Sunday, October 28, 2012

Winnie the Pooh, Cristopher Robin and Others







Some Winnie the Pooh quotes (A A Milne):


“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” 

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”

“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet.
Even longer,' Pooh answered.” 

“If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart. I'll stay there forever.” 

“You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” 

“I'm not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” 

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” 

“Just because an animal is large, it doesn't mean he doesn't want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.” 

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.” 

“Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” 

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.” 

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That's why we call it the present." 

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Some Winnie the Pooh, and related, trivia: 


Winnie the Pooh, aka Pooh Bear, is a fictional bear created by A A Milne in various stories and collections of stories that appeared between 1924 and 1928. Originally named Winnie-the-Pooh, the hyphens were dropped when Disney acquired the rights and produced its own features. 

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Milne named the character after a teddy bear owned by his son Christopher Robin. 

Winnie was the name of a popular Canadian black bear in the London Zoo. That bear had been purchased in Canada as a cub from a hunter by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn. Colebourn was a Canadian en route to England in WW1 and he purchased the bear in 1914. He named the bear Winnie after his hometown, Winnipeg and smuggled it into England, where it became the unofficial mascot of the Fort Garry Horse. Winnie was left with the London Zoo whilst Colebourn’s unit served in France. After the war she was officially donated to the zoo and she became a popular attraction. 

Lieutenant Colebourn with Winnie, 1914 

Christopher Robin with Winnie at the London Zoo.

Christopher Robin had been given a large doll bear for his first birthday, which he had named Edward Bear.  Because Christopher was one of Winnie's greatest fans and a frequent visitor to the zoo (where he was allowed to enter Winnie's enclosure, above), Christopher renamed his doll bear Winnie the Bear.

Christopher Robin with Winnie the Bear.


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Pooh was the name of a swan that Milne and his son encountered whilst on holiday. 

In the first book it is explained that Winnie is called Pooh because that is the sound made when he tries to blow flies from his nose: 

“...whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think – but I am not sure – that that is why he is always called Pooh.” 

An alternate explanation is also offered in another work, that Pooh was what Christopher Robin had called a swan.  With the swan gone, Christopher Robin changed the name of the doll bear to Winnie the Pooh to remember the swan.

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Christopher Robin’s names for his other toys were used for the additional characters in the Pooh stories, except for Owl and Rabbit. 

The toys are now on display in the New York Public Library. 

Original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed toys. Clockwise from bottom left: Tigger, Kanga, Edward Bear ("Winnie-the-Pooh"), Eeyore and Piglet. 

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Milne’s son Christopher Robin (1920-1996) was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin of the Pooh stories. Most will be familiar with the lines 

“Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares! 
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers!” 

Milne’s mother kept his hair long and dressed him in girlish clothes, having wanted a girl. The girlish hair and clothing also appear in the Pooh books. 



 Not long after Christopher’s birth, Milne had written to a friend “We did rather want a Rosemary.” 




Christopher Robin and Winnie with his mother, Dorothy ('Daphne') Milne (née de Sélincourt)

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Christopher served in the army for 5 years during WW2. Originally rejected on medical grounds, his father was able to secure him an enlistment, serving in the Middle East and Italy where he was wounded. Ironically both Christopher and his father had been pacifists. 

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Whilst serving abroad, Christopher became resentful at what he considered to be his father’s exploitation of his childhood. He came to hate the Pooh books and stories which prevented him having an identity in his own right. Even at boarding school as a child he had been constantly teased about the Pooh association. 

In 1973 he wrote that as a child "I quite liked being Christopher Robin and being famous. There were indeed times . . . when it was exciting and made me feel grand and important." 

In 1974, in his autobiography The Enchanted Place he described how that feeling had changed: 
“...when I was trudging London in search of an employer wanting to make use of such talents as I could offer, it seemed to me, almost, that my father had got to where he was by climbing upon my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and had left me with nothing but the empty fame of being his son.” 
The book caused Oliver Marre Pendennis of The Observer to comment that Christopher 
"had spent over 40 years trying to get off his knees from saying his prayers. Perhaps the most famous of all tiny boys (by comparison Little Lord Fauntleroy was a mere starlet), A.A. Milne's golden-curled son grew up loathing the Pooh books." 
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In 1948 Christopher married his cousin, a marriage disliked by his mother in that she did not get on with her brother, who was the father of his bride. His mother had not spoken to her brother for 30 years. 

Christopher Robin Milne, pictured here with his fiancée Lesley Selincourt in 1948

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Despite his association with the Pooh character and his hostility to it, he opened a bookshop with his wife in 1951. It was a moderate success. 

He saw his father occasionally before his father’s death in 1956 but had no further contact with his mother for the next 15 years until her death. On her deathbed she refused to see him. 

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A few months after his father's death in 1956, Christopher's daughter Clare was born, and diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy. She would later run a charity for the disabled called the Clare Milne Trust. 

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Christopher battled for some years with myasthenia gravis, a neurological disease, and passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 20th, 1996.

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