13 May 2009

A Tale of Love and Support in Concord, MA

We would like to share with you the following incredible story that occurred yesterday:

In the early morning hours of 12 May 2009, fire ravaged two stores on Main Street in Concord, Massachusetts: Fritz and Gigi's - The Children's Shop and Churchill Flowers. Fortunately, the lone apartment dweller above these businesses managed to call the fire department and get out safely. These businesses were located in historic buildings, and although they are likely to be structurally sound, the interiors -- complete with fine old woodworking details and generations of memories for Concord shoppers -- along with all the merchandise, are total losses. Re-building will proceed apace for these folks, but will take several months at the least before they can get back on solid ground. In our already awful economic climate, this could not have come at a worse time for these business owners.

Fritz and Gigi's is owned by the Kussin family, long-time Concord residents. The Kussins are also direct descendants of the Alcotts ...

Upon hearing the news of the fire (communicated to us by a Staff member driving his son to school), we immediately went to the store to express our concern and offer any help. When Louisa Alcott Yamartino (the great-great-granddaughter of Anna Alcott Pratt) saw us, the first thing she said was: "We saved your [VOTE!] sign! It didn't get burned!" That, we assured her, was the least of our concerns. Nonetheless, she insisted that we put the sign back on the lawn in front of the store right away! Then, after walking through the devastation and asking again what we could possibly do to help them, Louisa quite seriously answered: "Keep voting!" She honestly admitted that the success of Orchard House in the Partners in Preservation contest would help her family feel better about what was currently happening to them.

What a selfless thing to say and feel. What incredible resilience in the face of adversity. And, it was just so Alcott ...

Everyone associated with Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House is extraordinarily honored to be acquainted with the Kussin family, and wish them nothing but the best in the coming days, weeks, and months. We have already helped to organize community-wide relief efforts for the family, and hope to not let them down in these last days of the contest. We offer this story as great testament to the power of believing in a cause, and hope it provides you with another great example of how "this place matters!" (To read an article in our local paper about the fire and efforts to help the family, please click here.)

Please vote for Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House in the Partners in Preservation contest. On-line voting ends this Sunday, 17 May 2009 at midnight. We have made incredible progress -- moving from 15th to 14th to 13th place -- in only three days! With your help, we know we can succeed!

To cast your ballot for us to win a $100,000 preservation grant, click here. Thank you!

1 comment: