I had a fun travel companion last week named Flat Stanley. I had never heard of Flat Stanley but it turns out he’s quite famous. He’s had his picture taken with such well-known celebrities as Clint Eastwood and President Obama, to name just two.
Now he’s had his picture taken with Seamus, Louis Kossuth, and several other notable Algonans. Okay, I know Louis Kossuth isn’t an Algonan, but his statue is, so don’t pick on me.
For those of you who, like me, have never heard of Flat Stanley, you can Google him. Or, better yet, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version of his biography.
It seems there was a storybook character named Stanley who was was flattened by a falling bookcase. Not a sad story, since Stanley then became Flat Stanley and was able to be mailed anywhere in the world. Grade-school children were given stencil drawings of Flat Stanley to cut out, color, and send to a friend, acquaintance or, in this case, to a grandson’s Nana. That would be me.
Eight-year-old Dylan sent me Flat Stanley as part of his third-grade project at his school in California. I also was sent a journal to be filled in with the places I would take Flat Stanley, with accompanying pictures. Well let me tell you, Flat Stanley loved touring around Algona and meeting the great people who live here! I first introduced him to Seamus, my 7-year-old newly-adopted German Shepherd, and they became instant friends.
Next, I took Flat Stanley along with me to Lisa’s Hair Design, where both of us got haircuts. Lisa sat Flat Stanley in her chair, put a cape around him, and posed with her scissors next to his head – it made a great picture.
Then we happened to see Misty in the backyard of Pet Kingdom, so she posed with Flat Stanley (who from now on I’m going to refer to as F.S. because I’m tired of typing his name – I’m sure he doesn’t mind). If you’ve never seen the backyard of Pet Kingdom, it sports two fire hydrants, one marked “Boys” and one marked “Girls.” There’s a statue of sorts of a dog making use of the “Boys” facility.
The next day I had an appointment with my optometrist and, of course, brought F.S. along. Turns out, Sophia, one of the office assistants, knew F.S. and had, when she was in second grade, sent him to her aunt in Arizona. F.S. said he remembered her well. Then Dr. Trainer was happy to pose with F.S. because he had already met him when his daughter took F.S. to the Black Hills and photographed him next to Abraham Lincoln’s monument. F.S. said he also remembered that trip well.
From there we went to the Post Office to buy some stamps. The clerk and the Postmaster were glad to pose with F.S. and I knew Dylan would be happy that F.S. got to go where his (Dylan’s, not F.S.’s) great-grandfather, Wade Sullivan, was Postmaster for nearly three decades.
Our final destination was the courthouse lawn where F.S. perched on Louis Kossuth’s boot. I told him the history of the Hungarian patriot for whom our county was named.
I know Dylan would be glad that F.S. was on the lawn of the building where his beloved grandfather, Papa Bing, was a judge for a number of years.
With our travels at an end, I slipped F.S. back in the envelop he came in and mailed him off to Dylan. I wish space would permit me to show all the pictures of F.S.’s adventures while here, but I’ll settle for the first and last – his meeting with Seamus and Louis Kossuth.
Bon voyage, Flat Stanley – I loved having you here!
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