Remembering Winnie the Pooh

I now know that A. A. Milne wrote so many more plays, stories and essays besides Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, and the poetry books Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young. There have been a few good biographies of Milne over the years. But this quartet of books are childhood classics.

I was no exception. When I was eight, my uncle gave them to me in a boxed set just before I was supposed to go into the hospital. He, like everyone else, knew that I liked to read more than to watch TV. After I got home, I drove everyone crazy memorizing the verses and reading them out loud umpteen times. I still can’t write poetry, but I love reading it.

Those paperbacks were soon dog-eared and well used. Eventually, I donated them to my school library. A couple of years ago, I got nostalgic. I was using a favorite bookmark that a college friend had given me. It shows Christopher Robin and Pooh leaning against a fence, with the quote: “Promise you won’t forget me. Not even when I’m a hundred.” I thought I might like to read them again. As luck would have it, my local library had audio versions on CD. It would be a new way to experience them. It all came back. I never forgot the words completely. The actor reading them did an excellent job voicing all the characters. But I had the speaker of the line on my bookmark wrong. I thought Pooh said it, but it was Christopher Robin–who had to start school and put childish things aside. I’ve never quite done that. I still love stuffed animals.

I also remember having fun with an arts and crafts kit where you could make stencil drawings of each of the characters. Tigger was my original favorite; I named one of my stuffed tigers after him. These days, I really love them all. I can’t pick a special one.

Of course, there were earlier animated versions of the stories. “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day” has a special place in my heart. It’s narrated by Sebastian Cabot, who played the butler on Family Affair. One weekend evening, just after dinner, they decided to show it on TV again, so I decided to watch it. Turns out that our cat, Miranda, just a kitten at the time, liked it a lot, too. She was transfixed by the images on the screen.

Every once in a while, I want to hear “Return to Pooh Corner,” shown below along with scenes from Disney’s movie Winnie the Pooh, which was also very good. Kenny Loggins updated the original song in the 1990s. This version is much more hopeful. Grownups also need a place they can escape to once in a while to leave behind the heavy responsibilities of adult life. And if you’re lucky enough to share memories with children in your life, all the better. I’ve included the words as well. I got them from the website The Page at Pooh Corner. Enjoy!

 

Return to Pooh Corner
Written and performed by: Kenny Loggins

Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon
Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore
As our days disappeared all too soon
But I've wandered much further today than I should
And I can't seem to find my way back to the Wood

So help me if you can
I've got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
You'd be surprised
There's so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh

Winnie the Pooh doesn't know what to do
Got a honey jar stuck on his nose
He came to me asking help and advice
And from here no one knows where he goes
So I sent him to ask of the Owl if he's there
How to loosen a jar from the nose of a bear

It's hard to explain how a few precious things
Seem to follow throughout all our lives
After all's said and done I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side
So I tucked him in, I kissed him and as I was going
I swear that the old bear whispered 
  "Boy welcome home"

Believe me if you can
I've finally come back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
What do you know
There's so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin
Back to the ways of Christopher Robin
Back to the days of Pooh

© 1969,1994 MCA Music Publishing, a division of MCA Inc.


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Filed under Children's Books, Classics, Poetry

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