I got the bones of the project completed, gathered some odds and ends of things I had collected over the years for a shadow box I was going to make (like back in, oh....1989? I have stated on here before that I'm a starter not a finisher right?) But alas, it was rather empty and needed somethings.
In July of 2012, we went back to Fox Chase Cancer treatment center in Philadelphia with my sister, where her doctor gave her approximately two weeks to live. An absolute and utter shock to us all. Still reeling from the news, and with two days before our flight home, we did what we had done for the last 4 years of treatments in Boston and Philly -- we went to some historical places and tried to LIVE those last two weeks. Strangely enough, although I think it was a way of coping for us, we looked for little things along the way to incorporate into this configuration box.
Needless to say, when we got home, it was the last thing on our minds. We spent that last few weeks together and my beautiful sister stepped into Heaven on August 18, just a month later.
Getting back to scrapping or anything took awhile for me, and finishing this box was just too difficult to face. I knew my sister wanted me to finish it and she had specifically purchased some things for me on that last trip to Gettysburg just for that reason. So as I thought about it, I decided that I wanted the different boxes to represent our travels together to different historical places, learning about our nation's history.
As I got started working on the project, I realized that it was missing something and decided that the Tim Holtz vials and labels would be perfect. I just needed dirt from the different places we had been. This is where I enlisted friends who were on vacation and visiting these places to please gather some dirt for me and bring it back, and they did! A huge thank you to Paul and Kara, Christy, and Becky for helping me. And thanks to the lady at the Dobbin House Tavern Country Store in Gettysburg for mailing me the mini cannon that we missed getting that last night together in Gettysburg last July.
So without further ado, here is my patriotic configurations memory box, dedicated to my beautiful sister Melissa. I miss her every day, miss sharing her love of history, and I treasure the precious memories we made in Boston, Lexington, Concord, Philadelphia, Valley Forge, and Gettysburg.
Corner one is about the Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts. Included in this section is a lantern from Tim holtz Ideaology collection that actually lights up! I saw it and knew it had to go in this project. A small charm of the church is in the front and in the back is an empty vial for some dirt from the Old North Church waiting to be filled just as soon as I can find a friend visiting Boston. So if anyone is visiting Boston soon and can get me some dirt from the Old North Church, let me know!
Betsy Ross gets the next section. Although disputed in some circles, she is widely believed to have been the one to make the first American Flag. While in Philadelphia, we visited her home. Yes, this vial is also empty, waiting for any of my friends to make the trek to the birthplace of our nation. The flag and spools here are from a Jolee's sticker set and I thought they were perfect!
The Betsy Ross House is small, and you can tour it which we did. We loved the way it looked on the front with the shutters and flag.
Here are Mom and Miss next to Betsy's grave in the courtyard of her home.James Otis, Jr. He was called by Samuel Adams, "The Patriot" because he was one of the first to speak out against the crown and to argue for liberty and civil rights. He is best known for his argument in court against the Writs of Assistance, heavy taxes levied on colonists, as well as unjust search and seizure. He represented over 60 colonial businesses in his 5 hour argument and trial. He lost the case, but from that trial was born the spirit of Independence and is what earned him the name "The Patriot." Many from that time considered him to be the originator of the American Revolution.
Included in this section is a bird cage - representing the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, and the tyranny of the Crown. Attached to it is a word tag that says INSPIRE (both are Tim Holtz Ideaology) because it was James Otis who inspired other patriots, which leads to the American Eagle which is free of the cage and has his wings spread wide in independence. Included in this section is a vial of dirt from James' grave site in the Granary Burial Ground in Boston (Thank you Becky!) and one his home town of Barnstable, Massachusetts. (Thank you Christy!)
costumed tour guide for the Freedom Trail. All of the guides assume the role of someone from Revolutionary Boston, and who did we get but James Otis himself! I couldn't believe it! We all three looked at each other stunned. Seriously, we could not have planned that. It's one of those things that only God takes care of and it is also one of those little things that shows that He cares intimately about us and our lives, and assures me that if He cares about the little things in our lives, how much more about the big ones, like my sister's battle with cancer.
Mount Vernon, George's family home and estate, but a friend did and got me some dirt. (Thanks Christy!) Included here is a pen nib (Tim Holtz Ideaology) an antique quill or pencil sharpener, a bust of George Washington himself and in the back is a nod to his time as a General. I thought it looked kind of military. It is a random piece I found in a bag of jewelry junk and I attached the star charm to the front (TH Ideaology) and painted it. Above is a word charm (TH Ideaology) that says Imagine, because I think that George never could have imagined what his life would hold. I covered the hole on the charm with a star brad. If anyone is going to Valley Forge, I would love to add a small vial of dirt from Valley Forge here since we did make it out there.
National Constitution Center, they have 42 life-size bronze statues of all the signers of the Constitution in Signer's Hall, and you can sign it as well in the book in the front of this photograph. Here we all three are with the statue of George Washington as they try to depict what it might have been like on that day back in 1787. It reminds me of the bust in the project.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Also two pen nibs (TH Ideaology) signifying the signing of our two most important documents, and a vial of dirt from Independence Hall. (Thanks again Christy!)
Here we are in the very room in Independence Hall where both documents were signed.
And here we are that last day we left Philadelphia to come home. Melissa didn't feel well at all and the heat and humidity were just oppressive, but on all our previous trips the hall had been covered in screens because they were refurbishing it. This was the only trip that the screens had been taken down and we wanted a picture. She pushed through and we made it out there and got that picture bless her heart. She was one amazing woman! (A special thank you to the random lady who took this picture for us and also to the nice person at some booth on the lawn who gave me a bottle of cold water for Miss. There were always caring people around throughout our journeys who blessed us and probably didn't realize how much.)
Gettysburg Battle Field. It is the farthest the Confederate line was able to advance before they were beaten back by Union forces and is where the battle of Gettysburg was essentially won by the Union.
From the Friend to Friend monument near Gettysburg National Cemetery -
Union General Winfield Scott Hancock and Confederate General Lewis Addison Armistead were personal friends. Although they had served and fought side by side in the United States army prior to the Civil War, Armistead refused to raise his sword against his fellow Southerners and joined the Confederate Army in 1861.
Hancock and Armistead fought heroically in the previous twenty-seven months of the war but eventually met at Gettysburg. During Pickett's Charge, Armistead led his men gallantly, penetrating Hancock's line at the High Water Mark. Ironically, when Armistead was mortally wounded, Hancock was also wounded.
Depicted in this sculpture is Union Captain Henry Bingham, staff assistant to General Hancock, himself wounded, rendering aid to the fallen Confederate General. Armistead is shown handing his watch and personal effects to be taken to his friend, Union General Hancock, which Bingham did deliver to his lifelong friend. Hancock survived the war and died in 1886. Armistead died at Gettysburg July 5, 1863.
Melissa with one of the many cannons along Cemetery Ridge.Liberty Tree, found in many commons around the colonies where patriots gathered to discuss and make plans for the Revolution. Since I couldn't really find something for that, I decided to use the bingo numbers and word charm (TH Ideaology) as the theme for this section. 1776 was the year of the battles of Concord and Lexington. Bells were rung in Philadelphia to summon people to Independence Hall to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Liberty Bell could very well have been one of those bells. The word Courageous because it took great courage for those standing on Lexington Green against the British Regulars and those patriots who fought them at the Old North Bridge in Concord where the Shot Heard Round the World was fired. It also took great courage for the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. In signing that document they were putting their lives and fortunes on the line for the cause.
Mom with the Liberty Bell that is now in a building near Independence Hall.
|The Minute Men Statue|
The Old North Bridge - sight of the Battle of Concord. This is actually where the "Shot Heard Round the World" was fired. That is my sister on the bridge. Word had spread after the minor Battle in Lexington and the minute men began coming from far and near to Concord, the Regulars were on the far side of the river and the militia on the side where I am taking the picture. The Regulars split up to look for the military supplies and this gave the militia a chance to advance on the regulars here at the bridge. No one knows who fired the first shot, but in the ensuing battle, the Regulars were overwhelmed and out numbered. It was a major victory for the colonial militia!
A statue to the Minute Men was also erected on the other side of the North Bridge.
Mom and Miss in Franklin Court. The place where he had his home (behind me taking the picture) and his printing and offices as well as the post office in the buildings in the picture.
Ben and Deborah Franklin's Grave in Christ Church Burial Ground. As previously discussed, it is common to leave something on a grave recognizing you have been there and paid your respects. They leave pennies on Ben's grave because of his saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned."
Melissa placing a penny on the site monument of the Gettysburg Address. People often place something on grave sites or monuments to signify that they have been there and left their respects. It is often a stone or some such marker, but in this case, because Lincoln is on the penny, people left pennies on the monument.
Lincoln slept here! Really! David Wills House in Gettysburg.Dobbin House Tavern in Gettysburg. Their King's Onion Soup is the very best out there! If you are ever in Gettyburg, don't miss this place!!
The House of Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts. We really enjoyed the little seaside town of Salem.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts. Final resting place for many authors including, Ralph Waldo Emerson (grave pictured here), Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Melissa is covered up in this picture because the treatment she was undergoing for her cancer used a drug that was photo-sensitive and she had to be completely covered or she would get a horrible sunburn from even just lights in a room. But she didn't just want to stay in the hotel, she wanted to be out living and experiencing things, so off to Concord we went!
The Colonial Inn in Concord, MA. My two very favorite things there are the lobster mac n cheese and the kramer (1/2 cider and 1/2 iced tea). On one trip we took our aunt with us.
Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House in Concord as well. This is where she wrote Little Women in the room just to the upper left. And after you do the tour here, go next door to The Wayside, home of the Alcott's, Nathaniel Hawthorne and eventually Margaret Sidney who wrote the Five Little Peppers books and had the foresight with her husband to make the home one of the first preserved as a national historical site.
Sweeney's Tavern in the Farnsworth House Inn. The food is ok, nothing great, but we enjoyed the atmosphere and it was the place where we tried Hot Buttered Rum. (It was horrific by the way!)
And so, as you can see, despite battling cancer for 7 1/2 years, she lived life and we have all these precious memories and more to remember her by. I am so looking forward to meeting her in Heaven and continuing our love of learning and adventure together. If we had this much fun together here, and we saw God's hand in it all along the way, how much more fun and adventure will we have in Heaven with Him and each other, where there will be no cancer and no illness and no tears and never ever any more death.