This post is dedicated to all of my friends who work in schools. Congratulations on finishing another school year. You are amazing professionals who give so much energy to so many kids. We are lucky to have you educating and caring for our children.
For the past three years I have had the honor to participate in the “Flat Stanley” project thanks to my friend Leah Harley Schwartz. Leah is a teacher at public elementary school in San Leandro, California.
Flat Stanley is a running character in a series of children books written in the 1960s. Stanley, is a child suddenly flattened by a freak accident, however he turns the trauma into a positive by slipping into envelopes and visiting friends around the world.
A teacher in Canada took the story and turned it into a project to teach elementary school students letter writing and about other parts of the world.
Leah adapted the project a bit and because she knows people from all over the United States, she has had her students write her friends. The student learns about Flat Stanley, colors in a cut out of him (which Leah laminates), and then writes a letter to one of Leah’s friends. Each student puts his Flat Stanley in an envelope with a personal letter, seals it and then goes to the Post Office to learn about the U.S. mail where they then mail the letter.
When we receive it, we have to answer the letter and write about our adventure with Flat Stanley. If we want, we send souvenirs from where we live.
The first year I participated, I sent Flat Stanley to South Bend and asked (begged) my dad to drive around the University of Notre Dame with him and take pictures next to the Golden Dome and the football field with a view of Touchdown Jesus.
Last year I walked around the North Side of Chicago taking pictures with Flat Stanley by the lake, Wrigley Field, the El, etc, developed the pictures and sent the photo album to Leah’s student with a letter.
This year I received a letter from J.M., a Somali immigrant from a large family. With the crappy weather we’ve had this year and because I’ve been really busy, I decided to just pick up a Cubs baseball cap, a Cubs teddy bear, and some post cards and send them with the letter.
In the letter, I told J.M. the story of the Cubs’ curse.
The Cubs have not the World Series in over 100 years. Some people say it’s because a man, many years ago, brought his goat into the stadium and when they refused to let him stay, he cursed the Cubs and said they would no longer win games.
The package was mailed and although I didn’t hear immediately from J.M, I heard from Leah via email.
Thank you so much for sending the Cubs hat and bear to J.M. I truly appreciate your kindness and generosity!! J.M. was thrilled to receive it and has been wearing the hat to school. J.M.’s father just passed away two weeks ago so I think he enjoyed knowing that someone was thinking about him. Thank you also for participating in Flat Stanley once again!!
Today, I received a thank you note from J.M., and I can honestly say it’s the best thank you note I’ve ever received. It was handwritten. I guess I should scan it in for full effect, but I hope you enjoy my typed version.
June 5, 2009
I love the bear and I love the hat. Even though I’m an A’s fan. I wonder if you feel good in Chicago. I hope you have a good time there. I don’t know why a person holding a goat is that powerful to curse a whole baseball team. Have a good time in Chicago. Thank you again for the bear and the hat.
J.M. is wise beyond his years. Maybe the Cubs will win the World Series this year. Or there’s always next year.
Cubs Coverage from the Chicago Tribune