Baltimore through Stanley’s Eyes

In 1964, Stanley Lambchop had a tragic accident. Just that day his father had given him a new bulletin board to hang on the wall of his room and as he slept, the bulletin board fell, squashing him. Luckily young Stanley survived the near tragedy, but it left him changed. Poor Stanley had become flat. The Lambchop family had enough spunk to transform Stanley’s new disability into an opportunity and soon he found himself posing as a painting on the wall of the local art gallery where he assisted the police in catching a burglar.

By User:Miwillans (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By User:Miwillans (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This is the plot of children author Jeff Brown’s Flat Stanley. The character would go on to have five more crazy adventures during the author’s lifetime, and since Brown’s death in 2003, has been guided by other authors through at least a dozen more. But Stanley’s biggest adventure was orchestrated in 1995 by third grade teacher Dale Hubert of Ontario.

Hubert assigned his students to design a Flat Stanley and send him through the mail in order to both practice writing letters, and to learn about the various places Stanley visited. Recipients of Stanley were asked to report back on his adventures and include pictures of Stanley in various locations along the way.

The assignment was a great success and earned Hubert the 2001 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Soon the Flat Stanley Project spread and now teachers all over the world participate in it with their students. My youngest son’s class is working on a Flat Stanley Project right now and a week or so ago, he received his first pictures.

I want to share a few of them with you because his Stanley traveled to visit a friend of mine in the Baltimore area. I know in the past few days we’ve all seen a lot of images of Baltimore, of protest demonstrations, of violence against police, and of buildings engulfed in flames. So, I thought maybe it would do us all some good to see the place in a different light, as a beautiful city full of a rich heritage and deep-rooted history.

Fort McHenry. Famed for its role in the War of 1812, and site of inspiration for Francis Scott Key's poem
Fort McHenry. Famed for its role in the War of 1812, and site of inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry” which would become “The Star Spangled Banner,” a song that can be well sung by maybe 1% of the US population, but is nonetheless loved by all.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Completed in 1992, this is the first of the new old (or retro) baseball stadiums that have since swept the nation. Yesterday it became the place where the Baltimore Orioles offered imaginary autographs to absent fans and defeated the White Sox with no one there to watch.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Completed in 1992, this is the first of the new old (or retro) baseball stadiums that have since swept the nation. Yesterday it became the place where the Baltimore Orioles offered imaginary autographs to absent fans and defeated the White Sox with no one there to watch.
Washington Monument. Designed by Robert Mills, also the designer of the monument in DC, the Washington Monument in Baltimore was the first to be planned in honor of the first US president, making this one of the oldest giant stone phalli in the nation.
Washington Monument. Designed by Robert Mills, also the designer of the monument in DC, the Washington Monument in Baltimore was the first to be planned in honor of the first US president, making this one of the oldest giant stone phalli in the nation.
Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum.It was in this house, built around 1830, where Edgar Allan Poe lived for a time with his aunt Maria Clemm and his ten year old cousin, who he would one day marry, but not until she reached the ripe of age of 13.
Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum.It was in this house, built around 1830, where Edgar Allan Poe lived for a time with his aunt Maria Clemm and his ten year old cousin, who he would one day marry, but not until she reached the ripe old age of 13.
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