Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Princess Party for the Royal Wedding

Did any of you watch the Royal Wedding?

My daughter, Jessica, and I had a Princess Party to watch the big event! I stayed overnight at her house Thursday.

At 3:00 am Friday morning we got up and prepared to watch the royal event.

The TV was set to the proper channel (although the wedding was being broadcast on SEVERAL channels!) (Note the time on the bottom left of the screen!)

Jessica set her computer up to show two live web sites of the wedding.

The dogs were wondering why their mommy got them up at three-in-the-frigging morning!

I made tea.

We had some sweets.

And of course, we had tiaras!

Soon Venus settled down next to Grandma. She wasn't interested in all the hoopla.

I mean, seriously, how could she not get excited over this?

Or this?

Jessica and I were riveted to the screen. We hated to take a potty break, but with all that tea drinking, we had no choice!

Kate looked so gorgeous in her wedding gown. It was simple, but beautiful.

I sure hope she can withstand the pressure of Royal life and that their marriage will last. They looked so much in love!

Pretty soon the littlest princess woke up.

"Grandma princess!" she said.

"Do you want to wear your crown?" I asked Lily.


So I handed her the crown and this is how she wore it.

Mommy adjusts her crown.

Thanks Mom!

Lily really liked my crown. I gave it to her and this is how she wore that one. My true little princess.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Boys Town Part Two

Continuing on our tour of Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska, this is the Hall of History. It is filled to the rafters with information on how the place first started, pictures from the past, and so much memorabilia.

The first thing you see when you enter the building are all these enlarged newspaper clippings hanging from the ceiling. These are copies of the clippings that were found in Father Flanagan's desk drawer that he had saved about children he needed to rescue and bring to Boys Town.

These are the original five boys that first came to to Boys Town.

One of the first boys to come to the home was crippled. The older boys took turns carrying him around.

"He Ain't Heavy, Father...He's M'Brother" This statement and this symbol was copyrighted for Boys Town in 1943.

Daily life back in the 1930's and '40's began with the boys waking up to this bugle's reveille at 6:30 a.m.

They made their beds before eating breakfast in the dining hall. Their day was filled with school work or vocational training courses. In the evenings, the boys enjoyed hobbies such as stamp collecting, model building and listening to the radio. With the sound of taps at 9:00 pm, each boy returned to the "apartment" he shared with 25 roommates to get ready for bed. They kept their apartment clean and earned money for completing their work. They spent their weekly allowance of 25 to 40 cents on candy apples or personal items in the Boys Town store.

The whole community gathered for daily meals, a regular Sunday night movie, and religious services on the weekend. Special events and holidays, plays and musicals, and annual Fourth of July picnic, and a large Christmas celebration fostered community spirit.
(courtesy of Hall of History)

Do you remember the movie "Boys Town" starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney?

This is the Oscar that Spencer Tracy won for Best Actor in 1938.

Spencer Tracy had this engraved on the bottom of the statue and gave it to Father Flanagan. In case you can't read it, it says, "To Father Edward J. Flanagan whose great human qualities, kindly simplicity and inspiring courage were strong enough to shine through my humble efforts." Spencer Tracy

This plaque reads, "Academy First Award to Spencer Tracy for his performance in 'Boys Town'"

Across from the Hall of History is the Garden of the Bible. It is a small, beautiful garden with roses and a pond.

Here the Ten Commandments are displayed.

I remember when this child was abducted. It was near where my husband grew up.

This is Jacob's tree.

This little area was off to the side. That is the Angel of Hope in the center. This area is for children who died at a young age.

If you look closely, you will see the word "Hope" written into the angel's wings.

Father Flanagan believed that religion was a part of the children's life at Boys Town. The boys were Protestant, Catholic and Jewish. To meet their religious needs, two churches were built. (A Jewish synagog is available in a nearby community.) This is the Protestant church, Chambers Chapel. It wasn't open for tours.

This is the Catholic church, Dowd Chapel.

We were able to walk inside.

The beautiful stained glass window in the back of the church and the huge pipe organ.

Off to the side in a separate chapel is Father Flanagan's Tomb. A fitting memorial for a honorable, decent, humble man who contributed so much to our society.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Boys Town

One place I really wanted to visit while we were in Omaha, Nebraska was Boys Town. I wasn't sure WHAT to expect, but I didn't expect to see what we saw!

We started out at the Visitors Center.

Click to enlarge the historical marker sign to get a little of the history of Boys Town.

Inside the Visitors Center is a cafeteria, gift shop, and stamp museum, where you will find the "World's Largest Ball of Stamps".

This hunk of stamps is 32 inches in diameter and weighs 600 pounds! It consists of 4,655,000 postage stamps! And yes, it IS listed in Ripley's Believe it or not!

Behind the stamp ball is a mural, also made out of stamps.

Close up of stamps on mosaic

It is free to tour the grounds of Boys Town, but I recommend stopping at the Visitors Center and pick up the CD that guides you throughout the area. It requires a $5 donation (and they requested you to return the CD). It is well worth it.

Father Flanagan's Boys Home was officially founded in December of 1917 and moved to different sites until Overlook Farm was purchased in May of 1921. "By 1925 the Home had provided care to 1,790 boys from 29 states and 25 nationalities; 1,100 were Protestant, 626 Catholic and 57 Jewish. In his lifetime, Father Flanagan cared for over 19,000 boys in the Home and influenced the care of vulnerable youth throughout the world."
courtesy of Boys Town pamplet

It certainly has grown from then! This is called Flanagan House.

It was closed the day we visited, but inside includes Father Flanagan's office, the first chapel, dormitory, school room and nuns quarters.

Across from the building were blocks that were donated from alumni and family members. Some of the messages are so heartwarming!

Boys Town accept children (they began accepting girls in 1979) who are ages 10-18 and are neglected, abused, homeless or other similar situations.

They attend Middle School:

high school,

or vocational center.

They have a large field house for their sporting activities.

I was surprised to learn of the living situation.

"Six to eight boys or girls live in each single-family home with a married couple called Family-Teachers. Many of these children have serious emotional and behavioral problems. They have not been able to stay in their own family’s home but can function safely in a community setting. Family-Teachers and their assistants provide compassionate, effective treatment while meeting the daily needs of each child. During their stay, children learn social skills, attend school, participate in extracurricular activities and take part in daily chores and activities as members of their Treatment Home family. The ultimate goal is to reunify children with their families, whenever possible. These children come to the program from other Boys Town programs, through referrals by agencies like social services and juvenile justice, or through private placements by parents or other caregivers. The average length of stay is 12 to 18 months. When children leave, they generally return to their families or begin to live on their own (usually working, attending college or joining the military)."
courtesy of 

Here are a couple of the homes that were located on a regular residential street. The Family-Teachers do not have any other job - their job is to be there for these kids 24 hours.

These are girls dorms where there are also Family-Teachers.

To be continued....