While spending a few days at my cousins’ place in Bloomington, I met a new and wonderful man. His name was Flat Stanley. It turns out he was a traveler just like me. *Sigh*
In 1995, Dale Hubert, a 3rd Grade teacher in London, Ontario, Canada, began the Flat Stanley Project based on the 1964 book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. The project connects children and classrooms around the world via a character who, in the original story, gets squashed accidentally by a bulletin board (ouch!) and then discovers he is flat enough to fit inside an envelope and travel the world (hmmm…where can I find a big bulletin board?!). Students who participate in the project read the book and then design their own flat character and send him to children, friends, or family in other states or countries. Those children then write about their special visitor and his adventures with his hosts.
Now teachers and their students around the world are getting to know Flat Stanley and each other. In 2005, more than 6,000 classes from 47 countries took part in the Flat Stanley Project
Back in Bloomington, Michael and Nancy received their very own Flat Stanley from their goddaughter Faye, a second grader at Increase Miller Elementary School in Golden’s Bridge, New York.
We took him around town, photographing him in front of the Indiana University Stadium and other local landmarks. I think I scared my cousins with my crush on this two-dimensional, mini-man and maybe got a little ‘too’ creative with my ideas.
I asked Michael, “Why don’t we photograph him lying on the ground next to an empty bottle of Jack Daniels or exiting a strip club with a black bar superimposed over his eyes?” Perhaps Flat Stanley got into some trouble here in B-ton. He is a bit of a bad boy, ya know. Yeah, I guess not the message we wanted to send back to the second graders.
Okay, so instead of in front of local landmarks, I thought, why couldn’t we be different and photograph him in front of the suburban mundane: Flat Stanley in front of ‘our’ local pharmacy. It’s a place called C-V-S, kids! Or Flat Stanley in front of the local Hooters or in front of the Kinko’s Copy shop—where he actually feels quite at home for some reason.
He was cute, a tad petite, but still huggable just the same. He was a little two dimensional for me, but so are some of the guys I date. Ba. Dum. Bum.
But in the end, we had to bid ‘Flat’ farewell as he had to go back into his manila envelope, back to New York, and back to the classroom.
Thank you for making me laugh. I will miss you Flat Stanley.
Here is Nancy’s letter that she sent back to Faye with Flat Stanley.
Dear Faye, Hello to all of the Second Graders at Increase Miller!! We had a great weekend with Flat Stanley! Michael’s cousin, Lisa, was here and she fell a little bit in love with him. I’m sorry we didn’t get any pictures of her with Flat Stanley. She has traveled around the world and has a blog called, www.LLWorldTour.com.
He came to visit us in Bloomington, Indiana—the home of Indiana University. So we went to the football stadium. It was empty now but is filled with thousands of screaming fans and students in the fall. We aren’t sports fans so usually try to avoid it. Flat Stanley really wanted to see where Michael keeps his sailboat. No one can believe that we have such a wonderful, large lake for sailing. It’s called Lake Monroe and is a reservoir that has the City of Bloomington’s water supply. They flooded a small town named Paynetown about 50 years ago to make the lake. They moved everybody to new houses first, though. As you can see, there are no boats out yet, but Michael will put his boat out in a couple of weeks. Yeah!
We were so happy that Flat Stanley got to see the buffalo. They live on the way to visit my father, who was just 94 years old. The buffalo are very large and hairy. I’m sure they get really hot in the summer.
Next to the buffalo is Flat Stanley in front of the entrance to the Tibetan-Mongolian Buddhist Monastery. We actually have two Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries in Bloomington. The Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhists, has family here and comes to Bloomington when he is in America. I’m taking a class with him in May. This is very special. The last picture is Flat Stanley in front of the Monroe Country Court House. We have a lovely square around the court house with lots of stores and restaurants. The inside of the court house has a wonderful painted ceiling. It was too dark for Flat Stanley to see so we’ll have to visit when you come to see us in Bloomington. Lots of Love, Aunt Nancy and Uncle Michael