Back in 2012, two great passions of mine became ignited by a single interview.
That year, I watched an interview with Dr. Ben Carson by Pat Robertson on the CBN program, The 700 Club. Dr. Carson was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University at the time and talked mainly about two points in his new book America the Beautiful:
Helping the underprivileged reach success.
Groundwork for Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness, established by our founding fathers.
I found both topics to be incredibly inspirational, and the American in me burst with pride. That inspiration led me to use my skills as an interior designer and live out the American Dream with my husband by establishing an online shop for quality American-Made home decor items, Dixie & Grace.
One of our featured items is a hand-engraved facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, created by José-María Cundin, a world renown artist and friend of mine, since the early 1990s.
Little did I know at the time of the interview that my story would come full circle when we donated a framed Declaration to the Carson Scholars Fund gala at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach.
Carson Scholars Fund: The Night My Dreams Collided
It took over a year to find a "master framer" that aligned with our values for José-María's engraving of the Declaration; we needed someone who understood decorative history and was a true "artist." We discovered Marcelo Bavaro, a 4th generation master framer.
In late 2014, a dear friend on the Event Committee for the Carson Scholars Fund asked if we would like to participate in the 2015 Paley-Carson Black Tie Gala. So, of course, I said yes as the Reading Rooms encourage inner-city children to "think big."
For some reason, everything began to unravel as the event drew near.
The handcrafted 23kt gold gilded frame surrounding the beautiful engraving of the Declaration arrived damaged the week before the event. We had to ship the frame back to New York, where the master craftsman worked, around the clock, to completely re-gild the frame, a process that usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. The framer was amazingly kind to do this.
Then, more disaster: the "re-gilded" frame was delayed in transit back to us because of severe weather and was not placed on the truck for local delivery the day of the event. In addition, we had committed to having the framed Declaration in the live auction that evening, so panic was setting in.
My husband headed to the FedEx facility in his tux and somehow was able to find the crate with the frame, with literally minutes to spare. Then, in a mad dash to, The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, we arrived at the private preview party a few minutes before it started. Then, just as we set the glorious document on the easel, Dr. Carson and his wife, Candy, walked up behind us and commented how amazing it looked.
Dr. Ben Carson with Paul & Sara Fattori at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach holding the hand-engraved facsimile of the Declaration of Independence by José-María Cundin. Federal Period frame hand-gilded in 23 karat gold leaf.
They stood with us as they talked about the sacrifices made by those 56 men who signed the document, and we marveled at the fact that many Americans do not know the rich history and America's fundamental freedoms enshrined in Jefferson's written words.
At that moment, it all clicked. The Declaration of Independence on display was a beautiful symbol for what the Carson Scholars Fund aims to do. The "Land of Opportunity" had been established by its words, and now children were experiencing its fruits.
It was almost as if, for just that night, there were only two words on the Declaration of Independence: "Think big."
A Living Hope
On that memorable evening, a young mother and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the engraving in its glorious Federal Style frame. This patriotic woman is exceptionally passionate and knowledgeable about America's roots. It was a lovely picture of hope translated to a new generation that desperately needs it. Below is her kind review:
A Firm Reliance and Protection of Divine Providence
Jayme Golden on Sep 12, 2020
This beautifully handcrafted artwork is a reminder of whom we are as a nation. The engraving is an exquisite piece of art representing our national heritage. It has been the centerpiece of our dining room for the last five years and serves as a daily reminder of the values we hold so dear.