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

December 31, 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2003. We were at Griffith Park in Los Angeles and this was Mattie's first pony ride. I remember being worried and I asked Peter to walk beside Mattie and the horse. So you can see an arm in a blue jacket holding Mattie. That of course was Peter. I always tried to think of issues that could arise and to try to cut them off at the pass. What I love about this photo was I caught Mattie's sheer joy and smile over riding a horse. 

Quote of the day: Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us - a time when we can look back on the year that has passed and prepare for the year ahead. ~ David Cameron

We visited the Bonnet House today in Ft. Lauderdale. The house is named "bonnet" after the bonnet lily that grows in the property's slough. It looks like a yellow water lily. 
Peter and I have been on the house's property before but never toured the house and gardens officially. This was a remarkable treat, and I am so glad we did it. The people who work on the property are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, and you feel like you are transported back in time. 

Bonnet House’s modern history began when Hugh Taylor Birch gave the Bonnet House property as a wedding gift to his daughter Helen and her husband, Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett in 1919. Ironically what brought Birch to Ft. Lauderdale in the first place was his chance meeting of Henry Flagler (whose house we toured yesterday) at the Chicago World's Fair. Flagler featured one of his train cars at the fair filled with palm trees, oranges and coconuts. Things that seemed VERY foreign to those in Chicago. Birch was SO INTRIGUED by the train and its contents that he decided to visit Florida for himself. After which he bought up a ton of property in Ft. Lauderdale. 

It took a while to understand the family history of Frederic Bartlett, mainly because he was married THREE times. After 19 years of marriage, his first wife died (they had one child together). It was with his second wife Helen that he began construction of Bonnet House in 1920, eager for a winter retreat where he could pursue his artwork and Helen could compose music and poetry. Tragedy struck in 1925 when Helen died from lung cancer. Frederic’s visits to Bonnet House then became sporadic until 1931 when he married Evelyn Fortune Lilly (who divorced Eli Lilly). With this marriage, a renaissance occurred on the site as Frederic and Evelyn entered a prolific period of embellishing Bonnet House with the decorative elements that delight visitors to this day. Frederic died in 1953, but Evelyn continued to return each winter. In 1983, Evelyn Fortune Bartlett gave Bonnet House to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Her contribution—at the time, the largest charitable gift in Florida history—ensured that the site would be preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1984 and declared a historic landmark by the City of Fort Lauderdale in 2002. 

This is a family photo of the Bartletts. From left to right was Clay (Bartlett's only child, from his first marriage), Hugh Taylor Birch (Helen's father), Helen, and Frederic. 

The house is truly a special place to visit. It has been preserved in the way the family used to live in it and you get the feeling for its whimsy, uniqueness, and character as you walk through the first floor. 

The house sprawls, almost like a ranch feeling. Except to get from one room to the other, you walk outside. As the photo illustrates.... a large square with a courtyard in the middle. Around the square are the rooms and to get from one room to the next you cross outside. It could only work with Florida weather!

The brackish slough (a wetland, usually a swamp or shallow lake, often a backwater to a larger body of water), which features the bonnet lily. 
Check out this wonderful Iguana in front of the slough! Mattie would have loved it. 
The wonderful Florida ibis. They are like our pigeon. You can find them everywhere.

While the throngs of people attending the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair drove nature-loving Hugh Taylor Birch to the South Florida wilderness, the Fair’s fine art exhibits inspired Frederic Clay Bartlett to forsake his family’s hardware business and become an artist.  Frederic graduated from Munich’s prestigious Royal Academy in 1895 and returned to a prolific and prosperous career in the United States.  He worked on mural projects in conjunction with great American architects such as Howard Van Doren Shaw and his easel work can today be found in the best museums including the Corcoran Gallery, the Carnegie Institute,and the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Examples of his easel art are displayed in the Bonnet House studio and Frederic’s murals and faux painting can be found throughout the Main House.
A mural that Frederic and Evelyn painted together on a ceiling within their home. 

But despite his true genius in collecting, Frederic often commented that his greatest artistic discovery was the innate talent possessed by his third wife, Evelyn Fortune Bartlett.  With little formal training but much encouragement from Frederic, Evelyn began painting in 1933.  For five years, she painted prolifically, and her work was featured in well-received gallery exhibits in Boston, New York, and Indianapolis. Evelyn’s works are today displayed in Bonnet House’s Carl J. Weinhardt Gallery.
This is a bronze statue of a monkey. Frederic got these at an auction and featured them at the entrance of his house. The property literally had 60 monkeys living on it at one time, and it became the featured animal in art and even on House china! In fact when college students came to Florida on spring break, they would come onto the property and steal the monkey and transport it around town. 
Evelyn Bartlett was a passionate orchid collector and the varieties she left to Bonnet House comprise one of the largest collections of orchids in the Southeast United States. Various blooming examples are rotated regularly through the estate's Orchid Showroom.
Mrs. Bartlett's love for orchids was matched only by her love of animals. The Bonnet House collection includes two Amazon parrots that reside in the courtyard aviary, Peaches, a Moluccan cockatiel housed in the fowl pen, and a mating pair of mute swans that grace the Bonnet House sloughs and Lily Pond. 

Pictured: Evelyn Bartlett and monkey!

Other animals found on the grounds include a troop of wild Costa Rican squirrel monkeys, gopher tortoises, and manatees that occasionally seek refuge in the estate's Boathouse Canal.

Evelyn's amazing shell collection, which was built for her by Frederic.
This flowering plant is called "yesterday, today, and tomorrow." The flower starts out purple (yesterday), turns white (today), and then falls off the tree (tomorrow)! The gardens at the house are absolutely amazing, and they feature trees from all over the world, as well as a section dedicated to old world Florida!

1 comment:

Margy Jost said...

I have read all your travel blogs. They are wonderful and so full of information. Also the pictures are lovely. Thank you for sharing all these beautiful places!!!!