How A First Grade Assignment "Launched" Me:
IN THE FIRST GRADE. . . our class read the book "Flat Stanley" by Jeff Brown. It's the story of a little boy named Stanley who flattened himself, so he could fit in envelope, and travel all around the world via the mail. We constructed our own flat people "avatars" out of colorful paper. My "Flat Angela" had big curly hair and even BIGGER glasses. I sent her to my aunt in California who promised to take Flat Angela all around the Bay Area. I couldn't wait to hear about Flat Angela's trip! I would get off the school bus and race over to the mailbox every afternoon. Days went by with no reply. But then... one by one... the postcards came in the mail. Flat Angela went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Flat Angela took a stroll down Fisherman's Wharf! Flat Angela EVEN got to peer over the steep rocky cliffs at Big Sur and see the Pacific ocean!
I cherished these postcards. They were MAGICAL to me. I wanted to send and receive even more mail! I had a few other pen pals over the years and have continued to collect postcards. Checking the mailbox each day after school was like opening a porthole of possibilities. I wanted to write a story of my own that could get children REALLY excited about... mail.
Perhaps if the mail came from another planet? A message in a bottle rocket! Who is this letter coming from? A cool space friend named Quil!!! I began to imagine a whole 'nother planet called Quark, where the little space friend would live. Quil may be from another planet but by becoming pen pals and exchanging postcards, Earth Kids just may find they have a lot in common!
I still collect postcards. Some even date back to the early 1900's