The Legacy of Milly, Part 6

In Part 5, the children were over the moon singing “God Bless America” at every opportunity.  We sang for soldiers, and made our own God Bless America book for families, writing and illustrating all the words to the song.  Children still wanted more- I could tell.  Milly to the rescue to make a God Bless America quilt.  The Intrepid Museum in NYC was interested in the quilt!

Part 6

The USS Intrepid was a US Navy aircraft carrier commissioned in WWII and in service through the Vietnam war.  When it was decommissioned in 1974, Zachary Fisher  rescued the ship.  It was restored and opened as a museum in 1982.

I did not know of Zachary Fisher.  He becomes important to the quilt later on.

The children and Milly were treated like kings and queens aboard the Intrepid.  First, we were rescued from the long line by the museum’s Curator and whisked onto the carrier.  We had a personal two-hour tour.  I remember all the old, beautiful brass used throughout the ship, the tight quarters, and displays of Navy memorabilia.  The flight deck is home to many different aircraft.  That part of the ship alone is well worth the visit:

The quilt was put on display in the central part of the ship.  The Curator and other staff were present to see it and give us an official welcome.  The public visited the quilt, oohing and aahing, and asking Milly questions.  And then, the children were asked to sing!  With Milly’s beautiful voice leading the children, “God Bless America” could be heard throughout the ship.  There were school groups who stopped by, excited to see the quilt and ask questions.  I enjoyed asking them to find different parts of the song on the quilt, much like an I Spy.  That was fun!

As our visit was nearing an end, Jessica the Curator pulled me aside to have a talk with me.

“Jennie, the quilt is absolutely stunning.  Thank you so much.  Our Executive Board meets the first of each month, and the quilt is on their agenda.  I will be calling you soon.”


A few weeks later Jessica called.

“Jennie, I have good news, although not what you imagine.”

“Okay.”  My heart was pounding.

“The Executive Board feels the quilt isn’t the right size for the Intrepid Museum.  Space and hanging will pose a problem.  It’s too large for the very limited wall space on the hanger deck.”

“I understand.”  My heart was sinking.

“They have made a unanimous decision.  Unanimous!  They love the quilt.”

“Okay.”  My heart was soaring.

“Do you know of Zachary Fisher?”

“I believe he was the guy who rescued the USS Intrepid and turned it into a museum.  Right?”

“Right.  But he did much more than that.  He was a philanthropist and a great supporter of the Armed Forces.  He established many different foundations.  One of the biggest and most important is the Fisher House Foundation.  They provide “homes away from home” for families of hospitalized military personnel.”

“Wow.  Like Ronald McDonald houses for families of sick children?”

“Exactly.  The Executive Board wants to donate the quilt to the Fisher House Foundation.  I hope you agree with me and with the Board that this is quite an honor.”

“Of course, Jessica.  And thank you so much.”

So, the God Bless America would take another twist and turn.  Milly thought this was one of the best adventures.  “Jennie, we had a great trip to the Intrepid.  They wanted to see the quilt and have us visit.  And now, there is something new.”  I just love(d) Milly.  First, I received a phone call from the head of the Fisher House Foundation.  Obviously the Intrepid Museum had been in touch.  They’re located in Rockville, Maryland.

We decided it would be appropriate and fun for the children to deliver the quilt themselves to a Fisher House in Boston.  In that way, it would be more ceremonious and meaningful.  And, more children and families could attend since this would be nearby- not in New York City.  The Fisher House could then mail it to the Foundation.

Perfect.  Or so I thought.

We arranged for this big event.  Everyone wore red, white and blue.  We all met at the Fisher House, which had just been built that year (an important part later).  Beth, the Director, greeted Milly and the children with such warmth.  We were escorted into the living room where we unveiled the quilt.  Beth’s eyes were as big as saucers.  She hadn’t said anything.  Then she said, “Will you please excuse me while I go make a phone call?”  When she returned, I never expected to hear what she was about to say… stay tuned for Part 7.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in art, Early Education, Giving, history, Imagination, Inspiration, military, museums, patriotism, quilting, Singing, Teaching young children, wonder and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to The Legacy of Milly, Part 6

  1. Opher says:

    What a journey!!

  2. Darlene says:

    You are good at cliffhangers!! What an amazing story.

  3. Jennie, with all the mayhem and discord in America at the moment, it is wonderful to teach American children and children around the world that will see this, that regardless of what has befallen us now, we are still America the beautiful, in all ways. Thank you so much, Karen 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on K. D. Dowdall and commented:
    Jennie, with all the mayhem and discord in America at the moment, it is wonderful to teach American children and children around the world that will see this, that regardless of what has befallen us now, we are still America the beautiful, in all ways. Thank you so much, Karen 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you so much, Karen!

      • Jennie, my pleasure and thank you for sharing this inspiring, heartwarming and beautiful story that you made happen for the children and all of us. Karen

      • Jennie says:

        It is a pleasure to write a story that needs to be told and remembered, especially when it left it’s mark on children. 🙂

      • Jennie, yes, it is a beautiful and heart felt story. Not only is it beautiful, it is life changing in ways that last forever with it’s message of caring, giving, and sharing. Something that not evident in this America at this time. You have supported and made incredibly good things happen for children and the country we love. It only takes one flame to light a brilliant fire of goodness that changes hearts and minds. I am going to be reblogging the entire story in another week, one a day for a week. Karen 🙂

      • Jennie says:

        That is so nice, Karen! Thank you!! There is always a flame of goodness. We just have to light it. Best to you, my friend. 🙂

      • The same to you Jennie, because you are goodness itself. Thank you, Karen 🙂

  5. srbottch says:

    Wow, what an adventure. Now, I’m putting down all my painting chores and waiting for the next installment. Oh, I suppose I can paint and wait, but you know my priority, now. Nice story and such a great thing to do, Jennie et al.

  6. Dan Antion says:

    This has been a wonderful journey Jennie. I can only imagine how much fun the children had and how happy and proud you all were. Patiently waiting…

  7. beetleypete says:

    Left us on tenterhooks, Jennie! 🙂
    Great story about the Intrepid. What a day that must have been.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      I know, kind of a cliffhanger, Pete. What a day, indeed. And the next turn is… well, you’ll see. Best to you, and many thanks. 🙂

  8. Ritu says:

    Milly was part and parcel of so many adventures!!

  9. This story gets better and better. Thanks, Jennie.

  10. willedare says:

    I echo everything written above (including “this story gets better and better,” which is exactly what I was thinking as i read John’s comment). I also love that “God Bless America,” a song written by Russian immigrant Israel Baline aka Irving Berlin (who fled as a small child about the same age as your students from ongoing anti-Jewish persecution in Tsarist Russia) is such an important theme/leitmotif in your saga. I. too, look forward to future installments!!!

    • Jennie says:

      I feel the same way, Will. When I did some research on Irving Berlin, his roots spoke to me. I’m sure the children notice that I sing the song with a heart as big as the moon. Another interesting fact is that he decided to give the proceeds of the song to the Boy Scouts of America. Thank you, Will. Your comments are so appreciated.

  11. smilecalm says:

    beautiful story!
    i’m impressed with the depth of your teaching.
    i spent many years teaching health lessons
    to kids and smile to your skills,
    and also this tribute 🙂

  12. Oh Jennie, what another twist to your amazing story of this Quilt.. And Oh how wonderful that couple of hours must have been in Intrepid. I know how I enjoyed my tour of the Royal Yacht ” Britannica” birthed in Edinburgh Scotland on our visit last year. So I know How trilled the children must have been..
    Can not wait now to see what that she was about to say…… 🙂

  13. dgkaye says:

    Lol Jennie, great cliffhanger! What a fantastical voyage so far with that quilt! 🙂

  14. I can’t even imagine leaving behind such a legacy, Jennie. You honor Millie well with this series. Hugs!

    • Jennie says:

      When I started I expected that it would take three posts to write her legacy. Boy, was I wrong. There was/is so much to tell. Thanks for reading along. 😀

  15. Norah says:

    Ooh, Jennie. I can’t wait for part 7. Post it quick!

  16. A cliff hanger, Jennie. You had better write part 7 quickly. So very exciting. It is so wonderful that you were able to find someone like Milly to help turn your ideas into reality.

  17. Such an exciting history to where the beautiful quilt ends up. Funny how things work out in sometimes peculiar ways, or how being told no can really turn into a bigger YES!

    • Jennie says:

      Well said, Marcia! The ‘no’ can be a bigger blessing. The history is certainly exciting. I’m so glad you are enjoying this quilting adventure. Thank you. 🙂

  18. A cliff-hanger! Ack! What a great adventure. Can’t wait for part 7!

  19. Oh my gosh I have goose bumps! What next? Sitting on the edge of my chair waiting to find out!

  20. The children as well as you and Milly had some wonderful experiences because of the quilts. I can hardly wait for the next chapter. So much intrigue.

  21. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, Once again, this is wonderful!

  22. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is the next installment in Jennie’s wonderful series!

  23. The quilt is fantastic, and the idea too. Thank you for sharing this journey with the youth. Michael

  24. Patriotism is more than being proud of where we came from….It is about having pride in what we try to be to each other, about the struggle to rise above and present our better angels to the world. Amazingly it is always the children who help us to see the simplicity of things… starting with the joy of being part of creating something important together!

  25. Sarah says:

    So good I got here a bit late, now I won´t have to endure that awful cliffhanger! LOL! Can´t wait to hop over to read part 7!! 😀

  26. Pingback: The Legacy of Milly, Part 6 | K. D. Dowdall

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