I have a voice! We all do! ~jummyjeenz
Proud to be a woman!
A letter in response to controversial sculpture: Seagull Cinderella By: Donna Dodson
Dear Neighbors and friends,
Has Seagull Cinderella misrepresented herself to be something other than what she is? I don’t believe that she has. I too was born and raised in New Beige, and I am ecstatic that my home town made it on the top 10 list of most artistic towns in the US. Included in a wonderful list with San Juan Puerto Rico, Taos New Mexico, and Hudson Valley New York to name a few. Varied works of art will only add to the richness of our beautiful and vibrant city while bringing together many different individuals from all corners of the world. I’m proud to be a woman and an artist, as well as a huge supporter of the arts within our communities. For me positive images of women in our world are a welcomed site to see. Something that we don’t quite see enough of on a daily basis.
Seagull Cinderella has stood proudly at our Seaport with the salt air gently kissing her beak. Once only an artist’s vision suddenly brought to life with great excitement and creativity. A tastefully reserved vision of femininity and pride. Is it possible that a woman’s figure in 2016 can still be this offensive? Even when smoothed and hidden behind the layers of thick white paint on a bird like creature? What about the very detailed bronze sculptures in the city or even the life-like mannequins in your local mall? Are these not also offensive? Video games? Sitcoms? Music videos? These are things that children are exposed to on a daily basis. Why no love for a feminine seagull in a colorfully tailored dress? Please I ask that you only take a moment to view the world around you and realize that a simple silhouette of a woman’s figure should not be offensive in any way, for the image of this very figure is what has given us all life. In 2016 breasts should never be an issue of contention. Some more important issues are hate, censorship, objectification, violence, and inequality. Kindness and more beauty in the world is what we all need! This very sculpture was created by the very kind and talented artist Donna Dodson. A family friendly image of an elegant, proud, mother-like seagull. Seagull Cinderella was praised and adored by many throughout her travels until her stop at our seaport. I too understand that art is subjective. Not everyone is going to like all art, and that’s ok. However my hope is that by her presence here you too will learn to love this sculpture, or at least accept her presence as a gentle giant and proud feminine figure. Spread Kindness!
(When reality is limited the imagination is infinite)
The idea of simultaneously nurturing the right and left brain throughout our entire lives.
I have come to the realization that the world puts limitations on us all, but our imaginations are infinite. Hence the appeal of delving deep into your own mind and finding undiscovered treasures lurking around each corner, and then bringing them to light through music, writing, art, poetry, or creating something with your hands. When the world puts road blocks or hurdles in the way I always have another world that I can retreat to. This road is always clear with winding paths, twists, turns, and many self discoveries along the way. Here I make the rules and I am never wrong because it is strictly a place of my own invention, the embodiment of who I am at the very core. My imagination melds this infinite world with the varied experiences that I have lived and shared with others in the real world. These two worlds can work harmoniously together. Just Imagine.
Imagination is something that I was taught to explore at a very young age, a lesson that most children learned in grammar school. Although as we age most individuals lose that infinite world in exchange for the reality that we have that can be limiting at times. As artists we hold on tightly to this amazing gift of imagination that we were made aware of as children. We are told to stop daydreaming, grow up, and get a grip on reality. Music and art programs are eliminated from the some school curriculum, the very things that balanced out our grammar school days. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are of my art and music teachers in kindergarten through sixth grade. Why not weave these creative elements throughout? What would our world look like if people were encouraged to look inward and use their imaginations long after grammar school? Music, poetry, and art could be integrated into the daily office grind. There could be mandatory creativity classes for all employees to relieve stress and create balance. The unlocking of the right brain may be exactly what our world needs to help combat the difficult times and many bumps on the road of life. Would anyone ride a bike when if only the left pedal was working? I don’t think so. I believe that it would only enhance our world and allow us all to have a broader and richer outlook on life. Perhaps maybe even a better understanding of one another. When hope is hard to come by this infinite world is full of just that, and more can always be created. So I say keep dreaming, never fully grow up, and lose your grip on reality once in a while for there are infinite worlds to be explored.
Still time To Save The Prouty Garden
When I found out about the upcoming hearing and that a final decision would soon be made regarding the Prouty Garden my fingers began typing almost immediately. Although with appeals and a lawsuit still pending there is still time to save what is so precious to so many. I have been a patient, volunteer, and employee at this hospital and have experienced on many different levels, the healing properties that this hospital’s garden has to offer. Over the years as a patient, volunteer, and employee I have lost many friends and gained many friends at Children’s hospital. My knowledge of the Prouty Garden was something that I was always so proud to share with everyone. They would know about this wonderful natural resource that was right there and available to them for the duration of their hospital stay.
In light of all the political controversy going on in this country for some the Prouty Garden may seem so small and insignificant. Although for many of us the garden represents so much of what is good about this country. It’s like a tiny melting pot right here in the middle of our bustling city. Everyone is there for the same reason, simply to get well, but within the process many different worlds meet within this sacred place. This is a place where many different age groups, classes, religions, ethnicities, and alternative lifestyles, all converge amongst the swaying trees of the garden. Within this garden we set aside our differences and find our sameness through empathy, caring for others, and together we take notice of our the natural world and absorb its gifts. In my mind this garden should remain forever as an example of what we wish for our world as a whole. The fight to keep the Prouty Garden has also connected so many individuals from various different backgrounds who otherwise may have never met.
Nature is very much a part of the soul of our world and we have lost sight of its natural calming and healing abilities. There is an innate ability for the natural world to reach in and touch a part of us that is untouched and can’t be reached by any technology or human being for that matter. Trees reach above and below the earth stretching their branches and reaching out to us, and so often in our society we do not see or feel this connection. Although I can tell you all that within the Prouty Garden everyone is connected, and their spirits heal and thrive because of this very connection to nature and to each other. The doctors, nurses, and staff at this hospital do an amazing job facilitating that healing process, and many of them also understand the benefits of the continued healing through nature, which includes contact with the grass, trees, flowers, bunnies, birds, snails, water, and fresh air. The Prouty Garden has the ability to make everyone who steps out into it feel as if they are in a beautiful magical garden far away from procedures, operations, tests, and difficult decisions. If only a moment for some, or hours for another, no therapist could ever have the same instantaneous soothing capabilities that this garden possesses. Sure Boston Children’s Hospital is ranked #1 in the country, but let’s not forget that the Prouty Garden has also contributed to this ranking. There is something to be said about healing the whole person. You can’t just heal the body and not the mind. Indoors the body is being made well, but outside those hospital doors is where the mind begins its healing process within the Prouty Garden. If you ever have the chance to sit quietly in that garden soaking it in and observing others around you, you too will feel all that it has to offer. It’s a calm, serene, irreplaceable resource for playing, grieving, and healing for all.
To the decision makers:
I ask that you please consider the difficult decisions being made here by doctors, nurses, and caregivers on a daily basis and the solace and serenity that the garden provides them to make calm, rational, and well thought out decisions that will affect the lives of so many.
I ask that you please consider before you make your decision how this will affect the morale of the caregivers that go into work every day and selflessly dedicate themselves to saving as well as enriching the lives of others. This garden assists them in doing so.
I ask that you please keep in mind that the long term patients hospitalized for months, some years, they benefit the most from this garden retreat. For them this garden is their holiday destination, their family’s gathering place, their birthday party location, their campsite, their ball park, their schoolhouse, the place where they gain strength and find hope.
I ask that you please consider the sacred ground where the ashes of children were sprinkled because their parents believed wholeheartedly in the promise that Boston Children’s Hospital etched upon a plaque that stated that the Prouty Garden would “exist as long as Children’s Hospital has patients, families, and staff to enjoy it.” Oh and they do!
I ask that you do not take lightly the fact that many families chose this very garden as the place, the tranquil spiritual place where their child would take their very last breath.
I ask that you please consider the children that have wanted to take their own lives when the grey walls became too much to bare, and access to the deep healing that this garden provides was denied due to construction close by.
I ask that you please consider that this garden provides a much needed balance between technology and nature that so few are lucky enough to have within our busy society. The success of this hospital is due to the amazing treatments and care that is provided by the staff, but also due to the balance that is offered by the natural resource which is the Prouty Garden.
I ask that you please acknowledge the healing that this garden has provided to my family and to countless other families over the years. Also, to not underestimate its abilities to continue providing that same level of healing for many years to come for all patients that walk through those doors.
I ask that you please consider that the level of care provided at this hospital should be maintained along with the garden and available to every child in need, not only for some. Until every child is well!
Lastly I just want to state my definition of the Prouty Garden.
The Prouty Garden:
A generous gift and memorial from Olive Prouty, a historical Olmstead Brothers creation, providing healing to families, patients and staff, the last resting place for some children, the first grass touched by others, a tried and true healing garden, but most of all for so many of us who have felt its power….
It is the heart and soul of Boston Children’s Hospital. ~ jummyjeenz
To help this cause go to: saveprouty.org (sign the petition, donate, spread the word)
Many Voices Still Unheard
Current needs vs future needs: Both can be met
In my personal opinion the news broadcasts all briefly touched upon what the garden means to people. However, I just wish that there was so much more available to the public about the depth of connection to this garden, and how devastated people are at the thought of this resource being gone forever. If you could hear about the woman from Maine who is used to living on large farm and is now living at the hospital with her daughter, for them the garden has been their saving grace. There are so many others like her that truly need that green space. One thing that was left out of the conversation is the possibility of building nearby on their very own property, which would give the hospital the ability expand but also maintain the garden as well. We keep hearing the same story and that this is the only option. However many know that this is not the case.
WBUR mentioned Jonathon Swersey of Newton has a 5-year-old daughter who’s been treated for cancer at Boston Children’s Hospital. They added a bit more information regarding his heartfelt speech which was very touching.
However I heard a few more details that I would like to share. He also mentioned that his daughter has spent four long years undergoing her cancer treatment at the hospital, and his younger daughter has pretty much grown up in the hospital as well, by her sisters side. Nobody has actually touched upon the fact that many healthy kids spend days, months, years within the hospitals walls supporting their siblings through difficult times. There are special programs at the hospital to help siblings adjust and to understand all of the difficult circumstances surrounding them, along with a 1/2 acre garden in which to escape, cope, or even grieve. A rooftop garden with no mature trees or private nooks in which to cry privately or just be alone, will not adequately serve the patients, families, and staff who need it the most.
There are actually some positions at the hospital that have a really high turnover rate due to the level of emotional difficulty that is imposed upon these employees. Imagine how that figure could drastically increase if Prouty garden is removed. Imagine a doctor making a difficult decision about operating on a child’s brain or spine and not having a quiet place in which to escape to other than four walls, to gather his or her thoughts on how best to proceed. Better yet imagine being stuck in your own home for a year with no access to your own back yard. Now think of the children and families with many belongings stacked upon the windows ledge in their room doubling as a built-in cabinet, beeping monitors all around, white walls, curtains, IV drips, and the smell of rubbing alcohol in the air. Wouldn’t you wish that you had access to a 1/2 ace garden with mature trees, bunnies, birds, and a fountain? Well, currently they do. Why would anyone want to take that away from them? This would be a huge disservice to the people currently benefiting from the gardens healing properties by only thinking of the needs of the future patients. The needs of both must be considered!
The people of the state of Massachusetts have not been fully heard regarding this matter, and that is a very sad result of politics and administrators constructing a picture of just what they want the public to believe.
What I witnessed on 10/20/2016 was a drastically different picture. A rather large group of newscasters seemed extremely interested in what Friends of Prouty Garden had to say in front of the statehouse’s gold dome beaming with sunlight. On this crisp fall day there was a good sized turnout of Prouty supporters which was pretty well-balanced by the number of reporters that attended. They were engaged, inquisitive, some even tearing up at the testimonies of various speakers, volunteers, doctors, a priest. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to see even more of this coverage.
Children’s Hospital keeps drawing focus on something that they have made the general public believe to be the facts. They want you to believe that Friends of Prouty Garden are against expansion, which is not the case at all. They are actually their allies because they are taking into consideration all of their patients, families, and staffs wishes.
In my own experiences I have spoken with countless individuals regarding this matter. All of the garden supporters that I have come into contact with have all expressed their love and deep gratitude for this hospital, as well as their staff. Most feel as if the administration is acting alone and not taking their own caregivers into consideration. I consider that very dishonorable for such a high ranking institution that would not exist without those very individuals that walk through their doors each and every day and deal with the most extreme and difficult cases.
Most garden supporters are not against expansion, they are for expansion as well, just in another location. New information has come to light regarding the ability for the hospital to build right on their very own property next to the garden, not on top of it. This way all of the needs of all of their patients will be addressed. So often in our society a line is drawn in the sand, and we are forced to make a choice upon which side to choose. In this case we do not have to choose any side. We can have both!
What a concept? We can have our cake and eat it too. How often do we get a chance to say that? So why not keep the garden and build where there are two outdated buildings
on their very own property? Or across the street for that matter? Politics?
Some may say that is the case.
The CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital Sandra Fenwick stated on WBUR
“This is for the children, it’s for the families, and it’s for the future,”
However quite frankly when you are ignoring the needs of a large amount of your staff, patients, families, and over 17,000 petition signers from within the community it then becomes more about the money and no longer about the people.
Friends of Prouty Garden supporters represent the past, present, and future patients, as well as their families.
They are also made up of doctors, nurses, social workers, respiratory care, priests, volunteers, artists, professionals, environmentalists and many others caring individuals who just know that saving the garden is the right thing to do. They represent an entire community of people. So, if you don’t know of anyone who has been chronically ill or who has been through cancer treatments, good for you. You are the lucky ones. However that is not the case for many others who are surprised by a difficult diagnosis and then forced to find sufficient coping mechanisms to get through each and every day, one minute at a time. This garden makes those minutes more bearable. So the next time you are stuck in your bed for a week with the flu and can’t bare it any longer, please think about the children and families at Children’s Hospital stuck for a year or more and what a world of difference an established healing garden means to them. What would it mean for current and future patients if it no longer existed?
Green-Spaces Are Not All Created Equal
(Prouty Healing Garden vs rooftop/indoor “gardens”)
No matter how many times they click their ruby slippers together, for some children it’s a very long road before they get that chance to go home. That is, if they ever get that chance. Although walking out into the Prouty Garden for many is like that moment in the Wizard Of Oz when Dorothy’s black and white world immediately changes to color.
Imagine having that feeling over and over again, that’s truly irreplaceable. For a child that has to undergo an array of procedures on a weekly basis, excitement doesn’t usually seem to be anywhere out on the horizon. However, the little gem known as the Prouty Garden shines brightly, providing just enough to elevate ones spirit, and connect them to the world outside the hospitals doors. A sense of normalcy, a feeling of being grounded, living.
Have you ever had the desire to be immersed within nature and feel the grass between your fingertips? Do you then immediately drive to the local mall and sit amongst the potted plants? I don’t believe that anyone would choose that option. Some people may drive to New Hampshire, Vermont, or visit Boston Public Gardens lush colorful landscape. Some may travel a short distance to walk along Arnold Arboretum’s meandering tree lined paths. I myself would probably stay local and spend a few hours within the arboretum. Luckily for many of us, we have that freedom to choose. Unfortunately, that is a luxury that is not afforded to chronically ill or terminally ill children at Boston Children’s Hospital. Currently they have their very own 1/2 acre arboretum, which is the Prouty Garden. For children with severely compromised immune systems that have to undergo many difficult procedures on a regular basis, this garden means everything to them and their families as well. You see, for many that are immune system compromised, have low blood counts, or are just far to weak to travel any distance, Olive Prouty has already provided just what they need. Maybe we should just start calling her Dr. Prouty, because she discovered a prescription where happiness, breathing easy, excitement, and relief are the only side effects.
We have all heard the term “Father Knows Best”, and in one case this is the truth.
Gus Murby from The Friends of Prouty Garden group did know what was best for him and his son. He is one individual who has repeatedly regained his ability to breathe, again, and again, from the healing properties that this garden possesses. Words cannot describe the quality of life, and level of care that this garden provided to Murby and his son in the most dire circumstances, that most parents could never even imagine. After two failed bone marrow transplants the garden is the place he chose to take his 17yr-old to say a final goodbye. He cannot fathom the idea of this amazing resource not being available to other families that will also have to trudge through the mud, scale the highest mountains, and dodge tumbling boulders that crash and fall at every step of the way along their paths.
As Gus says in his analogy of the Prouty Garden:
“Imagine a major power company proposing to dam the Grand Canyon, due to the tremendous amount of power that it could generate?
Yes, some people might be upset about the loss of this irreplaceable, iconic canyon. However, the power company promises to dig a bunch of smaller canyons in various locations, in order to improve people’s access to big holes in
the ground. In fact, this power company is planning to dig enough of these
holes that the cubic footage of the holes will be 25% greater than the cubic footage of the Grand Canyon. Would people be willing to accept this trade-off as an equivalent, or perhaps, preferred alternative to the original Grand Canyon?”
Mr. Murby also states “A large number of people have a direct understanding of
the importance of the Grand Canyon, so they would clearly reject this plan
as irresponsible — even mercenary, and a direct violation of national
But, the Prouty Garden is a resource that a much smaller number of people
even know about.
For those people who understand its significance, it has played a bigger
role in their lives than the Grand Canyon has in the lives of practically
everyone who believes the Grand Canyon should absolutely
be protected and preserved.”
He also mentioned: “When Dr. T. Berry Brazelton REFERS to the Prouty Garden as a
“sacred place”, he KNOWS what he’s talking about!”
In my opinion I believe that this father has made a very valid point!
For many people the Prouty Garden is their Grand Canyon. It may only be a 1/2 acre in size, but it should absolutely be protected, maybe even as conservation land. Why not? It has also had an immense impact on so many. Adding 25% more green-space on the rooftop and plants scattered inside and out, will not replace the connection that is achieved with a 1/2 acre garden oasis outside in a natural environment. There is no trade-off. Especially when there are other options. All green-spaces are NOT created equal.
A potted plant is NOT interchangeable with a Metasequoia (Dawn Redwood) rooted down deeply into the ground. A rooftop cannot replace being in touch with the living breathing earth beneath your feet and its tiniest inhabitants. A therapist no matter how well-trained they are, will never be able to reach in, touch, and heal as effectively as the gift that Olive Prouty has left behind, a tried and true healing garden. Thousands can attest to this, and thousands more in the future, if left untouched. Prouty Garden creates a much needed delicate balance between technology and nature, that is irreplaceable. Once gone, where will patients, caregivers, siblings, mothers, and fathers like Gus go to breathe freely once again?
Forever Rooted In Our Hearts
You will be forever missed!
You were so much more than they said you were.
Not merely just a garden, but an arboretum through the eyes of so many.
When emotions are intensified by unimaginable hardships, grief, and illness everything is amplified one-thousand times.
When you have been pushed so far to the edge and don’t know if there is a road back in which to return, life takes on a much deeper meaning.
Enveloped, immersed within this world of heightened sensitivity, is where value and worth were truly realized by so many.
A redwood tree became a forest in which to lose yourself within.
A small statue became a monument that you never got tired of visiting.
Roots and branches reached out like arms on a gentle giant holding on tightly to you so you wouldn’t slip away, and you trusted them completely.
This tree became a symbol of strength that many would continuously draw from when weak.
It became a beacon of hope reaching out to the sky and sharing it’s calm breezes to fill and heal weakened lungs.
Everything that surrounded it became a paradise to explore and hide away, forgetting that pain ever existed, at least for a moment.
Bunnies and birds suddenly became a menagerie growing larger everyday.
Nurses kind caring angels with an intuition like no other.
Doctors magical insightful sorcerers.
A garden became that wish come true.
The one that you would wish for if you had just one wish.
An impenetrable fortress where nothing can harm you.
A plaque with a promise became ancient scripture that many believed in wholeheartedly.
Farewell dear friend for we are all grieving over you, a promise, and the beauty and healing that so many will not be allowed to experience. Or will they?
Where there is soil, light, water, and hope ….seeds can still grow.
Positive energy, peace, and light ~jummyjeenz