we approached New Heaven and below was the north shore ocean beach cliffs Buz and I had spent many hours rolling, sliding and falling down as kids. To see them again wrench my gut and put my mind in a daze. I remember mumbling, “Wow; Wow; it’s them…” imgp6356-cropped-small

Next thing I knew a flight attendant was asking me if I was alright. I’d so many answers to give. “Yes. I’m alright.” It was easier to lie.

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I couldn’t face the moment.

Buz had come to his last day. He was a great fan of my music, always encouraging me on— I sang one of his favorite songs the afternoon before he died … “There are places I’ll remember, some have gone and some have changed….” In my Life, by the Beatles…The Beatles – In my Life – YouTube

Somehow, I was lucky enough to spend his last night together with him, just the two of us, sleeping  in the same room as we had throughout our childhood days until he’d left for college.

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Buz never let me down.

We spent hours talking about old memories of our childhood days, countless wiffle balls games,  pickin’ apples for dad in our backyard, scouts, our dog,  Socks, football contests with Bill and Pete Einhorn, and stink bomb disasters in our home’s basement. He told me his two biggest regrets were not having life insurance and not visiting our Lake Bonaparte camp more often.199-2
From our porch at Lake Bonaparte.

Ed gulped for air most of the  night. By four AM I told him I had to sleep, and when I awoke at 6ish he was unconscious. We never spoke again. I whispered in his ear to stay alive until we reached the funeral place. This was important as his death would be free if he was admitted alive–I don’t remember the whys of that, but he died one minute after entering building.

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Buz came as a child and left a great man.

I got to hug Ed’s body in a private place before they took him for cremation. His muscles were sound, his face at rest. Tears, water droplets, came from the corners of both his eyes—they say this is a normal function of dying. Of course, I wailed; still do.

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I thought Ed would be here now-

Buz had a libation service by the ocean behind the building where he’d died.  The day, one like so many, would never be like any other.  Breezy, cloudy, or was the sky clear and the sun bright, I’m the eye-witness who could not tell.  The man giving the service seemed to have a sense of how great Ed was. The water poured to the ground, never long enough, as the waves came to shore forever.

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Time went so fast.(Ed’s on the lower left.)

That night I was alone in my hotel room and heard music playing over head.  The song, In My Life,  the one I’d sung for Ed the day before, and many more Beatles songs played for hours-piped right into my room! I thought it so odd for a hotel to do this! How could they know? The next morning while talking to relatives who stayed in the same hotel I heard there was no music—they all agreed.  I’d hallucinated the tunes, I guess, though forever I’ll believe Buz was there playing the music for me.

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Buz had my back.

I loved Ed–a brother of brothers and adviser to so many.

Ed Franquemont, hosted the Nova special, Secrets of the Lost Empires: The Incas.  (found it here-you don’t have to subscribe; Ed comes on about 2 minutes in- ….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P00JR9b-PhE

My heart is broken as so many others over the loss of this great man.

Now,  you know.
Paulette, thanks for asking.
Franque23.

*For much more on Ed Franquemont, what it was like to know him and of his accomplishments, see Abby Franquemont’s Face Book page.  She has some great writings on Ed and his wife, Chris. Thanks for those, Abby.

Some are gone or changed forever.(Ed; Sharon, our sister; Me.)

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