The amazing journey of ‘Flat Lachlan’You’d think someone who’s traveled around the world and had his picture taken at a variety of far-off places would have something to talk about, but that’s not the case for Flat Lachlan.
By: Bob Eighmy, Woodbury Bulletin
You’d think someone who’s traveled around the world and had his picture taken at a variety of far-off places would have something to talk about, but that’s not the case for Flat Lachlan.
The Liberty Ridge second-grader hasn’t said a word about his recent journey. Instead, he lets others speak on his behalf, regaling listeners with tales of his amazing trip many thousands of miles from Woodbury — and back.
Perhaps he’s simply shy, maybe he is very humble, but more likely it’s because he’s made of paper.
For you see, Flat Lachlan isn’t a person, he’s the alter-ego of a human second-grader, Lachlan Layt, 8.
The impetus for Flat Lachlan is the book “Flat Stanley.”
“The Flat Stanley Project provides an opportunity for students to make connections with students of other member schools who've signed up with the project,” explained Lachlan’s teacher, April Lynch. “Students read the book and became acquainted with the story. Then they made paper ‘Flat Stanleys’ of themselves.”
Lynch said the paper cut-outs and a journal are mailed to other people, who are asked to treat the figure as a visiting guest. They add details to this journal, documenting where they went and then return them both after a period of time.
“We read the story and we came up with (full sized) tracings of ourselves to send to different places,” Lachlan Layt said. “The people we sent them to are supposed to take them around and show them places.”
Lachlan sent his creation to Australia, to his grandparents Bob and Dianne Wegener. Flat Lachlan arrived there on April 3.
Nikki Layt, Lachlan’s mother, said her parents live in the city of Ballina, on the east coast of Australia 12 hours north of Sydney.
For roughly the next 10 days, Flat Lachlan took in the sights in the vicinity of Ballina.
He went to a skate park, where a man gave him a ride on a board, and a four year-old boy asked “How did Flat Lachlan breath in the letter?”
On April 15, Flat Lachlan was taken by the Wegeners to “The Big Banana at Coffs Harbour,” an amusement park three hours from Ballina. The traveling trio met a number of park guests who learned about Flat Lachlan, who sampled (in his way) a chocolate-coated banana with nuts.
From there, they departed on a very long road trip to Melbourne.
Along the way, they stopped at “Lachlan Valley Way,” crossing the Lachlan River at Forbes.
“Every single person was fascinated by Flat Lachlan,” Nikki Layt said.
Her parents took him to Canberra and the Parliament House, which is roughly the equivalent of the White House in America. It was there that Flat Lachlan hit a roadblock on his trip.
“He was confiscated and put in a cloak room. He was not allowed to walk through the Parliament House,” Nikki Layt said. “He did see it from the outside, though.”
Later, Flat Lachlan visited the elementary-level school Nikki Layt attended as a child. The current principal of Mt. Beauty Primary School was one of her classmates.
On May 15, Flat Lachlan and the Wegeners boarded a plane at Brisbane for a flight to Los Angeles, the initial “hop” of a trip that culminated in Canada, to Lachlan’s uncle’s home.
During a May 17 excursion to a county fair and rodeo in Cloverdale, Surrey, British Columbia, tragedy struck Flat Lachlan.
“He had a photo taken with a goat,” Nikki Layt said. “The goat decided to get a souvenir of Flat Lachlan — the cutout’s right arm. He ate it!”
Uncle Scott came up with the idea of a replacement bionic arm for Flat Lachlan, which he currently bears. He was returned via mail to his living counterpart, placed in a mail box on May 21.
April Lynch said her second grade students were “really, really impressed” with Flat Lachlan’s adventures.
“They loved looking at some of the items that came back with him. They were interested in the Big Banana,” Lynch said. “The map of Australia really interested them.”
Flat Lachlan’s travels aren’t quite over yet. He has tentative plans to go to Akron, Ohio.
The American parent company of Bob Wegener’s employer is in Akron, and he is slated to make a trip to that location in the near future.
No one knows for sure where he’ll go from there, for Flat Lachlan remains silent, preferring to be ever-enigmatic.