Covid-19 has only hit one member of my family, a cousin who lives in the Midwest. He is finally, blessedly, on the mend after being hospitalized and in the ICU for many weeks. At the Spring equinox, I get my first vaccine jab, and the second appointment is already set. I am grateful for all this and for my continued good health as a woman who has been eligible for grocery store senior discount day for nearly a decade.
This post is a shout-out to another of my Illinois first cousins, Kym Frankovelgia. A cabaret singer in the style of Streisand, Kym has spent much of her recent career working at elder communities. During the pandemic shutdown, she offered to create virtual mini-concerts for families who could not visit their loved ones in quarantine. I dare you not to get a lump in your throat listening to a daughter’s misty-eyed introduction to the birthday gift of “happy songs” performed by Kym.
In mid-March, Kym had her first in-person gig in a year, singing at Belmont Village Senior Living. There was one way that this appearance differed from the past. In addition to the pizazz, joy and affection that Kym always bestows upon her audiences, she brought along her canine-rescue sidekick, Roxy, to boost the star power.
Kym travelled by car from Illinois to Utah to pick up her “Roxy Star”— a five-year-old Cockerpoo—who had some health issues but whose profile, like the perfect date, checked off all the boxes. That was in December 2020; they have been a duo ever since.
PHOTOS: In the midst of a spell of sub-zero weather, and with the advice and consent of a vet and hip dog groomers, Kym did a bit of color and styling for herself and Roxy.
I remember when Kym, now 66, performed with her sisters in family talent shows before she was even in school. Her mother, my dear Auntie Ange, had been a dancer and teacher who infused wit and big fun into everything she did. Kym inherited her mom’s talent, and more, developed those childhood entertainments into a successful singing career.
Although her website describes her as an “internationally unknown recording artist,” Kym has five professional albums and a history that includes working in night clubs and on cruise ships with the likes of The Ink Spots, The Four Lads, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Glen Miller Band, and many years’ worth of performing at private and public events. She typically does 500 gigs per year!
And while I am bragging on my family… What I have found the most inspiring and useful of Kym’s pandemic ventures is her Uncensored Food website and YouTube channel.What else was an Italian woman from a big family to do “when the music got taken away”?
I think her kitchen bits rival those of the Italian Grandma. I adore Kym’s casual sense of humor and spontaneous salty language when things go a bit amiss. And her cooking attire is a bit flashier than grandma’s, with nary an apron worn. Recipes for “Marry Me Chicken”and “Crispy Brown Butter Pasta” are her YouTube’s latest.
Please enjoy these photos, Kym’s music, and video recipes. Get the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible and keep wearing your mask as an act of love. If everyone does their part, we will soon be together again, eating yummy food, hearing great music, and maybe even spreading good vibes in the company of a fashionable doggie.
Star power indeed, but with compassion and humility.
I am blown away my dear cousin! Imagine my delight waking up this morning and finding your work on my desktop. Life is so much fun when you’re surrounded by the love of a tremendous family and a super cool rescue dog with red hair. Thank you Jennie for your kind words and your support. Time to get back to work. The music is waiting.
You are clearly related!
66! Gimme some of that juice…
My genes are too tight!