Saturday, January 24, 2009

Flat Stanley Visits Quartzsite, Arizona

“Flat Stanley” couldn’t have arrived at a better place along our travels. Ed and I were in Quartzsite, Arizona. It’s a place where the unusual is ordinary and no request is called weird. Unusual and weird are actually encouraged here.

“Flat Stanley”, unlike most of our RV guests, arrived in my package of mail sent general delivery from the Escapees mail forwarding service in Livingston, Texas. He is a life-sized paper doll and part of a social studies project for students at Christ the Divine Teacher School in Latrobe, PA. He will be with us for seven days. It is my job to attach memorabilia and photos to him so the students can learn about new places far from Latrobe. My friend Joseph sent “Flat Stanley” to me.

Until I can send “Flat Stanley” back to Joseph, the son of my dear, longtime friends Becky & Al, I decided to post photos of my new traveling companion. So in this instant world…I have added news about him to my blog and I have created a photo album for “Flat Stanley” on Facebook with the link:

“Flat Stanley” folds to fit in my navy blue Coach Shopper Bag. When he and I visited the Tyson’s Well Stage Museum, the lady from the Quartzsite Historical Society granted me permission to show “Flat Stanley” around. She had a couple suggestions, “Be sure you give him a ride in the antique wheelchair. And, the camel out front will be a nice place to take ‘Flat Stanley.’” She also pointed out that the local 4th grade had a social studies project too. They had made a map of Quartzsite. It was colorfully displayed on the Museum wall.

At Barrett’s Miniature Village, a woman from California thought “Flat Stanley” should pose by the castle. The castle was one of the many building replicas and stone houses created by Walter Barrett, a long time winter resident of Quartzsite.

Because this is a children’s project, I took “Flat Stanley” to Celia’s Rainbow Gardens. The Gardens are a memorial Celia Winer, an 8 year old girl whose goal in life was to make the world a better place. She died in 1994, but her garden lives on. At the waterfall oasis, her school friends put their hand prints in wet cement to decorate a wall in the garden and make a gathering circle. In addition to this tribute to Celia, other beloved Quartzsite people have been memorialized here within the eight- acre Garden. “Flat Stanley” and I paused here for some quiet reflection.

As I thought about hang-out with “Flat Stanley”, I must admit it is certainly a hoot. But mostly, it is a privilege that Joseph gave me by entrusting me with his school project. I will send “Flat Stanley” back to Latrobe with memorabilia stuck to his paper belly. Maybe someday I can bring Joseph with me for seven-days because experiencing new places is a wonderful thing.

January 22, 2009

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