P.C.Pop with Pablo

Flat Stanley travels to Indiana

In Books, Children, Children's Literature, Comic Books, Education, Family, History, Lafayette Indiana, Literacy Month, Malavenda, NEA, NPR, Pablo Malavenda, Purdue, Reading Across America, Story Book Leadership, WBAA on June 1, 2014 at 1:26 am

Dear Mrs. Egan’s Second Grade Class,

Thank you for sending Flat Stanley to visit me in Indiana. Flat Stanley and I have had a great time going to many of my favorite places in my hometown of West Lafayette as well as Lafayette and Battle Ground, Indiana.

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First, I gave Flat Stanley a tour of our neighborhood, which is called Hadley Moors. It’s named after Hadley Lake which is near our house. Next, I brought Flat Stanley to see one of the many corn and soybean fields in Indiana. Indiana corn and soybeans are used all over the world for lots of foods like popcorn, tofu, corn syrup, soy milk, and even ethanol gas for your cars.

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In addition to corn, Indiana is known as the “Crossroad of America” for many reasons including having lots of trains going through here. Flat Stanley and I are pictured on a bridge above the Four Corners Depot along the Wabash River in Downtown Lafayette.

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I then took Flat Stanley to school with me. I am a freshman at William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette. Besides my classes, my favorite activity at school is band. This year I played alto-saxophone in the marching band, the pep band and the jazz band. I also am on the cross country team.

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My high school is named after President William Henry Harrison. President Harrison was from Indiana; and as the Governor of the Indiana territory, he led the Battle of Tippecanoe.

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The Battle of Tippecanoe is one of the most important battles in the history of our country – and it took place in 1811 (over 200 years ago) in the next town over from me – Battle Ground, Indiana.

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Battle Ground is named for the site of this battle – the site of the battle is now a Registered National Landmark, with a statue of William Henry Harrison (see us below).

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Today, the Battle Field Park is a fun place to go to learn about the Battle of Tippecanoe and to hike on the trails along the river — but it also has lots of festivals throughout the summer. Two of my favorites are the annual Indiana Fiddlers’ Gathering (music festival) and the Steam and Gas Power Show.

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The battle took place near the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers.

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Our county is now named Tippecanoe; and the Wabash River separates our two cities – West Lafayette and Lafayette.

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The Wabash River flows right into the Mississippi River. There are several trails and bridges that go along and over the Wabash River. Flat Stanley and I explored a few different parts of the Wabash River during his stay.

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Downtown Lafayette is a fun place to visit. Today Flat Stanley and I attended the “’Round the Fountain” Art Fair and the Farmer’s Market.

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The county courthouse for Tippecanoe County is in Lafayette, Indiana on the other side of the Wabash River.

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Above is a picture of Flat Stanley and me with the Tippecanoe County Courthouse in the background. On top of the courthouse dome is a 14 foot statue representing “Liberty.” In December the dome is filled with lights for the holidays.

Lafayette and West Lafayette were named after Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, who was a famous French General who helped President George Washington in the Revolutionary War.

Here is Flat Stanley with me at the courthouse fountain with a statue of General Lafayette.

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Lafayette also has several big factories that make lots of the things you enjoy in Connecticut —— like Subaru Outback cars, Caterpillar equipment, and Alcoa aluminum, which is used to make aluminum bats. Here are pictures of Flat Stanley and me at these three factories.

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My hometown of West Lafayette is best known as the home of Purdue University.

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Purdue University is the flagship university of the State of Indiana. There are 40,000 students enrolled at Purdue.

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Here, Flat Stanley and I are pictured under the Purdue Alumni Gateway Arch and the Bell Tower. Look carefully at the base of the Bell Tower and you will see us. The bells in the Bell Tower play music — even the Purdue Fight Song.

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Purdue is named after John Purdue who gave land and money to the State of Indiana to start this state university. Flat Stanley and I are sitting below with the statue of John Purdue in front of the oldest building on campus, University Hall.

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Some of the famous alumni of Purdue include Orville Redenbacher (the popcorn guy); three NFL Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Len Dawson & Bob Griese (Miami Dolphins); John Wooden, basketball hall of famer; Ryan Newman, winner of the Daytona 500; Olympic gold medalist in diving, David Boudia; and 23 astronauts including Neil Armstrong.

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I actually got to meet Drew Brees when he was a student and heard Neil Armstrong speak at the dedication of this building — memories I will never forget.

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Pictured below is Flat Stanley and me with my friends at the Neil Armstrong statue in front of the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.

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Purdue sports play in the Big 10 conference. They have lots of sports teams including basketball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, track & field, wrestling, swimming, diving, baseball, softball, rowing, sailing, rugby, gymnastics, ice hockey, and football.

Flat Stanley and I are pictured below at the Ross-Ade Stadium where Purdue plays football.

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I performed here with my high school marching band during half time of a Purdue football game last September. That was a very cool experience.

Flat Stanley and I visited the Grand Prix Track (a student go-cart race), and the soccer and baseball stadiums.

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We then went to the Purdue Boathouse, home of the Purdue Crew Team, on the Wabash River.

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I also took Flat Stanley to see the Purdue Airport. If you look closely in the upper left hand corner, you can see the air traffic control tower.

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At Purdue, students can learn how to be pilots, airport managers, and air traffic controllers. All kinds of planes fly in and out of this airport including some really fast jets. The sports teams also use this airport to travel to games.

West Lafayette is also the home of the Indiana Veterans’ Home. The Indiana Veterans’ Home is a place that helps all US veterans from the whole state of Indiana.

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I have been to the Veterans’ home many times to serve the veterans and to sing to them with my school choir on Veterans Day each November.

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The day we visited the Indiana Veterans’ Home there were lots of flags on display to celebrate and remember veterans on Memorial Day.

Flat Stanley and I then did a lot of my favorite things in town.

We started by visiting the Celery Bog and Nature Center.

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They have lots of cool programs like “how to catch fireflies.” My family often walk our dog, Bailey, on the trails here and ride our bikes on the bike trails.

We then went to the Tippecanoe Amphitheater. They have an outdoor stage where we have seen shows. There are trails here, too. The trails at the Amphitheater are the official cross country trails for my high school cross country team — so, I run these trails a lot.

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There are lots of great restaurants in our town. While Flat Stanley was visiting, we ate at two of my favorite restaurants. Below, Flat Stanley and I are sharing Broccoli Cheddar soup in a bread bowl at Panera Bread.

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Below we stopped at the Dog N Suds Drive-in restaurant and had Coney Island chili dogs and Dog N Suds root beer in a frosted mug. My friend, Brett’s dad owns Dog N Suds.

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Flat Stanley and I then went Bowling…

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and Played some Air Hockey and…

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Played a little bit of pocket Billiards (pool).

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I then took Flat Stanley to Von’s, my favorite local store. Von’s sells lots of stuff including comic books, books, and records/CDs/DVDs.

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We then went to the movies — which I love doing. We saw the new X-Men movie.

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The next day we went to the Columbian Park in Lafayette. Columbian Park is named after Christopher Columbus. It is a great park.

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It has a train that looks silly but is a lot of fun.

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It also has a really awesome water park called Tropicanoe Cove, which has water slides and a lazy river.

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The Columbian Park also has a Zoo. The Columbian Park Zoo is free!

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The Zoo has hedgehogs, miniature horses, spider monkeys, prairie dogs, chinchillas, foxes, singing dogs, goats, porcupines, tamanduas, pot-belled pigs, armadillos, wallabies, polecats, llamas, gibbons — and a lot of birds, reptiles and other animals.

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Flat Stanley liked the spider monkeys and gibbons the best. When I was your age — I attended a Zoo camp and had to milk a goat. We visit the park, especially the zoo, a lot in the summer.

Before Flat Stanley went home to Connecticut, I wanted him to see where my mother works. She is a news producer on National Public Radio at WBAA radio station. Flat Stanley used the microphone in the radio studio where my mom works.

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Lastly, Flat Stanley and I went to Mass at our church, St. Thomas Aquinas. It also happens to be where my father works as the parish administrator.

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Flat Stanley and I had a blast. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of all of the places Flat Stanley and I visited in Indiana.

Thank you again for sending Flat Stanley to me. See you soon.

Your friend (& first cousin once removed),

Maximilian Xavier


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