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…
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 of 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.