Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 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

August 23, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in March of 2003. Mattie was 11 months old visiting the beautiful gardens of the Huntington Museum in Los Angeles. The backdrop of this photo always reminds me of some sort of Monet painting, even though we were actually standing in the Japanese gardens at the Museum. 

Quote of the day: Life isn't about getting and having, it’s about giving and being.Kevin Kruse

Tonight's quote seems very poignant given the museum I went to visit today! I lived in Los Angeles as a teenager and of course have visited my parents throughout the course of my entire life and yet this is the first time I have visited the Nethercutt Museum. This is a very special and unique museum. What captures your immediate attention is admission is absolutely free! Now in DC that is NOT unusual, but anywhere outside of DC, this is RARE! Nonetheless, given the caliber of this exhibit and the rare sights inside, this Museum is a gem! Actually worth an admission price if one was charged! But as Kruse's quote points out, life is about giving and being and the Nethercutt family understand this philosophy and share the beauty of things they have collected and restored over the years with the public for free. The Nethercutts made their money originally through cosmetics, The Merle Norman Cosmetic Industry to be exact. The history of the family, in my opinion is worth reading about and I included the story below to give you context to what I was seeing. Understand that the family made their money through cosmetics, but that is not what Merle Norman's nephew and grand-nephew collected!!! Try antique cars and musical devices instead!  

J.B. Nethercutt was born in South Bend, IN, on October 11, 1913, and moved to Santa Monica, CA, in 1923, to live with his aunt and founder of Merle Norman Cosmetics, Merle Nethercutt Norman. He later left his studies at the California Institute of Technology to go into business with his aunt.

On September 3, 1933, J.B. married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Sykes. The marriage lasted more than 70 years until Dorothy’s death on October 8, 2004. It was during their early years together that J.B. and Dorothy began their love affair with old cars.

In 1956, J.B. purchased two cars: a 1936 Duesenberg Convertible Roadster for $5,000 and a 1930 DuPont Town Car for $500, both needing total refurbishing. The DuPont restoration, which J.B. estimated would take a few weeks, instead took 18 months and over $65,000. By 1958, his meticulously rebuilt project claimed its first prize — the coveted “Best of Show” award at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. By the summer of 1992, his cars had won the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance six times, more than any other individual. The Duesenberg and the DuPont are still part of The Nethercutt Collection.
As J.B.’s collection grew, he was determined to share his masterpieces with the public. In 1971, he and Dorothy opened a museum in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, which has been free to the public since its opening.

J.B., who passed away on December 6, 2004 at the age of 91, memorably stated: “The recognition and preservation of beauty has been a major focus of my life. It would suit me well if what people remembered about me was, ‘Where he went, he left beauty behind.’”

Jack Nethercutt (JB’s son) and his wife Helen now proudly carry on the work that J.B. and Dorothy began. Early on, Jack exhibited a fondness for cars and discovered his natural abilities on the track. His sports car racing career from the 1950s and ’60s is showcased in The Nethercutt Collection’s Lower Gallery. Jack hung up his helmet to help with the family business. A University of Southern California graduate, he served as Vice President of Marketing of Merle Norman Cosmetics and later as President in 1973. He held this post for a number of years before leaving to explore other interests, including ownership of a Las Vegas, NV, restaurant.

In March 2002, Jack returned as President of Merle Norman Cosmetics. He and Helen now serve as Chairman of the Board and Vice Chairman, respectively. They also serve as Chairman of the Board and Director for The Nethercutt Collection. They continue to restore museum-quality cars, entering and winning at virtually every Concours in which their stunning cars appear.

The Nethercutt Museum showcases more than 130 of the world’s greatest antique, vintage, classic and special interest automobiles including many top winners of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (which I learned today is one of the biggest car shows in the world).

When you walk into this room, it is enormous! I am not a car person, but even I knew I was surrounded by special vehicles. Of course even if I did not, based on the reactions of the car buffs around me, I got a quick sense right away! 

Each vehicle is pristine and beautifully sign posted and detailed! Also this is a museum of FUNCTIONAL ART as our tour guide explained to us today! EVERY vehicle here WORKS and is tested yearly!!!

Mattie would have LOVED this car! This is a 1952 Hudson Hornet!!! Mattie loved the movie, Cars! In this Disney movie, there was a key character played by Paul Newman called, Hudson Hornet. I know Mattie would have absolutely enjoyed seeing a real Hudson Hornet car.

This is the 1936 Duesenberg featured in the movie, the Great Gatsby. It was a hard car to photograph because of the sunlight, but it shimmered in the window and was absolutely impressive! A real silver lady!

I naturally was captivated by this car since it shared my name! However it was owned by Rudolph Valentino (a silent movie star)! It was the 1923 "Sporting Victoria!" If you look closely, the hood ornament is a coiled cobra.

This cutie just caught my attention! It was a 1958 Vespa! I have a feeling if Mattie were with me I would have had a very difficult time keeping him out of this car!
Which maybe why there were NO children at all on the tour!

As this poster indicates this was an advertisement of the first delivery car for Merle Norman cosmetics! The 1927 "Star" was used for deliveries and it was also known as the "sweetheart car" because it was driven by JB Nethercutt and Dorothy when they were dating.

Here is an actual photo of the "Star."

Within the Nethercutt Collections is this incredible showroom!!! Marble columns, crystal chandeliers, painted ceilings all make up this beautiful Grand Salon Showroom. A showroom which depicts a bygone era of the 1910's, 1920's and 1930's. On display are approximately 30 of the finest automobiles of that era. Duesenbergs, Cadillacs, Isotta-Fraschini, Delahaye, Minvera, Renault, Maybach, many other European and American built automobiles. You may notice SOME BOLD colored cars! Cars back then were NOT ALL BLACK! That is because there were around 4000 different manufactures and therefore the main distinguishing difference between cars was COLOR!!!

While we were in this incredible showroom we were treated to the sounds of Gershwin! Literally!!! This piano was playing in the background but it was NO ordinary piano, it was not a player piano! It is a Reproducing Piano! There is a difference. Gershwin actually recorded Rhapsody in Blues for these Reproducing Piano scrolls and the beauty of such an instrument is that it creates the impression that Gershwin is indeed present in the room with us, playing the piano himself. It was like taking a step back in time today. Surrounded by antique cars, in a 1920's show room, and with Gershwin entertaining us! Almost surreal!

In the showroom we were introduced to The 1930 Cadillac which was owned by the legendary film director Cecile B. Demille. This car cost $8750 back then. 

Also featured in the showroom is the 1930 Model G Town Car. This car is also known as Daddy Warbuck's car from the 1982 movie, Annie. In 1930, this car cost $6000. 

In addition to incredible antique cars, the Nethercutts also collected amazing musical devices. This Edison phonograph is one such device. I learned today that this phonograph is older than a Victrola, which is something I am very familiar with that plays records. But I never saw an Edison that plays cylinders. 

It only got better! We walked upstairs to their music room! All I can say is WOW! This room is filled with things I have never seen or heard of in my life. A wall of Nickelodeons! Which maybe I had heard of, perhaps, but never heard actually played! They sound a bit like a calliope. They play on their own, kind of like a piano and marching band combination all in one!

Now this term was a new one for me. I introduce you to an "Orchestrion." Have you ever heard of it? If you haven't, don't worry about it! They are usually NOT found in the USA! An orchestrion is a generic name for a machine that plays music and is designed to sound like an orchestra or band. Orchestrions may be operated by means of a large pinned cylinder or by a music roll and less commonly book music. The sound is usually produced by pipes, though they will be voiced differently from those found in a pipe organ, as well as percussion instruments. Many orchestrions contain a piano as well. Any case they are HUGE! They can take up an ENTIRE WALL!

This orchestrion was constructed in Germany and built for a hotel dining room in the Netherlands. Its purpose was for entertainment value. As our tour guide explained the orchestrions were designed to lift the spirits of people! Since they were developed during the first and second World Wars!

This is a very unique and extremely heavy piano! It weighs two tons and has 97 keys! Most pianos have 88 keys. The floor of this room had to be reinforced for this piano and understand that there is literally a computer that can operate this piano along with the Wulitzer organ in the room.

This is a Wurlitzer! There are only two instruments that originated in America. One is the banjo and the other is the Wurlitzer. This is not your typical organ that you would hear at a church per se. This is almost something you would expect to see on a movie set. In fact, in the early days before movies had sound, movie theaters had Wurlitzers. Every theater had a musician who would accompany the silent picture and add sound affects. The sound affects were added using the Wurlitzer. The Wurlitzer can do just about anything, given that it was developed in 1918! Naturally it won't make computer noises or any 21st century sound! Today's tour provided us with an incredible concert! This Wurlitzer is very unusual because it too is computerized and honestly there is no telling what it can do! 

The sound from the Wurlitzer comes out of these 5000 pipes! The room practically shook from the sound! It is an absolutely unusual museum visit of cars, instruments, concerts, and a walk through time!

Also on the campus is a shop that still sells Merle Norman Cosmetics! I snapped a photo of my parents outside the store! 
But it did not end there! There was more. There was also a vintage train to explore!!!

Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago was founded in 1867 to build luxury sleeping cars for the railroads. Pullman's success in this venture dramatically changed rail travel worldwide. The luxuries of a private Pullman Palace Car included chandeliers, electric lighting, advanced heating and air-conditioning systems, complete bath facilities, silk draperies, luxury bedding and elegant furniture. 

In December of 1912, Clara Baldwin Stocker, eldest daughter of California pioneer, E.J. "Lucky" Baldwin, took delivery of a Pullman rail car appropriately named the California. Lucky Baldwin's fortune came from mining shares, real estate, race horses, hotels and the world renowned Santa Anita Race Track. Clara inherited his fortune and commissioned this private rail car. Clara's car was beautifully decorated in modern style with cream and gold painted staterooms, rather than the usual dark wood grained walls and ceilings. The California was a luxurious suite and can be linked to owning a private jet today.

Basically this private rail car could be attached to other passenger trains and this was how Clara comfortably got around the Country in style. This was Clara's dining room with silver ware and china!

Her Bedroom!

Her private bath, separate from where her staff slept and worked.

I end tonight with the 1923 "Moon!" This car cost $1785. Given that it was produced by the Moon Motor Car company, this seems like a lovely tribute to my Mattie Moon! 

Check out the hood ornament
on this car! A real Mattie Moon! Something Mattie would have approved of! I know children were not roaming around in this exhibit for good reason, but I think Mattie would have really enjoyed aspects of this adventure today! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you for the story and amazing pictures. I know Mattie would have loved the train. I will definitely have to make this one of my stops on my next trip out to LA.