A Place Closer to Mattie

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Take a minute to read this article on Jeni Stepanek, the mother of Mattie Stepanek. Mattie died 2 years ago serving for many years as the IAFF Goodwill Ambassador.

A Place Closer to Mattie:

A Place Closer to Mattie
Two years after losing the last of her kids, Jeni Stepanek and the disease that claimed them are moving on

By Darragh Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 9, 2006; Page D01

Their place is nearly empty now. The boxes are sealed, the walls blank.

The photos have all come down — framed snapshots of Mattie J.T. Stepanek with the stars he called friends: Oprah, Jimmy Carter, Jerry Lewis, Larry King.
Jeni Stepanek, mother of the late Mattie Stepanek, prepares to leave the condo she shared with her son. Mattie was a young boy whose poetry charmed Oprah, Jimmy Carter and the world. His mother, Jeni, is now dying of the same disease that claimed her son in June of 2004 as well as three more of her children.

Down, too, came the boy’s vast collection of books, and the rhyming dictionary and Latin text he kept next to his computer. His board games are packed away. So are his big green monster claws and rock collection, his baseball caps and favorite stuffed animal.

Tomorrow, his mother is moving. Jeni Stepanek is leaving the Rockville condo purchased with the proceeds from her son’s best-selling “Heartsongs” poetry books and where, for Mattie’s final years, they lived together until he died two Junes ago at age 13. (Read More)

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