I’m Flat Stanley and I went to Hastings, Michigan, to visit my Uncle Jim.
When I first got there, the Fairies of the house came to make sure I didn’t bring any Woodland Magic into the house that didn’t belong.
After that, the house Dragons checked me for any evil Fire Magic. No fires allowed in the house.
Oh my gosh! I just walk in the door and there are fairies and dragons! They said that I had hardly any magic on me at all, so they let me meet Polly.
Polly said I could be her new boyfriend if I played the piano for her. I said I didn’t know how and she just folded her arms and looked at me. I decided to be polite and try.
I poked at a few notes and I didn’t think it sounded very good, but Polly jumped up and down and kissed me on the cheek. Ew!
Uncle Jim walked into the room and said, “What’s going on here?”
Polly quickly said, “Nothing!” and ran out of the room.
Uncle Jim said that since I know how to play the piano I should help him with the music he is writing.
Wow, you can write a music score on a computer just like you can write words. All you have to do is pick what kind of note you want and then just click where you want to put it. Uncle Jim said it is a sort of music processor. It will play back the music too. The headphones didn’t fit me very well.
“Let’s go outside,” Uncle Jim said, so out we went. He showed me the great big rock in his front yard.
Uncle Jim said that he got that rock put there because the neighbors keep driving and parking on his lawn and the rock is to block that from happening. “Since we’re outside,” Uncle Jim said, “let’s play gardening!”
Weeding is hard work. The Gnomes that watch the garden don’t do anything at all. They are so lazy! Once we got tired of pulling weeds Uncle Jim said, “Let’s go into town, I need to go to the store.”
Right on the corner in the middle of town there was a piano with a sign on it that read, “Play me.”
A nice lady played a song she learned by ear. It was by Beethoven and she didn’t even know the name of it. Uncle Jim knew what it was, “Für Elise”, and after she was done he played it properly and the lady and some other people were very impressed. He also played some of his original music and everyone stopped to listen.
We left to walk toward the store and there were bells on another corner.
You can play the bells by pulling the handles that hang down. Uncle Jim played each one to make sure that they all worked and then told me they were tuned to a major scale. He started playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” but after a few notes he decided that it was too much work running back and forth and yanking on handles. That’s when I realized that there was music everywhere in Hastings.
We continued walking to the store and I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Right there on the street were people just like me!!! That was the best thing ever. Maybe my ancestors are from Hastings.
Off we went again. It’s taking FOREVER to get to the store. We walked about half a block more and a monster grabbed me!
I was scared and said, “What are we going to do, Jim?”
Uncle Jim said that Fire Magic will knock out this kind of monster. I told him that I didn’t have any Fire Magic. Then Uncle Jim said that Woodland Magic might bore the monster to sleep, but I didn’t have any of that magic either. Then Uncle Jim smiled and told me to turn sideways and just slip through it’s fingers, and that’s exactly what I did.
We ran away while Uncle Jim said, “The monsters are supposed to hide until the street lights come on.” FINALLY we got to the store. I didn’t like being inside when the sun was shining and the weather was so perfect it tickled me everywhere so I snuck back outside. That’s when more trouble happened.
I was outside minding my own business waiting for Uncle Jim when two policemen came by. One of them asked me, “Can’t you read that sign, young man?”
I looked up and said, “I’m not littering, everyone knows not to do that.”
The policeman said, “That’s not what the sign says. It means that you are not supposed to be standing around here. You’ll have to leave.”
That’s when I thought to myself, ‘I have to learn more vocabulary words.’ Then I said out loud, “I’m waiting for my Uncle Jim to come out of the store.”
“That doesn’t excuse you from breaking the law, young man. We’re going to have to detain you until he comes out.”
Wouldn’t you know it, there was a jail right next to the store!
When Uncle Jim came out of the store he saw me in jail with the two police officers and he seemed to get really mad at me. He thanked the officers very nicely for keeping me safe and promised to keep a better eye on me. The officers just laughed and then said, “You’re lucky we don’t put this on your permanent record. Stay with your Uncle Jim!”
As we were walking back home, I saw a place I had to go in. Uncle Jim said that place is not for me but I knew what I had to do. I was arrested, I did time in jail, and now I needed to get a tattoo. Uncle Jim told me I couldn’t get one but I didn’t listen and barged right in.
I told the man I wanted my girlfriend Polly’s name tattooed on my arm with a heart around it. He said he can’t because I’m too young. The best he could do is give me a sticker on my cheekbone, and all he had was the Michigan “M”. I took what I could get and we left.
That’s all there is to tell. When Polly found out I had to go back to Florida she said, “I’m too good for you anyway,” and she stormed off to her room.
Hastings was a place of magic, of Fairies and Dragons, Gnomes and Monsters, music everywhere, and plenty of trouble to get into. Everyone should go to the little town of Hastings, Michigan. They only have 7,500 people, but there sure is a lot to do.