Mattie Miracle 10th Anniversary Walk was an $119,000 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: www.mattiemiracle.com 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

September 2, 2017

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in September of 2007. We took Mattie to the Swedish Embassy that weekend. It is very close to where we live, in fact I pass it daily with Sunny. That particular weekend the Embassy was having an open house. There were all sorts of activities for kids, and in front of the Embassy they put this GIANT chair on display. Mattie climbed up into it, and I snapped a photo. Back then taking a photograph required a digital camera. Cell phone technology did not have built in cameras yet. Like people travel with a wallet, I never left our home without my camera. It was always in my purse, and I am glad and lucky I made that decision. 


Quote of the day: Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~ Arthur Golden



I woke up this morning disoriented because I did not get a good night sleep. NOT unusual for me. But at 3am this morning, our home phone rang. Living in DC, it is not unusual for this to happen, because at times people press the intercom buttons outside our building at all hours of the night to get admittance to our complex. If you should press our unit's number, then our phone rings. So we have learned the hard way.... DON'T answer the phone unless you hear someone we know leaving a message on our answering machine. 

It never dawned on me that on the other end of the phone was my mom. Nor did I check my cell phone at 3am. My cell phone is always on my nightstand when I sleep but it is kept silent, otherwise, we would be hearing noises throughout the night. Any case, when I woke up this morning, I saw messages, emails, and texts from my mom. She sent me this photo. 

At 11pm on Friday, my parents were evacuated from their house. Why? Well look what was outside their front door! The photo above was taken by my mom as they were pulling out of their driveway. My parents are experiencing the worst natural fire in LA City history. Because of intense temperatures (over 100 degrees) for over a week, vegetation can burn. In this case, the winds did LA in, because what started with only an acre burning, quickly turned into 5,000 acres because embers were blown by the wind. 

You can see the foothills burning, and my parents and 250 other homes had to be evacuated. My parents are staying at a local hotel, but they are shaken up, and had to leave in a rush. Therefore have VERY LITTLE with them. The fear is that their home will be destroyed. 


Even a freeway was affected. This is the 210 freeway, and it had to be closed down, for obvious reasons. 
There are literally over 500 firefighters battling this blaze. They are true heroes in all of this because so far there have been no human casualties. 

This is NOT an unfamiliar sight in LA.....helicopters carrying buckets of water to put out the blaze.
My parents took this photo today. See where the smoke is? Well this is where my parent's house is located, on the hill with the smoke. 

Clearly we have been worried about my parents today, but it also made me assess what I would need to grab if such an emergency happened to me. What would be my plan? What items in our home would I need to have with me? This is a vital question to answer, because in an emergency you have little to no time, and you aren't thinking clearly. So forethought on this is crucial. 

When Mattie was battling cancer, this is how I lived my life. In constant crisis. At a moment's notice while home Mattie would get sick and would need to return to the hospital. I learned quickly that whatever I needed had to be in one place and it had to be accessible to go! In a way, with many of my personal items, I still live this way. The crisis maybe over, but the crisis is a part of me. If you asked me to get out of our home now, I would be all set. But I would still need to give thought to sentimental items I would want to take. 

At the moment, my parents are at a hotel and are safe. It is my hope that tomorrow we get more information about the status of their home. But I learned a lesson... if the phone rings in the middle of the night, I will answer it regardless. 

In the midst of this crisis in Los Angeles, today was Sunny's 6th birthday and we couldn't let this day pass. Of course Sunny was very concerned because my whole morning routine was off. So he was on edge. 

Since Sunny is a rescue, we do not know his exact birth date. On September 2, 2016, we picked up Sunny from his foster home. Therefore we have deemed today his birthday. It's hard to believe he has been with us for a year. He has filled up our home and hearts. Mattie always wanted a dog and I think he would be happy to know we honored his request.












I bought Sunny a doggie homemade cookie yesterday at the pet store in the shape of a cupcake. Clearly he LOVED IT!


SUNNY FACTS:

1. He is a border collie mix
2. Was born in South Carolina and abandoned on a highway
3. LOVES, LOVES Food
4. Favorite activities: long walks, hugs, attention
5. Friendly with all dogs and people of all ages
6. He is my VELCRO dog (attached to me at all times)
7. Favorite Treat: Bones
8. Rarely barks, but when he does, it is quite a sound!
9. Deposition: calm and gentle
10. Can't take a walk without hearing "what a beautiful dog" or "can we pet your dog?"

September 1, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in January of 2009. We took Mattie for a cruise on the Hudson River, while he was in NYC to receive experimental treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering. This photo was taken a week before US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing on the Hudson River.


Quote of the day: Storms make trees take deeper roots. ~ Dolly Parton


I am very grateful that the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON), made Peter and me honorary members. As such, we now get their publication, Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. In fact, in our Mattie Miracle mailbox today, the September/October issue was waiting for me. I decided to page through it, thinking that most of the articles wouldn't apply to me. However, much to my surprise on p.331, I found an article entitled: Pilot Study of Therapy Dog Visits for Inpatient Youth With Cancer. 

Naturally you know the article interested me given that I own Sunny, and to me he would be the perfect therapy dog. But in reality, very LITTLE data is out there about the effectiveness or safety of animal assisted activities in an in-patient setting for children with cancer. Well until this very study. 

But my interest in pet therapy within a hospital setting goes beyond my connection with Sunny. I remember so distinctly that while Mattie was dying in the hospital he wanted Patches, our calico cat, to visit him and stay on his bed. Yet hospitals being what they are, refused this request. I get it.... pets are NOT allowed inside a pediatric intensive care unit, and particularly cat fur gets everywhere and many people are allergic to the dander in this fur. I absolutely understood the logistics and why the request was denied, but at the time, I frankly did not care about policy and procedures. All I was thinking about was Mattie. It seems rather heartless to not figure out an alternative to a dying child's request, no?!

When Mattie was treated at Georgetown, there was NO pet therapy program. However, now such a program exists and despite no collected data at that institution, I am sure the dogs are making an impact on the patients, families, and staff. 

With regard to Chubak et al.'s study, they found that 17 out of 18 respondents said they liked having a dog visit and wished they could have spent more time with the animal. Benefits were particularly seen in children younger than 13. In particular, distress and levels of worry and fatigue decreased immediately following a visit from a therapy dog. These observations were consistent with patient and provider survey feedback. But don't you love this comment..... one team member said that the dog visit was the first time the child had smiled or been happy in a long time. To me that said it all!

All I know is when parents are stuck in-patient with their children, we would do practically anything to distract them from the reality being faced. Pets have a way of not only serving as a distraction but also they provide love and acceptance like no game or toy. In addition, it is hard to be around a dog without wanting to say something and talk. Which is why they make such beautiful creatures for therapy regardless of the setting. 

Abstract of the publication:
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1043454217712983

August 31, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2006. My parents and I took Mattie to tour USS Midway, a retired aircraft carrier. We were standing on the top of the ship, where aircraft landed in the past. On this non-active runway, now sits all sorts of airplanes and helicopters for visitors to see and ask questions about. Mattie had an incredible time exploring the ship from top to bottom. You may not be able to see it here, but Mattie had a big smile on his face when I snapped this photo. 


Quote of the day: Heroes didn't leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn't wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else's. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back. ~ Jodi Picoult


It was a first full day back in Washington, DC. Despite being three hours behind and still on Los Angeles time, I got up early as Peter was leaving for the train station to head to NYC. Peter and Sunny woke up "on!" I may have been tired, but Sunny was raring to go. He walked once this morning with Peter, and then three times with me. I saw behaviors from Sunny today that I have never seen before. Typically Sunny loves all dogs and is very easy going. However, today he spied a female dog about his size and made a b-line for her. Actually he dragged me across a street to meet her. Fortunately the dog's owner was lovely. However, as soon as Sunny got close to this dog, he started barking his head off and got up on his hind legs. This display frightened the other dog, who looked very shy to begin with. I couldn't get Sunny to stop barking, so I finally separated him from the mix, apologized to the owner and moved on. I have NO explanation for this outburst, since I have yet to see him ever do this before. 

Later this evening, Sunny was outside in our common's area with me. A neighbor's dog, who is MUCH MUCH smaller than Sunny, came up to play with Sunny. Typically Sunny is very calm and allows this dog to jump all over him and smell him. Sunny did let this dog do this for quite a bit of time, however, at one point he had enough of this dog's hyperactivity and literally put a paw on this dog and pinned it to the ground. Sunny did not hurt this dog at all, but I was stunned by this new found behavior. What this tells me is like people, Sunny also has different moods and at times can act out of character. I am not sure why this surprised me, but this behavior did because it is NOT like Sunny. 

On Saturday, we will have Sunny ONE WHOLE year. Though Sunny's official birthday is August 14, I have given him a new birthday, September 2. In honor of the day we brought him home. Similarly I have deemed July 6, Indie's birthday, despite the fact that she was actually born on Peter's birthday, November 13. It is hard to believe Sunny has been with us ONE year now. Tomorrow I am going out to get him a special birthday treat and I am still trying to figure out what to do on his special day.... though Saturday is supposed to be 100% rain. 

August 30, 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017



Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2006. My parents and I took Mattie to San Diego for a few days that summer. I snapped a photo of Mattie on the balcony of our Embassy Suites hotel room. From the room we could see the harbor, where we toured the USS Midway. Mattie loved his adventures to San Diego and was a great traveler. Flying, sailing, trains, and cars.... nothing bothered him. He welcomed the new experiences. 







Quote of the day: Never be bullied into silence, never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, define yourself. ~ Robert Frost



On the way to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) today, I snapped this photo. Can you see the plane practically in step with us that is landing?
If you have never flown in or out of LA, then what I am reporting may sound unbelievable. But this airport has to be one of the busiest and most user unfriendly airports I have ever traveled through. First of all thanks to LA traffic, it can take hours to just drive to the airport to check in. So if you aren't stressed from trying to get to the airport, then I assure you the terminal will do you in. Terminals are swarming with people, and some people do not have any patience. I had several people just trying to cut me off while waiting to go through the security check point. However, once I started barking, I put them in their place and they moved behind me. 

However, look who I found greeting passengers at my gate. Ivy, the therapy dog. Ivy is a labradoodle and spends one day a week at the airport. She is trained and certified, and is a member of LAX's Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program. 

Check out this video describing the Pets Unstressing Passengers program at LAX:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO9U9mjWDJ8



The PUP program operates 7 days a week, and has multiple therapy dogs on hand to help relieve passenger stress and also the dog handlers are on point to help answer questions about the terminal and other logistics for passengers. 
There are also trading cards that passengers can collect on each of the dogs. Ivy's handler shared her card with me!
Some facts about Ivy! What I can tell you is that the demeanor of people in the waiting area changed while interacting with Ivy. Not only did people of all ages want to get to pet Ivy, but then the beautiful thing is people took their noses out of their electronic devices and started talking to each other. 
Here is a photo I snapped while saying goodbye to LA. Another gloriously sunny and hot day in LA. A stark contrast to cloudy and muggy DC. 
Midway during the flight, I looked out the window, and saw Mattie Moon! I knew everything was going to be alright after seeing my moon. 
Meanwhile, look who was happy to see me when I got home!
Sunny was panting from excitement. Clearly I was missed. Indie was also buzzing around me and in her own way welcomed me back. 

August 29, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 -- Mattie died 415 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2006. Mattie was four years old and my parents and I took him to San Diego. While there, we toured the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier, that is now a floating museum. Mattie was fascinated with the aircraft carrier and explored the ship, floor to floor. You can't tell here, but in the photo Mattie was holding a disposal camera. I got him one to take the photos he wanted to capture. After all seeing the world from Mattie's lens was much different from my own.


Quote of the day: Have patience with all things but first of all with yourself. ~ St. Francis de Sales


Today is my last day in Los Angeles. In my parent's living room has always hung this painting. This is a painting of me, if you can't tell! It was painted when I was about 10 or 11 years old. As my mom was a teacher and as such she knew many talented people. The art teacher at her school painted this portrait. I assure you this was NO easy task for me at a young age. This woman's studio was in her attic, which was freezing! I had to hold this pose for hours and I want to say in total this painting took months of posing and sitting still. At the time I did not appreciate it, but now looking at it, it is a wonderful and beautiful tribute to the innocence of childhood. Back when I had no idea about childhood cancer, much less cancer in general. Somehow a painting to me seems much more striking to reflect upon than a photograph! 

For the last two weeks I have seen NOTHING but sunshine. Totally unlike DC, which I call the grey city. I have never seen such intense clouds and grayness in comparison to any other city I have lived in. Today in Los Angeles it was over 100 degrees! When I open my parent's front door, this is what you see.... mountains and vegetation. Again a night and day difference from my citified life. But you get a feeling for the LA heat, when you look at the brown mountains devoid of vegetation! The greenery only exists in area that receive irrigation. 
This is a view of the mountains from my parent's backyard. It is a very peaceful setting and you rarely hear noise, despite the fact that within a five minute drive you are in the bustling city of Burbank. 
















In their backyard is this persimmons
tree. The tree was planted by the previous owner, and if you have never seen this fruit before, it is orange when ripe and feels like a tomato to the touch. Yet they have a sweet, cinammony, taste but its really not like any other fruit. Some people compare it to a mango, but I think it is totally different.
Mattie was an outdoor kind of kid and when he visited my parents, he would spend time in this backyard as well as in their front yard. Mattie loved running after the little garden lizards that inhabit the property and at one time, my parents and the neighborhood had garden snails. When I tell you we used to do afternoon walks looking and counting snails, I am NOT kidding! If Mattie were lucky enough to find snail shells without a creature inside, he collected them and brought them back to my parent's house. He had quite an assortment at one time. Which was totally Mattie. He never came back from a walk empty handed, he always loved to collect something and bring it back! Believe it or not Mattie had collections from nature on two coasts. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2005. We took Mattie to the Los Angeles Zoo and what you maybe able to determine from Mattie's facial expression was that he was hot and not happy with our photograph request! But as usual complied and I am happy he did, because documentation of life with Mattie is crucial to us now.


Quote of the day: Vulnerability sounds like truth and looks like courage. ~ Brene Brown


Today we visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and toured the special exhibit..... Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage. This exhibit highlighted the principal role that music and dance played in Chagall’s artistic practice. The performing arts were a significant source of inspiration for Chagall throughout his long career: he depicted musicians in many of his paintings, collaborated on set designs for the Ballet Russes in 1911, created murals and theatrical productions for the Moscow State Jewish Theater in the 1920s, and designed costumes and monumental sets for ballet and opera in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

The exhibition concentrated on Chagall’s four productions for the stage—the ballets Aleko, set to music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1942), The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky (1945), Daphnis and Chloé by Maurice Ravel (1958), and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute (1967). The exhibition features the artist’s vibrant costumes and set designs—some of which have never been exhibited since they appeared on stage—and also presents a selection of iconic paintings depicting musicians and lyrical scenes, numerous works on paper, and documentary footage of original performances.

Thanks to an invitation from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Chagall and his family, who were Jewish, fled Nazi occupied France and emigrated to the US in 1941. The following year, the American Ballet Theatre commissioned Chagall to design the scenery and costumes for Aleko.

Touring these large exhibit halls was a sensory experience as the music from the ballets and opera depicted in Chagall's scenery and costumes was piped in. So not only was it a visual experience but also an auditory one.

These painting served as mock ups for the LARGE wall sized set designs for the ballet, Aleko. I have to admit I have never heard of this ballet. But basically it features Aleko, a young Russian aristocrat who falls in love with Zemphira, daughter of the chief. Aleko tries to court her, but she falls in love with someone else. Aleko is not happy and lands up having nightmares which involve animals attacking him. Eventually he lands up killing Zemphira and her lover.

Each of these paintings served as the mock up of costumes for the ballet Aleko. It is remarkable how closely the costumes resemble the sketches.
Check out this sketch and two photos down you will see the actual costume that Chagall produced.
Sketches of Zemphira and others that Aleko came across in his dream.
The violin and cello costume were eye catching!
Costumes from Aleko featuring (from left to right) a fortune teller, blue fish, a black bat, and I forgot the name of the costume on the right. Nonetheless, every costume had a matching sketch and the incredible hand painted details were truly remarkable to see. I have never seen art featured on a costume.





These are paintings that served as models for the backdrop sets of the ballet, Daphnis and Chloe. Remember that a backdrop is HUGE, wall sized or bigger. This was the backdrop for scene one. The bright and happy colors depict the connection and love between goatherd Daphnis and shepherdess Chloe.
The backdrop for scene two isn't as happy. Because Chloe gets kidnapped by a band of pirates. The fish depicts the pirate camp, where Chloe is taken.
Daphnis and Chloe are reunited thanks to the fearsome god Pan (half goat half human). It is hard to see in this photo, but Pan is featured at the top of the backdrop. You can't miss his goat like head with horns.


In 1945, the performing arts impresario Sol Hurok decided to restage Igor Stravinsky’s iconic ballet The Firebird, which had premiered in Paris in 1910 at the Ballets Russes. Chagall re-envisioned the stage curtain, sets, and costumes for the ballet, which debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on October 24, 1945 and was performed in Los Angeles in 1946. The more than 80 costumes Chagall made for the ballet were his most inventive to date, particularly those for the fantastical animals and monsters that abound in the ballet’s narrative. Working with his daughter, Ida—who was integral to the process—Chagall employed new materials and fabrication techniques, including a combination of diaphanous and heavy, richly colored fabrics, collage-like appliqués, and intricate embroidery.


Chagall's wife, Bella, died a year before he was asked to design sets and costumes for the ballet, Firebird. For that year after his wife's death he ceased making art and his work on Firebird was his re-engagement with the art world.

This curtain used in Firebird depicts a woman with her head upside down. The face you see here was supposed to be that of Bella's.
Chagall created dozens of studies for his innovative costume designs for Firebird. He found inspiration in the Russian folklore and Yiddish allegories that had formed his artistic vocabulary since his youth and reprised the hybrid creatures seen in many of his paintings, including anthropomorphized donkeys, roosters, demons, and winged figures.

This ballet features Prince Ivan who gets lost in an enchanted forest and strays into the evil sorcerer's kingdom. In the kingdom he spies a fantastical bird with fiery plumage. He captures the Firebird but agrees to spare her in exchange for a magical feather.

Ivan encounters a group of maidens along his journey and falls in love with one of them. However, she is captured by the sorcerer. Ivan follows the princess back to the sorcerer's palace and is attacked by monsters (which you can see depicted in these costumes). Ivan pulls out his magic feather and puts a spell on the sorcerer and monsters to dance until they fall asleep. Naturally like all good fairy tales, Ivan and the maiden land up together dancing on their wedding day.


Chagall’s last stage adventure would be to create sets and costumes for a new production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera House for its inaugural season at Lincoln Center in New York in February 1967. Widely praised, this was Chagall’s only work for opera. He spent three years designing the 14 sets and 121 costumes, working in close collaboration with members of the Met’s costume and set design workshops. Challenged by the complexity of the opera’s numerous scene changes, stage machinery, and the large number of singers, Chagall conceived aesthetic solutions that emphasized strong color contrasts and striking geometric forms to construct scenic space and communicate the dramatic narrative.

There were costumes from the opera, Magic Flute. This opera also features a prince who is on a journey to rescue the Queen of the Night's daughter. He is accompanied by a mystical fellow who is part human and part bird. With the help of magical musical instruments they undergo a series of obstacles, but are able to over come them all enabling the couple to reunite.


August 28, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2005. I think it was taken while we were touring Legoland, but I honestly can say I have NO IDEA where this photo was taken. It could have been in Legoland or somewhere in Los Angeles. What I do think is interesting though is the cut outs were of sunflowers. A flower which has come to symbolize so much to me, because our Mattie care team gave me SO MANY sunflowers while Mattie was battling cancer. To me it is the ultimate flower that reminds me of Mattie and our bond. 


Quote of the day: When you shine your light, it may hurt the eyes of those who still live in the dark and they may not like it. ~ Jane Lee Logan


Last night, I went with my parents and their friends to a dinner theater to see Susan Anton. First of which I must say I had to google her because I had NO idea who she was. For those of you who are as clueless as me, here you go..... By the mid-1970's, Anton developed a following for her Muriel Cigar commercials where she sang, "Let Muriel turn you on / That is my desire / Muriel lights a flame in me / Where there's Muriel smoke, there's fire." Later in the 1970's, Anton appeared approximately 30 times on Merv Griffin's TV show. She was frequently seen and heard in television, print and radio ads for the Perfect Sleeper mattress by Serta. In these ads, she announced her name and sang the company's jingle. I should also mention she won Miss California and was a runner up in the Miss America contest. 

All that being said, I went into the event with an open mind. Would I be running back to hear her perform.... NO! To me all her songs sound exactly alike. She definitely connects with her audience, and some of her banter between songs was touching. 

She definitely has a stage presence, has a great deal of energy for 67 years of age, and on stage does a very good job at talking and singing about the importance of connections, relating to others, and making time for these meaningful relationships. 
However, what saddened me is her talk doesn't match her off stage demeanor. She came out to see her friends and family in the audience after the show. At this dinner theater it isn't unusual for the performer to interact with guests after the show, so we went up to her and asked for a photo. You would think a performer would relish this time and attention from 'fans,' but this was not what I found at all. I felt she couldn't wait to get rid of us, which was in total conflict to her on-stage message. I was taken aback by her attitude and frankly this behavior clouded my entire impression of her show. To me the person behind the performer is almost as important as the performance itself. 


Comparing last night's performance to the community production of Footloose today was like a night and day experience. I hate to admit it, but I have never seen the 1984 classic movie, Footloose. Yet what I realized today is I knew all the songs from this musical. Songs that have become a part of our pop culture..... Almost paradise, Let's hear it for the boy, Holding out for a hero, and Somebody's eyes!

Footloose was performed in the round and the majority of the cast ranged from 18 to 35 years of age. This was an incredible group of young talent that executed a great performance on a small stage. Two hours went by quickly and after the show, EVERY cast member greeted audience members in the lobby. They literally shook hands and wanted to hear from us. It was a wonderful and classy experience and what this showed me was these actors appreciated all of us and truly wanted to connect and share their skills, art, and passion with us. I am not sure I would have had this astute perspective and insight today, if I hadn't had the interaction with Susan Anton last night.