There’s a celebrity at our house.
His last name is Stanley. His first name is Flat. That’s his name because he is, literally, flat.
If you don’t have a young child or maybe a grandchild, you might not know about Flat Stanley. He is a character in books for children who became the center of a project for literacy in 1995. Since that time, paper cut-outs of Flat Stanley have traveled around the word, with photos and other items being sent to students in classrooms who learn about geography, other people and other cultures through his travels.
My grandson in Denver sent us a Flat Stanley recently. He colored it, cut it out and mailed Stanley to us. We’re supposed to take him around and take pictures of Stanley, then the children in his class will learn about Ohio when they see the photos.
I really thought Flat Stanley would like it here in Troy, because western Ohio is just like Stanley — flat.
Anyway, he has been making the rounds with us. He has visited our house and the houses of Kyle’s uncles in Troy and Casstown. He even went to Piqua his first day in town and got his picture taken with Thor, God of Thunder. That ought to give them something to talk about.
Last Monday, Flat Stanley went to Brukner Nature Center, where he heard Dick Wager give a presentation on his bicycle trip across the country. Dick’s trip started in New Jersey and ended in Oregon, so the students will have lots of geography to talk about there.
Flat Stanley has been to church, to the Casstown Fire Department with Uncle Luke, to play golf at the country club with Uncle Andrew, to the Boathouse for a birthday party.
He even has met Luke’s cat, Jinx. Oops, Jinx has sharp claws. Flat Stanley now has a Band-Aid on his head.
Flat Stanley sat at the center of the table as the guest of honor at our Thanksgiving dinner. He didn’t eat much, which makes him the perfect guest.
I’m not sure if Flat Stanley is enjoying himself – he doesn’t say much since he is an eight-inch tall piece of laminated paper. But we’re having a good time carrying him around and taking his picture.
I suspect when the students in my grandson’s kindergarten class in Denver talk about Ohio, they’re going to wonder about there being no mountains — there are hardly even any real hills around here. But showing Flat Stanley the sights has given me some appreciation for our own area.
Colorado may have mountains, but it sure doesn’t have cornfields like we do. It’s also short on water – plenty of water here. Plus, the trees in Denver, other than the aspens, are pretty lame. They’re scraggly little things, for the most part. If you want to see green, you need to come to Ohio.
Flat Stanley has to return to Denver in a couple weeks, but by then he will be an expert on Ohio. I’m sure he will be paying a visit to Troy Christian School, where he will get his picture taken with children there. We’re not sure of all the other places we’ll take him in the next few weeks, but my grandson’s teacher will have lots of pictures to choose from when his visit is over.
I’m not sure if his visit here will rank at the top of his all-time list. After all, various incarnations of Flat Stanley have been photographed with Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, as well as just about everywhere on the globe. Stanley gets around!
Still, we hope the photos and stories we send back with him will be interesting to our grandson’s friends. The world is a big place and Ohio might be just a little corner of it, but when you get right down to it, it’s a pretty nice corner. We’re sure if Stanley could talk, he’d agree.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.