This story was written by me for my grand-niece, Haylee and her second grade class. They had an assignment to mail Flat Stanley to a friend who could show them a different part of the world so that the kids could see how other people lived.
The Traveling Adventures of Flat Stanley
By: Shawna Gauthier (Haylee Holly’s “Aunt Shawna”)
Uncle Jon and Aunt Shawna were so excited when they heard that Flat Stanley was going to visit them in Key West, FL. Key West is made up of several islands – Key West, Stock Island, Sigsbee Park, Fleming Key and Sunset Key. There are so many fun things to do and see in Key West. The Gulf of Mexico is the body of water on the North side of Key West and the Atlantic Ocean is on the South side. The Atlantic side offers beautiful crystal clear blue water where Jon and Shawna love to play. They swim, snorkel, dive, fish, kayak, paddle board, sail, ride their bicycles, visit the local beaches, shops and restaurants and enjoy being with friends here on “The Rock”.
They welcomed Flat Stanley aboard Beausoleil, the 60′ sailboat on which they live. They gave him the tour of the boat. He had his own berth (bedroom) and his own head (bathroom).
He especially liked hanging out near the ship’s tide clock and the barometer. The tide clock helps keep track of high and low tides which changes the depth of the water and let’s you know if the tide is running, ebbing or slack (all make a difference when you are trying to sail somewhere). The barometer on the right helps keep track of the atmospheric pressure which can help let Jon and Shawna know if a storm might be coming their way.
Flat Stanley even got to take a trip up the mast to help Uncle Jon work on the boat. The mast at the very top is 63.8 feet above the water. Now that is a great view. Good thing Flat Stanley isn’t scared of heights!
Flat Stanley got a tour of the Key West Harbour Yacht Club, which is where Beausoleil is docked. There is a Tiki Hut, a really nice restaurant with a beautiful view, a pool, a workout room, sea kayaks, a beach and a lot of friendly neighbors that also live on their boats. Flat Stanley and Uncle Jon posed for a picture under the stars at the Tiki Hut.
Aunt Shawna decided that Flat Stanley was a little over dressed for Key West, no one wears a tie here and it is too warm for long pants, shoes and socks. Shawna made him a couple of outfits so he could be comfortable during his visit. The first outfit was a tank top and shorts. He also needed a pair of sunglasses and a hat because it is so sunny and warm here in Key West. Flat Stanley found some shells on the beach!
Key West History is full of stories about “Wreckers”. These are people who came to Key West and made a living by salvaging ships that wrecked on the shallow reefs around the islands. During the winter and spring months there is a local “Wreckers Race” sponsored by the Schooner Wharf Bar (one of the oldest restaurants in Key West). This is where the sailboats, both private and commercial, of Key West race against each other from the tip of Key West out to a beautiful reef called Sand Key Light. Flat Stanley was lucky enough to get a crew spot on sailboat Tovarish with Captain Ron and his crew. Here is Flat Stanley helping flake (fold) the staysail.
Here is Flat Stanley keeping watch.
Here is Flat Stanley with the crew of Tovarish – can you find Flat Stanley?
Flat Stanley spent Easter Sunday in Key West with Aunt Shawna and Uncle Jon. They all went to their friend’s catamaran for Easter Dinner. Flat Stanley fit right in. He even tried on the bunny ears!
Flat Stanley had a lot of good food to eat. There was ham, lamb, crab claws, lot’s of different kinds of salad…
Flat Stanley especially liked the chocolate cake with strawberries,
And the chocolate Easter Egg cake and the brownies!
Key West is the southern-most city in the Continental United States. Highway U.S. 1 begins in Key West. All the tourists get their picture taken at Mile Marker Zero.
While Flat Stanley was visiting Key West, the 16th annual Songwriter’s Festival was taking place. More than 150 of the industry’s top performing songwriters were on the island playing on all the local stages including beautiful beaches, resorts, boats, bars and theaters. Flat Stanley got to see: Marshall Chapman, John Pardi, Bobby Pinson, The World Famous Headliners, the Andy Velo Band, Jerrod Niemann, one of Jon and Shawna’s friends Scott Kirby, and the most entertaining performer of all – Robert Earl Keen! These people have written so many famous songs, mostly performed by Country and Western stars. That’s Robert Earl Keen performing on stage!
Flat Stanley went to bed that night wishing that Haylee could have joined him in all this fun. He dreamed about becoming a famous songwriter and playing in Key West someday.
Key West is also known as the Conch Republic. In 1982 Key West seceded from the United States and became its own nation known as the Conch Republic. While it was not a real secession movement, every year there is a Mock battle between the US Coast Guard and the local “Conchs” to remind everyone why there was a secession movement in the first place – they are seeking only to bring more “Humor, Warmth, and Respect” to a world in sore need of all three. Flat Stanley watched the battle from Mallory Square. This is a picture of the Western Union, the largest schooner in Key West.
Here is a picture of the US Coast Guard fighting back with water canons! Even though it was all in good fun, Flat Stanley had a hard time watching. It looked like the boats were going to run into each other. But they didn’t…
Yipee! The Conchs won the battle. The US Coast Guard surrendered and raised the flag of the Conch Republic!
Since Flat Stanley, Uncle Jon and Aunt Shawna were already down town, they decided to visit the Ice Cream Shop,
watch the sunset,
see the famous Cat Man show,
try on a few hats,
and visit the Key West Art and Historical Society Museum statues. This one is called “The Sunday Walk” by J. Seward Johnson Jr.
Stanley checked out the Mel Fischer Treasure Museum. This is a picture of Flat Stanley in one of the canons on display at the museum.
Flat Stanley visited one of the largest banyan trees on the island.
He even had Key Lime pie for dinner!
One day while Flat Stanley was having lunch on the Upper Deck, the Disney Cruise Ship Magic docked right out front. Flat Stanley talked non-stop about how much he wanted to go on a cruise on that ship some day!
The next evening, Flat Stanley, Uncle Jon and Aunt Shawna were invited aboard their friends’ 75-foot power yacht Bellissimo for a Sushi dinner.
They got to meet Underwater Digital Video Production Videographers – Joe and Ozlem Berg. They own a company called “Way Down Video”. Their goal is to show people how amazing the underwater life is with the fish, coral, and all the other creatures, and to teach people why it is so important to keep our seas and oceans clean. They brought one of their DVD’s and we watched it on the big screen. Stanley put on his shortie, snorkel, and face mask and pretended to swim with all the fish!
The Hermit Crab freaked Flat Stanley out just a little bit…
The next day there was another beautiful sunset at the marina! There were so many other things that Uncle Jon and Aunt Shawna wanted to show Flat Stanley, but they ran out of time. I guess Flat Stanley will have to visit again, hopefully this time Haylee will be able to come with him.
Have a safe trip home Flat Stanley! We love you, Haylee! We wish you could have mailed yourself with Flat Stanley for a visit to Key West.
Uncle Jon and Aunt Shawna