Maddie has been quite taken with the Flat Stanley books of late. (For those unfamiliar with them, Flat Stanley is a young boy who gets flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. Being a flat boy has its advantages – he gets to travel the world in envelopes.) Maddie’s class is doing a Flat Student project in school, and Flat Madeline has already made her way to Kenya where she will spend a little time with my Aunt and Uncle, take a few pictures, meet some of the local schoolchildren, and then make her way back home.
Three dimensional Madeline made an extra Flat Madeline to keep at home and had taped her to her door where she was holding hands with the Flat Stanley cutout from the book we’d bought recently. (I think a romance was budding.) Two weeks ago, just as I was rushing out the door to fly to Alberta, I said “hey – maybe Flat Madeline would like to come with me!” 3D Madeline got very excited and tore her alter-ego off the door and tucked her in my computer case.
With the whirlwind of activities at the beginning of the trip, I didn’t remember to take Flat Madeline out until we’d reached Regina, halfway through the trip. There she finally got to eat soup with me and my companions after a long and arduous journey.
Dining with us was my friend and co-worker Paul, who was leaving directly from Regina to Rome to be part of the official Canadian delegation to the World Food Summit. Being a father himself whose own children had done Flat Stanley projects in the past, he said, “well, if Flat Madeline has her passport in order, she’s welcome to join me on my journey.”
Though I offered her the alternative of a day trip to the Rockies, Flat Madeline would have none of it. With barely a backwards glance in my direction, she jumped into his briefcase and was whisked away on an adventure across the ocean. When I told 3D Madeline about the change in travel plans, her eyes lit up with possibilities.
After Paul’s official duties were completed, he took his new flat friend on an adventure.
To Constantine’s Arch…
To the Colosseum…
And to Ostia Antica…
(I just love the fact that Paul, a policy wonk who was in Rome hanging around with big muckity-mucks in the upper echelons of power took the time to take pictures of a little child’s drawn paper cutout! It shows the whimsical father heart buried beneath his official position.)
Now that she’s had a taste of adventure, Flat Madeline won’t stop bugging me about where she can go next. If anyone would like to invite her to visit your part of the world, let me know in the comments (or by email) and 3D Madeline and I would be happy to serve as her travel agents.