Monday, March 25, 2013

Better This Time Around

By Alyssa Hamilton

Most children remember doing Flat Stanley projects, sending cut-outs of the character to relatives, but most weren’t interviewed by ABC News because of it. This was the case when Julie DeCristofaro was in the second grade.

“My mom suggested that we send it to my uncle because he was an editor for ABC News,” she remembers. After her uncle received it, he showed it to his boss, who then suggested that Julie be interviewed and shown what her uncle does for a living. This, however, didn’t go as well as planned.

“Mom, I can’t do this! I need to go to bed!” Julie recalls telling her mother as she was being taken to be interviewed. Since her uncle worked the night shift, she went in at around 10 p.m. Once she got there, and the nerves began to set in, she tried to take off her coat, but found that she couldn’t. Her uncle tried to help her get her arm of her sleeve, and as he bent over, she accidentally poked him in the eye.

“I felt really bad. He screamed,” she remembers.

He then gave her a tour of his office and showed her his most recent editing project--the trailer for Spiderman. “I got to see the trailer before anyone else did. I was really excited,” she reminisces. Then it was time to prepare for the interview.

After getting make-up put on her and her hair braided on each side of her head, she went to the studio. Liz Cho was her interviewer, and Julie recalls her being “enthusiastic.” Being an already tired and slightly intimidated seven year old, Julie saw the camera and froze.

“I just wouldn’t speak,” she laughs as she recollects the interview. “I would just nod when the questions wouldn’t be yes or no questions.”

After a while, though, Liz Cho caught on to Julie’s nerves and started to ask yes or no questions. This went on for a short while, and then the interview was over.

Julie’s mother still has the tape of the interview, and Julie refuses to let anyone watch it. “Every time I do something wrong, she goes, ‘We could always watch the video again.’ And I say, ‘Don’t you dare,’ ” Julie explains. And since the interview was aired around four o’clock in the morning, not many people have seen it.

Nowadays, Julie is an early childhood education major with a concentration in math at Saint Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, NY. “Remembering how innocent I was at the time has inspired me to want to work with children in the future,” she says. Will she have her future students do their own Flat Stanley projects?

“Yes, I love Flat Stanley,” she said. “It just goes to show that the most unexpected things can create memories which last a lifetime.”

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