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

July 5, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2003. Mattie was visiting Peter's parents in Boston and as you can see was playing with his cars on the windowsill. Mattie was about a year and a half old here and one thing I realized early on was Mattie loved anything with wheels on it or had locomotion. This wasn't something that I nurtured or directed Mattie to, it was his natural inclination. Which meant that I had to get UP TO SPEED on all the different types of vehicles and how each one was used. 

Quote of the day: There are lives I can imagine without children but none of them have the same laughter and noise. ~ Brian Andreas

Today we drove to Harvard, Massachusetts. Which is about 50 minutes from where Peter's family lives. We had the opportunity to tour the Fruitlands Museum. Which is not just a museum, but instead a walk through time, in which you got a feeling for what life was like as a Shaker. Shaker actually stands for the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming. This religious movement was established in England around 1750 and emphasized living simply in celibate mixed communities. However, the more I read and heard about this community at Fruitlands, the more I felt like in today's terms we would deem it a cult.   

I am sure visitors come away from Fruitlands with many different thoughts and impressions. Of course what interested me the most was the thinking that prevailed within this community and how it impacted individuals and families. 

Fruitlands was inspired by Transcendentalism and Amos Bronson Alcott's (father of Louisa May Alcott--who was the author of Little Women) ideas of societal reform. It was established on 90 acres purchased by Charles Lane in May 1843. People interested in joining the community began moving in the next month and the site was optimistically named "Fruitlands" despite having only a small cluster of apple trees. The community was based on self-sufficiency, using no hired labor and growing all the food they needed themselves. The community ultimately failed because of the difficulty in growing crops. Community members began moving away as early as October 1843. Lane and Alcott abandoned it in January 1844. So keep in mind the Alcotts lived here ONLY 7 months. When you see the conditions they lived under, you would say that seven months was a lifetime.

In 1910, the property was purchased by Clara Endicott Sears, who opened the farmhouse to the public in 1914 as a museum. In addition to the Fruitlands building, the site includes a transplanted Shaker house from the nearby Harvard Shaker Village, Native American artifacts and Hudson River School paintings. The museum is primarily the result of the efforts of Sears. The heiress of the Sears fortune, who never married (by choice to preserve her wealth).

Back when Lane and Alcott families lived in Fruitlands, the residents began their days with a purging cold-water shower and subsisted on a simple diet containing no stimulants or animal products. They were vegans, excluding even milk and honey from their diets. “Neither coffee, tea, molasses, nor rice tempts us beyond the bounds of indigenous production,” Lane wrote. “No animal substances neither flesh, butter, cheese, eggs, nor milk pollute our tables, nor corrupt our bodies.” Diet was usually fruit and water; many vegetables—including carrots, beets, and potatoes—were forbidden because they showed a lower nature by growing downward.

Fruitlands members wore only linen clothes and canvas shoes; cotton fabric was forbidden because it exploited slave labor and wool was banned because it came from sheep. Bronson Alcott and Lane believed that animals should not be exploited for their meat or their labor, so they used no animals for farming. This arose out of two beliefs: that animals were less intelligent than humans and that, therefore, it was the duty of humans to protect them; and that using animals "tainted" their work and food, since animals were not enlightened and therefore unclean. Eventually, as the winter was coming, Alcott and Lane compromised and allowed an ox and a cow.

Amos Bronson Alcott, a teacher and member of the New England Non-Resistance Society, came up with the idea of Fruitlands in 1841. He traveled to England the following year, where he hoped to find support and people to participate with him in the experiment. England was home to his strongest group of supporters, a group of educators who had founded the Alcott House, a school based on his philosophy of teaching. One of his supporters was Charles Lane, who journeyed with him to the United States in 1842.

In May 1843, Lane purchased the 90-acre Wyman Farm in Harvard, Massachusetts for $1800. Though Alcott had come up with the idea of Fruitlands himself, he was not involved in purchasing the land, largely because he was penniless after the failure of his Temple School and his subsequent years in Concord, Massachusetts as a farmer. In July, Alcott announced their plans in The Dial: "We have made an arrangement with the proprietor of an estate of about a hundred acres, which liberates this tract from human ownership." They had officially moved to the farm on June 1 and optimistically named it "Fruitlands" despite only ten old apple trees on the property.

The commune attracted 14 residents, including the Alcott and Lane families. By July, the community had succeeded in planting 8 acres of grains, one of vegetables, and one of melons. Fruitlands ultimately failed the winter after it opened, largely due to food shortages and accompanying unrest in the inhabitants. The rigors of a New England winter proved too severe for the members of the Fruitlands.

Fruitlands residents, who called themselves "the consociate family," wished to separate themselves from the world economy by refraining from trade, having no personal property, and not using hired labor. Alcott and Lane believed that the community could achieve complete freedom only by eliminating economic activity altogether. Alcott in particular believed the present economy was evil. To this end, they strove towards self-sufficiency by planning on growing all the food they would need themselves and making only the goods they needed. By accomplishing these two goals, they would eliminate the need to participate in trade or to purchase their food from the outside world. Initially, Bronson Alcott and Lane modeled their ideas about personal property off the Shakers, who held property communally. However, the Shakers were not completely self-sufficient; they traded their hand-made goods for coffee, tea, meat and milk. Bronson Alcott and Lane eliminated the need to trade for these supplies because they eliminated animal products and stimulants from their diets entirely. In the end, the Fruitlands community had no effect on the economy of the outside world. Fruitlands allowed its residents to practice their ideals without forcing them to effect any real change.

This is what a private chamber looked like. It included very simple furnishings: a single bed, night stand, dresser and a small writing table. The cradle on the left was for ADULTS. Typically for the "old and infirm." Not sure about you, but if I was sick, this would be the last place I would want to be. It looks like a moving coffin!

Most of us when we think of 'shaker,' we think of furniture or a style. But it was much more than that. It was a spiritual philosophy, that basically felt that through hard physical labor, communal living and celibacy, you can live as God wanted you to. 

I am not sure what one would like to focus on first with a visit to Fruitlands. Naturally the buildings, the Shaker culture, and its once inhabitants. As I mentioned earlier is what intrigued me the most was the effect of this lifestyle on its inhabitants. This placard on the Alcott women maybe one of the best things on display within the farmhouse. Here are a couple of statements from this placard. It states........................

Mrs. Alcott found her life here to be exhausting... being responsible for the food preparation and all housework. Anna and Louisa (the older daughters) helped by doing household chores and farm work when needed. 

Mr. Alcott and Charles Lane often left at inopportune times, in terms of tending to crops, so Mrs. Alcott and the girls stepped in to help hay or to bring in the cut barley left lying on the ground. 

To encourage communication, Mrs. Alcott created the 'post office---" a basket in which family members could send each other notes throughout the day. It gave everyone the daily opportunity to have a 'pleasant way of healing all differences and discontents" as well as sharing notes of love and encouragement.

In December 1843, Louise and her sisters were aware of the turmoil in the household with Charles Lane urging Mr. Alcott to split from his family. As he preached celibacy. Mrs. Alcott had enough after 7 months and moved out of Fruitlands and took her girls. Mr. Alcott had to decide to stay or leave. He stayed initially, but then left after Fruitlands was a failure. 

After touring around the numerous buildings within this complex, we ate at their cafe. This is the cafe dressed up for a wedding, but you get the feeling for the spectacular views!

1 comment:

Margy Jost said...

I have told you this often but can't resist saying it again. You plan amazing adventures on your trips places. I must admit, I could never have lived under those conditions or got into bed each night into a coffin- like bed, yet everything you wrote was so interesting.

Mattie definitely was a wheels child. I like seeing him lining them up in a row. He had a very organized mind even little!

Your quote left me pondering several things. I know I will be thinking about it and what meaning, I find in it! I know I will revisit this quote!