As a child, I had a very distinct abhorrence for Dr. Suess. Who at the age of five has such a strong opinion of someone so famous, so loved? But I did. I thought he was silly and so nonsensical. I did not like him, I did not!
I did not like the cartoons my older brother loved to watch. Roadrunner, Woody the Woodpecker, and yes, even Charlie Brown. I did not like that it was so predictable, so irritatingly formulaic that the coyote would never win, that the woodpecker was so destructive and that Charlie Brown was stupid enough to fall for Lucy always disappointing him.
Christopher Robin and Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo, and Eyore were all wonderfully, adorable. Charming and heartfelt and very imaginative. They spoke to me, deeply, funnily, and profoundly.
Pooh, a bear with very little brain, spoke truth and clarity that I recognized at a very young age. Christopher Robin was their protector, their play pal and their father of sorts. He loved and accepted them in all their unique personalities. And they were a family in the 100-acre wood.
They accepted and made way for their own personalities and proclivities. There was no one bashing each other over the head, pulling the football out from underneath you. They cared for each other; they stuck together.
And in a very English way, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin were best mates. I’m watching the movie that came out the past year of Christopher Robin becoming an adult and forgetting his friends. He is swept up with work, and play and the act of playing has been stolen from him.
The film brings him back to the 100-acre wood and to his family of beloved animals. It eventually brings him back to his wife and daughter, as he has allowed work to be the end all and steal from his family.
I read all of A.A. Milne book of poems, supposedly written by Robin, and Winnie the Pooh books of the 100 Acre wood, I read them in third grade and voraciously ate them up, relishing the sweet innocence, silliness and deep wonder of life in the 100 Acre Wood. I remember holding the hardback books with awe and excitement, in my small hands as I checked them from the library, thinking how grand it is to have such a book. And when I had read the last book written by A.A.Milne, I was sad, but just picked up the first book and began rereading them again.
And this is where I cut my teeth on poems. It is the first place where I delighted in the patterns and power of words strung into verse. It was magical and mysterious. And I loved every bit of it.
I would venture to say there are more out there like me, but perhaps you have forgotten how profound the experience was. Perhaps, Pooh and all the characters have been reduced to just a menagerie of stuffed silliness. But for me, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin will always hold an honored place in my heart. Thank you, A. A. Milne.