Friday, April 30, 2010

Flat Stanley Visits the Left Bank of the Charles

I received an email a week or so ago from my friends Don & Jackie in Iowa. They asked if I would show Flat Stanley around Cambridge, Massachusetts where I live. Don said this was a favor for his cousin’s bowling teammate who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska and has a granddaughter in Maryville, Missouri.

Well, whenever someone’s cousin’s bowling teammate needs a favor, I always say yes. Plus, it was a warm, sunny day and I was glad to get out of work to show someone around town.

When Flat Stanley arrived in another email the next day, I was surprised. I was expecting a boy, not a girl with long orange hair and a blue skirt. I asked her how she got the name Stanley. “That’s my last name,” she replied.

She wasn’t very happy because she arrived upside down. She said she had traveled by email upside all the way across the country from Lincoln, Nebraska. That’s 1,500 miles. She had quite a headache.

I should tell you a little bit about my city. Cambridge has about 100,000 residents, which is about 10 times more people than Maryville. But the town is only about twice as big, so it’s a lot more crowded. That’s like if you had to have four other classes share your classroom with you.

First we went to Cambridge Common, which is a large park in the middle of the city. The farmers used to graze their cows there, but there are no farmers in the city anymore.

During the American Revolution, this is where General George Washington took command of the Continental Army in 1775. He was the first President of the United States.

Cambridge Common also has some cannons that were captured from the British. Flat Stanley wanted to fire the cannon, but I didn’t think that was a good idea. “The people in those buildings wouldn’t like that,” I said.

Cambridge has two universities, Harvard and MIT, so it is a college town like Maryville.

We went into Harvard Yard and saw the statute of John Harvard.

Some Native American students at Harvard have constructed a Wetu, a wigwam covered in bark like the ones Native Americans in Massachusetts lived in a long time ago.

Next we walked into Harvard Square, where there are lots of stores and a subway station.

Last we went to JFK Park, which is named after John F. Kennedy who was President of the United States 50 years ago. He was born across the Charles River in Brookline.

I asked Flat Stanley if she would like to go back by email, but she said no, she didn’t want to do that upside down thing again. So we chose the regular mail.

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