In this Oct. 14, 2010 photo, “Saving Freedom” a 1991 painting by Mary Jane Jordan is seen in Roseburg, Ore.. Caryl Jordan Baum, 67, the daughter of Mary Jane Jordan, believes it prophetically depicted the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. She hopes to have the painting, which she said her mother painted after having a vision, made into a postage stamp that commemorates the 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) – Ghostly figures run across the roof of a skyscraper, smoke and flames reflected in the building’s window panes, contrasting with the brilliant blue sky.
The people, who have no faces or color, clamor on top of each other in their haste to get away from a man brandishing a knife. A large American flag stands in the midst of the pale figures, the red and white stripes smudging together as if the flag was drenched in a heavy rain.
The scene is from a watercolor called “Saving Freedom” painted by Roseburg resident Caryl Jordan Baum’s late mother Mary Jane Jordan in 1991.
Jordan Baum, 67, believes it prophetically depicted the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. She hopes to have the painting, which she said her mother painted after having a vision, made into a postage stamp that commemorates the 10th anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Jordan Baum plans to submit an application to the U.S. Postal Service soon and believes the painting’s significance makes a strong case for it being put on a stamp.
Prints of the painting have been sold to people all over the country, with former President George W. Bush being the most famous owner, she said.
Jordan Baum sent a print of the painting in a frame with tiny American flags bordering it to the president around Veteran’s Day in 2001. She got a call shortly after from his staff saying they received the painting and planned to present it to the president.
“They were thrilled. They were getting chills,” Jordan Baum said.
She recently learned the painting will be part of the president’s archives, soon to be housed on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She had written a letter inquiring what happened to the painting and received an answer last month from the former president.
“It makes a fine addition to the collection,” states the letter signed by Bush. “Thanks again to you and Mrs. Mary Jane Jordan for sharing it with me.”
Jordan Baum found the painting while looking through a stash of her mother’s artwork in her garage shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. Immediately struck by the way it eerily foretold the terrorist attacks, she rushed over to her mother’s nursing home to show her the painting and find out more about it. That’s when Jordan explained the vision to her daughter.
“She saw the whole thing before,” Jordan Baum said. “She had a vision, and she didn’t know what it was. It scared her so she put (the painting) away.”
Jordan Baum also noted how the painting contrasted with her mother’s other watercolors, which mostly depicted colorful landscapes and flowers.
“They were beautiful scenes, and they were nothing like this,” she said, gesturing to a print of the painting identical to the one in the Bush archives.
After the painting was displayed at Linus Oakes retirement village in Roseburg, where Jordan lived with her husband, Irving, for 14 years, many people requested prints, Jordan Baum said.
Per her mother’s request, all proceeds from prints and cards depicting the painting went to charity. People who saw the painting also frequently remarked that it would make a striking stamp.
“I want to keep her legacy alive,” Jordan Baum said. “If this becomes a postage stamp, it would be such an honor.”
Jordan died at 87 in 2002, but not before finding out that President Bush received her painting, Jordan Baum said.
“It made her very happy,” she said. “At least she lived long enough to know.”
Bush sent Jordan Baum a condolence letter following her mother’s death.
Jordan was a prolific painter, Jordan Baum said. She taught art at a high school in Costa Mesa, Calif., before she and her husband retired to Roseburg in the late ’80s.
Staff at Linus Oakes still fondly remember the woman who taught art classes to other residents and displayed her artwork there. Linus Oakes Activities Director Becky Brigham said Jordan was very patriotic and she remembers seeing the woman frequently decked out in stars and stripes.
It was her mother’s patriotism that made her choose out “Saving Freedom” out of 10 other possible titles as the name of her piece, Jordan Baum said.
“Many people, they’re just blow away by the meaning of this painting,” she said. “It shows that the terrorist is not winning. The patriotic Americans are carrying the flag and they’re saving freedom.”
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