Flat Stanley Visits the Berkshires

June 5th, 2008 by Applegate Inn

Flat Stanley visits Applegate Inn, a Berkshires B&B

Flat Stanley came to the Berkshires this winter to have a look-see and it turned out that his blitz would hardly touch the surface of what is going on here.
He came from New Jersey. courtesy of our grandson Aaron, who was assigned to send the little man off somewhere. We were chosen as the target.

For those of you who have not met Flat Stanley, he is an ageless boy of 44, born to author Jeff Brown in 1964 and is now flourishing as a way to teach geography and get kids thinking outside their own little boxes.
His traditional form is a small cutout, perhaps 8 inches tall, arms outstretched and legs likewise..
In a bygone era, we’d have called him a paper doll, but his clothes don’t come off.
They’re
colored right on the cutout by the child in charge.

Prior to his death in 2003, Jeff Brown explained how flat Stanley was born.
One of Brown’s sons was apparently grasping for one more reason why his parents shouldn’t leave the bedroom yet and announced that he was afraid his bulletin board would fall on him while he slept.

Brown assured him that is was securely fastened and that even if it did fall, it would slowly slide down the wall and just rest on top of him while he slept on.
Of course, Brown joked, there would be the possibly that in the morning the boy would wake up flat.

“Both sons thought that was a hoot,” the author said, and the result was one evening after another of made-up stories about the adventures a kid could have if he were flat.
He could slide into storm drains, for instance and under closed doors.
He could pose as a painting in a museum and thus apprehend art thieves.
He could become a kite, and he could be mailed off in an envelope for a visit to Grandma’s house in the Berkshires.

It was not until 1995 that a third grade teacher in Canada seized on Flat Stanley as a way to generate letter writing between children who would tell each other what the unusual boy had done with them.
Ten years later, 6,000 classrooms in 47 countries were creating scenarios for Flat Stanley and sending him to see the world.

He wasn’t in Lee, Ma. long enough to take in all that this small county has,
something that became more apparent than ever as we hit a few of the bases.
He went to Laurel Lake to watch the ice fishermen and then took a yoga class at Kripalu and stopped at the gate of Tanglewood
to dream about the Boston Symphony Orchestra. summer concert season..
He did go to the Norman Rockwell Museum and had a wonderful dinner at Chez Nous.

He missed Chesterwood, The Mount, Hancock Shaker Village, Barrington Stage Company, Jacob’s Pillow, Shakespeare and Company, and the Berkshire Theatre Festival to name a few.
He admired Mt Greylock and Mountain from the distance but considered it a long climb for his short legs, and was amazed to learn that so many famous people had lived, worked ,written and played theatrical roles in this small bit of
the country.
He wants to come back for a Tanglewood picnic and a performance of
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and a baseball game at Wahconah Park, which he considered a unique place.
He also wants to kayak on one of our wonderful lakes perhaps Pontoosuc or Goose Pond.

He thinks he would not have to buy tickets because he should be able to slide under the gates or doors.
This could be embarrassing.

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