Flat Stanley Arrives in DC

I have a little visitor. I found him a couple of days ago when I finally opened my mail. I am typically on top of my mail, but I had a slow panicky feeling that Flat Stanley had been resting up in his manila-envelope sleeping bag since before the Inauguration. But that’s not possible! I think…

Flat Stanley traveled to DC from Rolesville Elementary School. He is staying with Ian, my little cousin, between his travels around the world. Flat Stanley was a little under-dressed for the winter weather, but we braved the cold and took a quick tour of Downtown DC. He just had on a t=shirt that said “Keep school 10 feet away from this shirt.” I also noticed that Stanley was covered with red marks all over his shirt and face. I couldn’t decide if he had gotten in a fight with the postmaster, or if a pack of ketchup had exploded while enjoying an afternoon snack.

Even if Flat Stanley was a little beat up, people recognized him everywhere we went. We had lots of offers to help with shots, including a security guard from the National Museum of American History. He is a Flat Stanley portrait expert. I met people, who Flat Stanley had already visited. Hmmm… Does my little visitor have a split personality?

As part of Flat Stanley’s visit, he has been busy filling out his journal. This is his entry from the first leg of his ventures:


I arrived in Washington, DC in early February. I spent a couple of days resting up after my long journey from Rolesville, NC. But once we started our tour of DC, I dove right in. I am staying with Caroline, who is an artist. She makes things out of paper. She has a lot of paper. I felt right at home in this basket of rolls.


I met a group of monsters while I was at Caroline’s studio.


Next we went to The Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue. It was the first skyscraper in Washington, DC. The clock tower inside offers the second highest view of the city after the Washington Monument. Outside we posed with Benjamin Franklin, one of our favorite founding fathers.


We dropped in the National Museum of American History. This is one of the Smithsonian Museums, which recently reopened. Behind me is a sculpture representing The Star Spangled-Banner. The original flag is on display behind this wall. It is the flag that inspired the National Anthem. But no photographs are allowed inside the exhibit. The light can damage the flag.


While at the History Museum, we also stopped by the Woolworth’s Lunch Counter, which is from Greensboro, NC. On February 1, 1960 four African American college students sat at the segregated lunch counter and politely asked for lunch. When they were refused to be served, the students continued to stay for a six-month sit in. This was an important moment in the Civil Rights Movement. History was made just about an hour west of Rolesville.


We also saw Dumbo the Flying Elephant from Disneyland! I was hoping for a ride.


When we walked around the corner and I saw Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, I instantly thought “There’s no place like home.” But I am pretty excited about DC so far.


Finally I made a quick stop to get my picture made with this “National Treasure,” the portrait of Stephen Colbert.


The sun is setting behind the Washington Monument, as we continue our trip down the National Mall.


The National Mall is the home to many of our national monuments and the many of museums that are all part of the Smithsonian Institution. James Smithson, a British scientist, loved the idea of America so much that he gave all of his money to our government to start the Smithsonian Institution. He had NEVER even visited the United States. But now his body is inside of a crypt just inside of the Smithsonian Castle.


Behind the Washington Monument stands the Lincoln Memorial. At the opposite end of the Mall is the Capitol, seen above. This shot is a way better view of the Capitol than Caroline’s view at the Inauguration.


Now back to the school stuff! Check out this Great African Bush Elephant at the National Museum of Natural History.


And I also found this giant squid from Spain. It was so long, you can barely see the end of the squid’s tentacles.


After all of those museums, I was ready to spend a little time outside. I was pretty excited when I saw the ice skating rink inside the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. It was pretty hard to not fall down. I didn’t want to get all wet, but I am an excellent ice skater. It was a little chilly, though.


Leaving the NGA Sculpture Garden, I noticed all of the art. I liked this sculpture of an old-school eraser by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. It is called Typewriter Eraser, Scale X. Oldenburg used to play with his dad’s office supplies, like this one, when he was a little boy.


On with our walking tour… This is the National Archives, home of our country’s Constitution.


This is the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building.


Flags still line Pennsylvania Avenue after Barack Obama’s Inauguration. This was part of the parade route.


This is Ford’s Theatre, where President Lincoln was shot. It was just reopened for Lincoln’s 200th Birthday, which we celebrated this President’s Day on Monday, February 16th. I wonder if Ian and his friends at Rolesville were out of school that day.


This little building, also known as The Petersen House, is where Lincoln died. They carried him across the street from the theater. He was watching a play when he was shot. They put him in a bed in this house.


I’m standing in front of the coat Lincoln was wearing when he was shot. You can see his portrait in the background.


And our tour ends in Chinatown, where Caroline lives. Friendship Archway was given to DC as a gift from its sister city, Beijing, the capitol of China.


After all of that walking, we were starving. So we stopped in Chinatown Express for a bowl of fresh noodles. Yum! I love Chinese food. And DC!

Ian, I will see you very soon.

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