The Legacy of Milly, Part 7

In Part 6, the quilt, Milly, and the children were VIPs aboard the Intrepid Museum in NYC.  What an event!  The museum’s Curator called me to say the quilt was too large to hang at the museum.  Their Executive Board unanimously agreed to give the quilt to the Fisher House Foundation – which was started by Zachary Fisher, who also rescued the USS Intrepid.  So, we were off again…

Part 7

We arrived at the Massachusetts Fisher House with children and families in tow to deliver the quilt.  It was to be a proper send-off.  In turn, they would send the quilt on to the Fisher House Foundation.

Beth the Director abruptly excused herself to make a phone call.  She had seen the quilt and looked rather shocked.  We all looked at each other in very uncomfortable silence.  It didn’t help that you could hear a pin drop in this new, way-too-quiet house.

“Jennie, I have just called the Fisher Foundation and have spoken with their Director.”

“Okay…”  I had no idea where this was going.  Maybe they didn’t want to mail something so large?  Oh please, don’t let everything fall apart, especially not in front of Milly and the children.  Boy, was I wrong!

“We want the quilt.  We would be proud to hang it here.  Do you know how many families with children stay at the Fisher House?  Think what it would mean to them, do for them, to see this quilt every day.”

My mind was scrambling to switch gears.  And, I was taken aback thinking of the families of soldiers and sailors.  Who really needs to see this quilt?  They do.  Think Jennie, the quilt would make a difference.

“I have worked this out with the Fisher Foundation.  They think it is a wonderful idea.  What do you think?”

I looked at Milly.  She nodded and smiled.  Even her eyes smiled.

“I think that would be wonderful, Beth.  Thank you.  Where will you hang the quilt?”

“Come with me.”

We all trotted over to the living room, the main room in the house.  Hanging in a place of prominence was a large abstract oil painting.  It was black and white, a series of sharp lines that looked like something angry.  Goodbye ugly painting, and hello beautiful quilt.

At last the children were able to get back to the quilt presentation.

We sang “God Bless America” for a small crowd.  Then we presented Beth with a copy of our book.  It would be there at the house for children and families to read (photos of the inside of the book are in Part 5):

“Jennie, we have some soldiers here in the den.  Can you and the children sing “God Bless America” for them?  Could you sing to them with the book?”

And so we did.  With the book.  That was perhaps the most moving time I have ever had singing “God Bless America.”  One soldier said to me as soon as we finished, “That book needs to go to the Wounded Warrior Project.  It really does.  It’s wonderful.”

I had no idea what the Wounded Warrior Project was.

“They need to put that book into the hands of people.  Everyone needs this.”  The soldier went on and on in great excitement.  It was as if the book would give people another layer of pride, something pure from young children.  I understood.  And, I thanked her.

“No, thank you.” she said.  I was choked up.  All I could do was nod my head- about a hundred times.

And so, the God Bless America quilt hangs proudly at the Massachusetts Fisher House.  I’m so glad!

When we got back home, I contacted Jessica, the Curator at the Intrepid Museum, to get an appropriate contact for the Wounded Warrior Project.  I envisioned they might do something like give a copy of the “God Bless America” book for a donation of a certain amount off money.  Well, that story did not have a happy ending.  My kind letter to the Wounded Warrior Project (he was high up the ladder) along with the book was returned with a rather curt note of  “Not interested.  We have no use for this.”  And that was that.  I still think the soldier was right, and Wounded Warrior was wrong.  Sometimes life just goes like that.

School was nearly over.  I got a call from Beth at the Fisher House.  Apparently, when a new Fisher House is built, Congressional Medal of Honor recipients are there at the grand opening.  Can you imagine?  And then, on the one-year anniversary of a new Fisher House, there is another celebration.  Members of the Fisher family and many other guests are there.  How exciting!

I thought perhaps Beth just wanted me to know.  Then, I thought perhaps I would be on the guest list, or maybe Milly would be on the guest list.  Wrong on both counts.  Her call was far different.  I was shocked… stay tuned for Part 8.



About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty 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 am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in art, Early Education, Giving, Imagination, Inspiration, military, patriotism, quilting, Singing, The Arts, wonder, young children and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to The Legacy of Milly, Part 7

  1. Ritu says:

    Oh, this is just so wonderful! Between you and Milly, you affected so many lives Jennie!

  2. TanGental says:

    This is a fabulous tale that I’m only just catching up with. I have a quilting story to tell you sometime, not mine but my wife’s as I sat on the sidelines lost in admiration.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Tan. Your wife’s quilting story sounds like it must be wonderful.

      • TanGental says:

        She was commissioned by the V&A via a quilting charity she worked with at the time – Fine Cell – that teaches quilting to prisoners as part of a rehabilitation programme to manage the production of a prisoners quilt for the V&As first ever quilt exhibition. They chose this because one of the stars of the show was a quilt made by female prisoners being transported to Australia in the 1810s who were given material to make quilts by a charity led by prison reformer Elizabeth Fry and which is part of the Australian national collection. It’s called the Rajah Quilt after the ship on which it was made. It took her the best part of three years, with many ups and downs to create the final piece

      • Jennie says:

        Wow! WOW! Impressive and humbling and inspiring and such an honor. Interesting to see that they used a paper overly. Makes perfect sense. The design is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with me.

      • TanGental says:

        She loved it even having to deal with the arty politics that swirls around such an event…

  3. Dan Antion says:

    This story just keeps getting better. What an amazing adventure for the children.

  4. srbottch says:

    It keeps getting better and better. A wonderful story with so many good feel nag in so many levels. Can’t wait for 8!

  5. This is such a wonderful story! 🙂

  6. beetleypete says:

    I can imagine you being choked up by the soldier, but it was not nice of the Wounded Warrior Project to be so curt. On to part 8! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. Darlene says:

    Another wonderful episode. This project certainly mushroomed. I was surprised at the response from The Wounded Warrior Project but perhaps they have a different agenda. I can’t wait to hear the next part of this amazing adventure.

    • Jennie says:

      It certainly did mushroom, far more than I thought. And the mushroom hasn’t stopped growing yet. 🙂 I understand the Wounded Warrior Project was totally revamped after that. I have often thought I should try again. Thank you, Darlene. I’m so glad you’re enjoying this adventure.

  8. Opher says:

    A wonderful experience. Should have sung This Land Is Your Land though.

  9. Norah says:

    Ooh, Jennie, this is so exciting. I have been waiting and waiting for Part 7. Now I’m going to have to wait again. What a wonderful contribution you make.

  10. Simply incredible, Jennie. America is an amazing country.

  11. Super story, Jennie. You have to believe the book fell into the hands of a clerk at Wounded Warrior. Can’t wait for episode 8.

  12. Another goose-pimple inducing post! What happens next? Sitting on the edge of my chair waiting to find out!

  13. Wounded Warrior’s original project has since been revamped – don’t remember details, but when I did horse therapy with a group that had a program for WW, the veterans and their families were wonderful to work with, the WW hierarchy not so much.
    I love your story because it is wonderfully written and true, too!

    • Jennie says:

      I heard about the WW revamping. That was quite a story. Who knows, I might try again one day. Thank you so much, Laura. I’m glad you love the story. Your kind words are much appreciated. 🙂

  14. What a wonderful, incredible story, one that I will always remember. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and Milly’s, the children and your story will live on forever.

  15. This is a beautiful and interesting story-can not wait for the next post.

  16. Sarah says:

    Goodby ugly abstract painting and good ridance! So much better to hang this beautiful quilt in the living room of the Fisher House!! A very wise decision! 😀

  17. Every chapter is a delight…other than the Wounded Warrior exec. Sad soul that he is, this little book could have lifted his spirits. His loss. Looking forward to chapter 8. 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Sad soul- I love that, Marlene! Quite true, too. Thank you for reading and enjoying these stories. I am truly so glad. You always put a smile on my face. 🙂

  18. dgkaye says:

    Just loving this heartwarming story Jennie. You do know how to keep us hanging! 🙂

  19. Now I can not wait to read the next part. 🙂

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