I got an e-mail from my friend Judy Jackson a week or so before the Clearwater show. She was going to be there and wanted to know if I would help her with her twin granddaughters’ Flat Stanley school projects by letting her take a picture with them in our booth.
For those of you who need enlightenment, lots of elementary schools do projects where the kids make a “Stanley” out of cardboard – that way it’s easy to fold and put in an envelope. Then it is either mailed or transported to friends, relatives and such – with the hope that pictures and cards and such will be sent to the students from all over.
And so we did – and I was honored to participate. Yesterday, Judy e-mailed me a copy of the picture we took for Faith and Joy . . .
The sight of this sent me to the closet, where I went through boxes of pictures until finally I found the right box. Ryan did this project when he was in the first grade in 1995-96 – they called it “Travel Mate.”
This is “Elf” – I found him in the box with the pictures and postcards and stuff that were sent to Ryan from all over the world. The timing was perfect – Ryan’s Uncle Dex was traveling a lot in those days, and he took Elf everywhere for months.
Everywhere that Elf went, he sent postcards to Ryan and picked up lots of little trinkets and stickers and such from his stops.
Elf made it to the Grand Canyon before I did . . .
And because Dex and Ella had just become engaged, Elf got to make a trip to her homeland – it’s obviously out of focus, but that shot on the right is Elf in Moscow, Russia.
Since it worked out that the project ended during one of Ella’s visits to the U.S., we arranged for both of them to come to Ryan’s classroom and help with the presentation.
We got a U.S. map and a small map of Europe and put little flag pins on spots where Elf had traveled – with string leading from each pin to a picture taken there or a postcard that was sent from there. We had so much fun with the project that we decided to continue it for the rest of the year. Elf went to Australia with a friend of Dex’s, to the Southwest with Karen and David and their family, and on our vacation to Colorado and Wyoming.
From Mount Rushmore to the White House – Elf was everywhere. By the time we retired him to the box in the closet, Elf had been to 38 states and 9 foreign countries.
And his year ended on New Year’s Eve at Dex and Ella’s wedding at Key West.
Time passes – more than 19 years since this project started, more than 18 years (and three daughters) since that Key West wedding. That request from Judy and the picture she sent me yesterday resulted in a fun trip down Memory Lane for my family.
I hope Faith and Joy’s Flat Stanleys have a trip that is just as memorable.