(Photo courtesy Quana Smith)
Lindy Holland, a second grade teacher at Thomas Magnet School was the accused 'culprit' who addressed Flat Stanley to her students.
"He was just a simple paper doll template with instructions to dress and/or color him and take Stanley on an adventure while Elijah was out and about during the break," said Quana.
Students were required to have a least one picture of Flat Stanley to share when returning to school this week, with a brief story explaining the time they shared together.
"We mailed Flat Stanley in hopes of sparking fun through reading with our second grade students," said Holland, who reports Stanley travelled with second graders to several states, went dove hunting and performed as a disc jockey.
As for the Smiths, "Our family had a bit more fun with him than what was strictly required," said Quana.
Stanley accompanied the family for all their outings, shopping for eyeglasses, visiting a local drive-in, and lamenting the high cost of gas. Under Friday night lights, he cheered Elijah's older brother Luke Dickson, who plays football at Shelbyville Central High School. Stanley went to the Celebration, where he visited the press box and dove in to a box of famed Optimist donuts.
Along the way, Quana shared Stanley's adventures in a photo gallery on her Facebook page, to the delight of those on her friends list. To the delight of Elijah as well, who has eagerly counted the 'likes' and 'comments' his flat visitor has received each day.
"We made the best of letting Flat Stanley see what we were all about as a family. Elijah is my middle son, the shyest of all three of my boys. It took him a bit to warm up to the idea of carrying Stanley around and it took even longer to encourage him to ask others to pose."
But Elijah did, charming the SCHS cheerleaders and the school mascot, and posing with horse trainers and event staff at the Celebration.
Flat Stanley is a 1964 children's book featuring Stanley Lambchop. Stanley and his brother Arthur are given a big bulletin board to display pictures and posters which their father hangs above Stanley's bed. One night the board falls, flattening Stanley in his sleep. Making the best of his new state, he soon discovers he can ent er locked rooms by sliding under doors, and may now visit friends by being mailed in an envelope.
Stanley eventually returns to his proper shape with the help of his younger brother and a bicycle pump. The book series has lived on, and has become a part of popular culture reference. According to Wikipedia, the project was featured in a 2004 episode of King of the Hill, and Flat Stanley was in a briefcase on board the 2009 US Airways Flight 1549 which landed safely in the Hudson River.
And yes, there is an app for that; iPhone users may send, receive and share Flat Stanley's adventures via an online application.
Stanley's adventures have not ended with the return to school. According to Dulcie Davis, principal, he will be traveling to the airport Friday to pick up TMS's new Chinese Culture teacher -- and the University of Tennessee "Pride of the Southland" Band have agreed to pose with him as well.
He may hang around the Smith home awhile longer as well.
"The project has really brought a little extra added fun to our lives," said Quana. "Who knows how long we will keep him around."