Flat Stanley gets lost in Seattle

3 December 2007

Flat Stanley visited us this week. He’s a children’s book character who inspired a literacy and geography project for elementary school classes.

Our visitor arrived from LaRue, Ohio, home to my cousin Natalie’s family. Her daughter Avery sent Stanley to visit my daughter Meg. We took him on a tour of Seattle inspired by the book Larry Gets Lost in Seattle.

Stanley wrote a letter to Avery, telling her about his tour. Here’s the letter:

Hi Avery,

Thanks for sending me on an adventure in Seattle.

I started at your cousin Meg’s house. She told me she’s two and a half, and she lives on Queen Anne Hill. Her mom Jenni pointed out their house on a map, and she said I could bring the map back with me when I come. Until then, I’ll tell you about my trip.

I rested with the family after my long journey from LaRue to Seattle. We relaxed and read one of Meg’s favorite books, Larry Gets Lost in Seattle. Meg’s parents decided to show me around by following the travels of Larry and his boy Pete from the book, though none of us planned to get lost.

First, I walked with Meg and her dad Steve to Kerry Park, which was on the cover of the book. We saw so much from there, including ferry boats like the one Pete and Larry rode on, the Seattle Space Needle, and the Experience Music Project – which Larry thought looked just like a pile of clothes on the floor.

Later that day, Meg and her mom Jenni took me to see the EMP and Space Needle in person, along with the monorail. It traveled from beside the Space Needle at the base of Queen Anne Hill to Westlake Center in the midst of downtown.

From there, we took a quick walk to Pike Place Market. Just like Larry, we saw Rachel the Pig, a life-sized piggy bank that Seattleites think of as the market’s mascot. Meg helped me give her a couple of quarters.

Rachel stood right in front of Pike Place Fish. Meg told me the fishmongers really do throw fish, but no one bought any while we were there, so I didn’t get to see fish fly.

From there we continued down the hill to see Hammering Man, the giant statue outside Seattle Art Museum. He hammered away the whole time we watched. Meg said she’s never seen him rest. Jenni told me he gets a break every year on Labor Day.

Our next stop was Pioneer Square. On the way we saw one of the ferries as it landed at Colman Dock, the ferry terminal on Seattle’s waterfront. It was fun to get close to one. It was so big! I didn’t know so many cars could fit on a boat.

Pioneer Square was really close to the ferry terminal. No wonder it was Pete and Larry’s very first stop. After all our walking, we rested between the pergola and a totem pole. They’re both really old. The pergola has been there for about a hundred years, but it had to be rebuilt a few years ago when a truck backed into it and knocked it down.

The entrance to Seattle’s underground was in the same square. Larry searched the underground for Pete, but we skipped the tour since we already had such a full day and we still wanted to see the stadiums.

We stopped at the field where the Seattle Seahawks play, and after that at the Mariners’ stadium. I liked peeking through the ball and glove sculpture at Meg.

By then, we were tired and it was getting late, so we hurried back to catch the monorail before dark.

We didn’t go to every place that Pete and Larry did in one day. We saw all the places that they did downtown, and even though we took a more direct route than they did, we still needed more time for the places in other neighborhoods.

The next day, I went with Steve and Meg to see the Fremont troll. That was so fun. He lurks under the Aurora bridge. I got to slide down his fingers, and I saw for myself that he was holding a real VW bug.

Down the hill, we saw the folks waiting for the interurban. It must have been pretty cold standing in the snow. The Pete and Larry book said people dress them up sometimes. Maybe we should have left them with warmer clothes.

We were warm enough ourselves, so we left the Fremont neighborhood to go to Ballard, where the Ballard Locks are. We didn’t see boats using the locks like an elevator, but we did watch salmon climbing the fish ladder. There was a place at the locks to view them from underwater, and we could see a few swim upstream to get back to where they were born.

After that, I wanted to warm up, and I got toasty in the car on the long ride to West Seattle. Just like Pete and Larry, our last stop was at the little statue of liberty on Alki Beach.

I had such a fun trip. See you soon!

- Flat Stanley

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