April 5th, 2004
 
Dear Miss Little, Taylor and classmates:
 
          Thank you so much for sharing Flat Stanley with us.  These past few days have been an adventure for all of us!  Before I took Flat Stanley to the Post Office today for his trip back to Connecticut, he had a chance to share some of his experience with us.  Although I can't remember what he told me word for word, I think I have captured the main substance of what he had to say.
           After Flat Stanley arrived here last week, he spent the first couple of days recuperating from the trip down to Florida.  It seems that he got caught in an automatic mail processing machine in Hartford that had him going around in circles for a few hours.  By the time they got him on a plane, he was pretty dizzy.  The rest of his trip was uneventful, and of course, Taylor had told us to expect him, so we were happy to see him arrive safely.
           Once he was back up to speed, he decided that what he really wanted to do in Florida was to take advantage of all the warm weather and go for a swim.  Since Mimi and PopPop's house is on a lake, he got up early on Friday morning and went out to the back yard for an invigorating dip.  He was about to dive into the lake when he got the feeling that someone or something was watching him.  He looked back at the house, and didn't see anyone.  He then looked up in the trees, but all he saw were some birds and a squirrel.  He was about to shrug it off, when he happened to look out at the small island in front of him and there, lying in the sunshine, WAS THE BIGGEST ALLIGATOR HE HAD EVER SEEN IN HIS LIFE! For some reason, he decided he wasn't that anxious to go for a swim in the lake anymore.  Maybe he would go for a swim in the ocean.
           Back in the house, he had a good hearty breakfast of country ham, fried eggs and grits.  Nothing like a bowl of Florida grits to get the day started off in the right direction.   Since Flat Stanley wanted to go for a swim in the ocean, Mimi and PopPop decided they would take him for a ride to the beach.  As they were pulling up to park by the beach, Flat Stanley looked out the window and saw the sign for a beachside restaurant.  It said "The Shark House".  Yikes, SHARK HOUSE!!!!!!  Right there and then Flat Stanley decided he really didn't want to have anything to do with swimming on this trip.  Maybe he would look for some other type of adventure.  After all, he was in northeast Florida, and for years this had been a hangout for pirates and buccaneers.
           Since Flat Stanley was no longer in the mood for a swim, Mimi and PopPop decided they would take him to visit Washington Oaks State Park, just north of where they lived. Flat Stanley had never seen so many huge trees.  It didn't take him very long to start climbing up the trunk of the biggest oak tree he could find. As he was climbing the tree, he couldn't help but think that this tree was over two hundred years old, and could have very well been a shade tree for pirates.  Maybe, just maybe, they might have buried their treasure somewhere around this very spot.
           After coming down from the oak tree, Flat Stanley decided he was pretty hot from all that exercise, so he looked around for a nice shaded pond in which he could cool off for a few minutes.  Just down the path, that was exactly what he found.  He knew the pond was way too small for alligators, and since it was fresh water, there couldn't be any sharks.  He was just about to stick his toe in the water, when he happened to see, looking up at him, the BIGGEST GOLDFISH he could have ever imagined.  Well, that did it.  Flat Stanley decided once and for all that any cooling off he might want to do would be in a swimming pool or a bathtub.  From here on out he was concentrating strictly on looking for pirate treasure.
           That night, Flat Stanley had a hard time falling asleep. Visions of buried treasure kept going through his mind.  Finally, he got out of bed and being careful not to wake Mimi or PopPop, he slipped under the bedroom door and went looking for the library.  Earlier in the evening, after a wonderful meal of pork chops, black-eyed peas and cornbread, he had noticed some really old books in the library.  He decided that would be a great place to start looking. He had just pulled the first book off the shelf, when lo and behold, folded neatly between the pages, he found an old yellowed paper.  He could hardly believe his luck, when he opened it and saw it was an old treasure map.  IT SHOWED WHERE ALL THE SHIPWRECKS HAD BEEN AROUND THE PART OF FLORIDA WHERE HE WAS VISITING.  Well, going back to sleep turned out to be pretty impossible.  It seemed like the night was fifty hours long, and daybreak just would never come, but finally it did Flat Stanley knew what he had to do, and just how he was going to do it.  He told Mimi and PopPop he had things to do, and not to expect him back for lunch.  Even though he was going to miss some of his favorite catfish, fried okra and buttermilk for lunch; he had bigger things on his mind. 
 While climbing the oak tree the day before, he had seen a hollow in the tree where the branches started spreading out.  Something told him, that had he been a pirate, looking to hide some treasure, this would have been a good place to start.  Before long he was back in Washington Oaks State Park and it didn't take him very long at all to climb back up the tree again.  Even though the hollow in the tree was very narrow, because he was so flat, he was able to find his way down the inside of the trunk to the base of the tree.  Using a flashlight he had borrowed from the house, he looked everywhere, but there was nothing down there but a pile of rocks.  He sat on them for a few minutes while trying to figure out his next move.  He was about to go back up the trunk to get out of the tree when he stopped cold in his tracks.  WHY WOULD THERE BE ROCKS AT THE BOTTOM OF A HOLLOW INSIDE A TREE? Well, there was only one way to find out.  He quickly started moving rocks off the pile, and THERE IT WAS!  What looked for all intents just like the pirates treasure chest he had pictured in his mind.  In less time than it takes to tell about it, he had opened the chest and there it was, just full of coins from far away lands!  
Well, he knew he couldn't take them all out at once, but just to make sure that everyone back home would believe him, he took a coin for every one of the students in Miss Little's class.  
So that pretty much winds up Flat Stanley's big adventure down here in Florida.  We will miss him, but he told me before he left he was really starting to get homesick for all of his friends in Tolland.  He also told me exactly where I could find the treasure chest, so if any of you come down here to visit, I'll be glad to take you to that huge old oak tree where Flat Stanley left it.
 Have a good time in school, and take good care of our friend Flat Stanley.
 Taylor's Mimi and PopPop
 
P.S. We sent some hush puppies back with Flat Stanley, but he probably ate them all on the trip back home :~). The next time he comes for a visit, we will explore Saint Augustine, the oldest city in the United States.