Thursday, October 30, 2008

Feel good


A little more than a month earlier, teacher Joyce Ben-KiKi had Aron and his classmates each send letters to a famous person as part of a language arts lesson. Ben-KiKi wrapped the exercise around well-known children's book character "Flat Stanley," so along with the letters, the children each tucked a Flat Stanley figure they had made into each envelope.

"I told them not to expect a letter back," Ben-KiKi said. "I told them these people are very busy and most likely will not write back."

The list of recipients was impressive: Yankee third basemen Alex Rodriguez; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz; Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Obama was the only one to write back. Two other boys, Avshalom Drescher and Zachary Goldberg, both 8, also wrote to him, but Aron was the first to get a reply.

Obama's three-page letter to Aron described Flat Stanley's visit with him and his staff in Washington, D.C. It chronicled their busy day together, which included coffee with constituents, a Senate committee meeting and a trip to the gym. It also had historical facts about the U.S. Capitol, details of Obama's job and a confession from Obama.

“Sometimes I get a little nervous before talking in front of a crowd, but Flat Stanley helped me practice the speech," Obama wrote. "He made me recite it in front of him and then even gave me some advice so the speech would go smoothly. Flat Stanley is really a great coach."

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