The Adventures of Flat Ruthie! Part One.

10 Apr

When I was a kid my teacher read us a story about a boy who could fit under doors and inside of envelopes. His name, as I’m sure you can guess, was Flat Stanley.

Somewhere along the years making a Flat Stanley and placing him in an envelope and mailing him off to family and friends in faraway places became a second-grade tradition. My kids sent out their Flat Stanleys to Washington and we also hosted a friend’s Flat Stanley. (The idea, in case you’re unfamiliar with it, is that the child colors their Stanley and mails him off to someplace far away so that the recipient can then show Stanley around their town and photograph him in these far-off places and, in the process, teach the child about geography and interesting things about new places and people. They then mail Stanley back along with the pictures and a letter describing what all Stanley got to see and do – it’s a learning-by-proxy adventure…Stanley can go places that the child can’t go…and it’s all very fun and even, hopefully, educational!)

Well, Ruth Hendricks, who passed second grade at least a couple of decades ago, got the fantastic idea that she would create her own version of Flat Stanley…and so, in the mail in a bright pink envelope, we recently received Flat Ruthie. And she has had (I hope) a fantastic time with us here in southwestern Minnesota.

Ruth has a photography blog as her main blogging adventure, and has added her Flat Ruthie blog this year as a new and different way to approach the blogging world as well as, of course, “experience” the world through her flat self.

And so…I present to you, Flat Ruthie in Minnesota.

The photo captions tell her story…

(Please see Ruth’s two blogs if you’re interested! This link FLAT RUTHIE is for her Flat Ruthie blog. And this link RUTH E HENDRICKS PHTOGRAPHY is for her photography blog. She would love Flat Ruthie to travel to as many places as possible, so anyone is welcome to join in the fun! Please consider it – I’d love to read about your adventures together! I could even send her on to you…as long as you promise to return her…we have more adventure to take together!)

Flat Ruthie arrives!!!

But...what's this? She thought she was coming to Minnesota!

Oh, thank goodness! All is well.

Though Flat Ruthie didn't realize it at the time of her arrival, coming to our house means coming to two states at once...Minnesota...and Iowa. Here she stands, in the middle of the road - should she step right, and head into Iowa? Or should she step left and head into more civilized country in Minnesota? She chose Minnesota - thankfully - though she still faced things she'd never seen before. But, with her trusty camera and her winning smile, she came through unscathed.

If ever Ruthie's life was in danger, it was now. But she, being brave beyond her stature, stood up to the cat and didn't take "no" for an answer. "Just one little photo? I promise it won't hurt."

Yet another test of Ruthie's bravery...Gandolf the Frog. When we walked up to him he was green...with envy...but then she photographed him and he returned to his normal pale hue. He just was so pleased to be a part of her adventures.

For a brief moment in Ruthie's travels, she was held captive by a smiling child...I mean, a flat frog named Golum. Things looked grim...

...until...success! Golum was no match for our Ruthie!

And so our story ends...for today, at least. Ruthie, safe in her Easter Egg basket, her camera intact and not a hair on her head out of place, smiles at the world...and waits for the next leg of her journey. Tune in again someday for the next installment of The Adventures of Flat Ruthie!


27 Responses to “The Adventures of Flat Ruthie! Part One.”

  1. Minnesota Prairie Roots April 10, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    As always, a well-told story with your humorous take. This looks like a great family project. I look forward to reading the next chapter in Ruthie’s adventures.

  2. rutheh April 10, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    Terrific post of FR adventures and with your permission will reblog it later this evening.
    Love your assistants in the shots. Iowa bumps her “states visited ” @ 23!!! Also glad you explained ole Flat Stanley details as not everyone knows about him. And I was in second grade in 1959 but still teach it!!!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 10, 2012 at 8:05 am #

      Absolutely, please re-post! We have enjoyed her for sure – the kids love thinking up places for her to go/adventures for her to have. I don’t know if Ruthie has been to South Dakota, but we’ll take her there too soon, if it’s okay that we post about her more than once!

      • rutheh April 10, 2012 at 8:10 am #

        I think multiple and continued adventures increases interest and fun!

  3. hotlyspiced April 10, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    It’s so unfair. Flat Ruthie gets to do so much traveling and go to places and see things the rest of us can only dream about. She was very wise to step into Minnesota instead of Iowa (or so I am told!) xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 10, 2012 at 8:07 am #

      I know…if only we could do all that she does! I’d be willing to slip into an envelope and head to Australia, if I could!

  4. gardenfreshtomatoes April 10, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Wonderful adventures for you, Ruthie, and the kids!
    My kiddos have great memories of Flat Stanley coming to visit the year we lived in Florida. (My mother was an elementary librarian) We took him to Disney, of course!
    Looking forward to the next installment of Ruthie Takes Minnesota!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 10, 2012 at 11:11 am #

      Yes, it’s a lot of fun! How great that your mom was an elementary librarian – that must be one of the best jobs ever. I briefly considered doing library science when I was in college…if I had it to do over, I probably would!

  5. ceciliag April 10, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    well i am glad she overcame her encounter with a flat golum! what a lovely series! c

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 10, 2012 at 11:12 am #

      Thanks, Cecilia! I think that the look the cat was giving her was pretty traumatic, and then along came that flat golum…crazy times.

  6. cravesadventure April 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    Love it – great photos – thanks for sharing!

  7. Rita Vander Kooi April 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Well, I had been reading about Flat Stanley from a speaker who talked at a seminar I recently attended named Jolene Brown. I honestly thought Flat Stanley had something to do with estate planning or who knows. Thanks for the background. I wish I could think of a super-exciting spot to photograph Flat Ruthie here in SW MN, but it is tough!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

      Hee hee!! I know. It is a little tough. Perhaps for our next post she should come visit some heifers?! And I just saw the new Wall Drug sign on I90 – that might be an idea! And South Dakota…she must go there! When Flat Stanley visited us he went to school, church, climbed up giant snow drifts…I took Ruthie to the Worthington sign/stone by the train…but forgot to post it. Next time!!!

      • Rita Vander Kooi April 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

        Why, yes, I suppose by the heifers. Or perhaps climbing the ladder into the milk tank at our dairy? Maybe Falls Park in South Dakota?

        • Gretchen O'Donnell April 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

          The kids adore Falls Park…so yes, that would be fun! And yes, climbing ladders is always good! I’ll totally call you!

  8. Ashley April 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    HLP does that in kindergarten. Flat Carter and Flat Addison went to Cambodia.
    My kids love that.
    Maybe Flat Ruthie could windsurf.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      In Kindergarten! Wow. Yes, I like the idea of making a flat self…rather than Stanley. And I bet they win for farthest travel of a flat self!!! Windsurfing…now there’s a good thought!!!

  9. Just A Smidgen April 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    I’ve been following Ruthie for some time now, Gretchen and have to admit I’ve developed an overwhelming sense of jealousy over her adventures! She has managed to make it to your home, been able to pet your little kittens and I’m sure she’s seen your beautiful red amaryllis too!! AND she gets Easter chocolate!! It’s just not fair;) xo Smidge

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 11, 2012 at 6:57 am #

      She’s definitely a girl about town! Though from the look the cat is giving her, I’m not sure that she was able to pet the kittens for very long. And as for the amaryllis, they’re all shriveled and sad now…so you’re not missing anything there! Enjoy your day!!!

  10. megtraveling April 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I can’t believe all the places Ruthie has been. It looks like you had a great time with her, too!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      It’s such a fun idea, isn’t it?! I think I’m going to keep her and do another post later on – there just wasn’t enough time to do everything!

  11. whatimeant2say April 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    Ruthie is so much better looking than Flat Stanley! She must be just at the beginning of her travels 😉

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      She started in December…and I think the plan is to go for a year…I need to catch up on her recent posts…

  12. Karen April 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Flat Ruthie does like to travel as does Flat Stanley. As a matter of fact, I sat next to Flat Stanley this year. Maybe I’ll meet Flat Ruthie in the near future.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell April 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

      That’s fun you sat by Stanley! I’m certain that you’d be able to show Ruthie around yourself if you’re interested! Thanks for stopping by!

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