Mattie Miracle 8th Annual Walk & Family Festival was an $88,000 Success!!!

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

Random Shots of Mattie, Family and Friends

August 12, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007, in front of one of the tar pits at the La Brea Tar Pits Museum in Los Angeles. Mattie loved going to that Museum and hearing about the history of the tar pits and learning about all the prehistoric animals whose bones were found in these pits. As you can see in this picture, Mattie was trying to cover his nose because the smell of tar was overwhelming!  

Fact about Southampton: Southampton is noted for its association with the RMS Titanic, the Spitfire (a single seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Airforce) and more recently a number of the largest cruise ships in the world.

We had a very full day in Southampton today. The weather was rainy and cool in the morning, but by mid-day it was in the 70s and lovely. Before we began our journey, Peter took a picture of my parents and I in front of our hotel. The hotel overlooks the River Test and one can easily see cruise and cargo ships that enter into the harbor each day!
We literally walked five miles today around Southampton. During Medieval times, most of Southampton was surrounded by stone walls to protect itself from France. Now only remnants of these great structures remain. This portion of the wall in this photo is called Arundel Tower.
We visited the  SeaCity Museum ( and saw two Titanic exhibits. My lifetime friend, Karen, joked with me, because she said only I would want to see a Titanic exhibit and then board a cruise ship the next day. She could be right, but my fascination with the Titanic supersedes fear, and since Southampton was the Titanic's port town, there is no way I could pass up this opportunity to learn more about this historical tragedy. A tragedy that highlights human error, driven by greed and fame (ie, wanting to make record speed on the transatlantic crossing rather than valuing passenger safety).   

The museum's exhibits did not disappoint. At one point, you enter the Museum, and on the floor is a huge map of Southampton. Picture an entire room in which you are walking on a map, so you can see streets, waterways, and details. However, in addition to this, there were also BIG red dots on the map. The dots were everywhere. What the dots signified were Southampton homes that lost a loved one on the Titanic. I learned today that three fourths of the Titanic's crew were from Southampton, and what the map illustrated immediately was that everyone in Southampton was impacted by the death of a loved one on the Titanic. In fact, when you enter the exhibit, there is a display which has a picture of EVERY crew member (we are talking at least 800 people), the crew member's name, their position on the Ship, and their home town. This display shocks you into the harsh reality of the tragedy, especially when you see how young the crew members were. Some were just teenagers, trying to make a living. Many of the crew members were desperate to find jobs given the coal strike occurring in Southampton at the time. One of the 23 female crew members literally had just lost her husband and had a daughter to support, so she felt she had no other choice but to take a job on the Titanic for example. There are many dire circumstances that led crew members into service on the Titanic.

There were two aspects of the exhibit I appreciated. The first was hearing audio recordings from survivors of the Titanic. It was captivating to recall their memories and how this impacted their lives. Eva Hart, was only 7 years old, when she survived the sinking. She and her mother were placed in a lifeboat, but her father died aboard the Ship. Back then she explained that the tragedy was never discussed in her family, and yet when her mother died many years later, she was forced to deal with the memories of surviving this tragedy. The exhibit also poses a question to its attendees..... Is the wreckage of the Titanic worth exploring and should artifacts be allowed to be taken from the Titanic (for exhibition, or selling purposes)? I have to admit that my first answer was YES. I was thinking about the historical and educational value of this, because I am intrigued to find out as much as possible about the ship and its passengers' amazing ordeal. However, after hearing Eva's opinion on this matter, I felt ashamed. In her perspective, and that of many survivors, exploring the Titanic and bringing up objects are in essence desecrating a grave site, a site in which the remains of 1500 people can be found.  

The second aspect of the Museum that was unique to me, was we were able to hear aspects of the trial that took place a month after the sinking. The trial was set to determine the cause and who was responsible for the huge loss of life. What I learned shocked me. For example, one of the managers of the White Star Line, who was aboard the Titanic, urged the Captain to sail the ship faster to meet a world's record. That I knew, however, what I did not realize was this man knew there weren't enough lifeboats aboard the ship for each passenger. Back then a ship's tonnage determined the number of lifeboats, not the passenger capacity (which makes NO sense). Anycase, the judge asked this manager whether he ever thought about the fact that he approved the ship's design with an inadequate number of lifeboats, and therefore, on the night of the sinking, perhaps he should have given up his space in the lifeboat to a passenger rather than saving himself.  The manager's response was NO! No he never thought about giving up his seat for a passenger, and had no remorse for his action or his poor decisions.

The Museum did not allow photography. The only area we were allowed to photograph was this steamer trunk filled with clothes. This was a typical first class passenger luggage trunk used during Titanic's era. The Museum encouraged you to try on the clothes and hats. So I put on this hat with a yellow bow and Peter snapped a picture.
After the Museum we went on a walking tour of the city to see parts of the Southampton City Wall. In front of this portion of the wall, was a replica of a ship. It might not look it, but the ship was as tall as my neck. So literally I had to jump and climb onto the ship to take this picture. Southampton is a deep water port, and it is evident the importance of shipping to its economy.

As we passed through one of the doorways in the City Wall, it brought us to Blue Anchor Lane, which you see here (between the Tudor house and the iron fence). This Lane was literally used going as far back as the 1500s, to transport cargo from the docks to the town center, called St. Michael's Square.

St. Michael's Church is prominently featured in the Square. This church was built in 1070, and is the only surviving medieval parish church in Southampton. In front of the Church used to be a busy fish market selling freshly caught eels, mackerel, whiting, and oysters.
In St. Michael's Square is this charming Tudor House. The house was built in 1492 by John Dawtrey on the site of earlier medieval properties, the house has also been home to characters such as eminent Tudor lawyer, Lord Lister, artist George Rogers, and Victorian bonnet-maker, Eliza Simmonds. With each century, aspects of the house had been changed, added to, and the house itself was used for different purposes (such as a family dwelling, a dyeworks factory, and a wine export/import business). It was fascinating to hear and see how this house evolved from medieval to Victorian times.

In the 1600's, the house had a typical Tudor Garden. Sometimes known as a cottage garden. A cottage garden typically has pathways and small hedges which form an intricate knot design. The contents of the garden were usually herbs, cone flowers, and other wild flowers. This garden was literally a peaceful haven within a busy city center.

We loved the architecture of the houses we saw today, and Peter snapped a picture of the roof lines. I learned that the sign of wealth was once measured by the number of chimneys one had in one's home. As well as whether one had access to table salt. Some of you may be familiar with the saying "below the salt." Which meant if you couldn't afford salt then you were part of a lower socio-economic class.

The last photo from Tudor House that I wanted to share with you was this food display. The bottom shelf shows how the presentation of food evolved over time. On the far bottom left represents a dinner plate from Tudor times (1600s), the plate was made out of pewter and there were NO forks. You ate with your hands. On the plate was a hen, asparagus, a roll, and a slided orange. The plate in the middle represents the Victorian Times (1800s). At this point, people of wealth were eating off bone china, used forks, and their foods were presented with great art and detail. There were carrots on this plate, so beautifully hand carved, along with a tomato. The last era featured (bottom right) is modern day. It is a joke, but it shows NO plate, but instead a plastic container with NO utensils, and fast food!

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