“I suppose that every one of us hopes secretly for immortality,” – A.A. Milne – 1926
Alan Alexander, “A.A.” Milne lived from January 18, 1882 to January 31, 1956.? During his writing career, A.A. Milne wrote seven novels, five nonfiction books and thirty-four plays as well as serving as editor of Granta and assistant editor of Punch Magazine.? Yet most of you know Milne for the four children’s books and two poetry collections that he wrote that amassed a total of 70,000 words (the length of an average novel).? These four books would open up the window of imagination for generations to come.? It’s two central characters were CR Milne and his beloved teddy bear.
For children around the world, A.A. Milne’s son and his teddy bear are best known as Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh.
The legacy of these books and his words have inspired children and adults for generations and will continue to be a part of our lives for years to come.? In the most loving way a father can show his love for his child and leave an immortal message of imagination, friendship, hope and love, A.A. Milne created a world unlike any other we have seen in literature.
In the words of A.A. Milne ,?“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.”?? This was his promise not just to his readers, but his family.
In a way, he was sending a message to his cherished child, that immortality is stored in the love we feel for one another.? Through the bonds of friendship where life is as simple as getting honey from a beehive, we too can live in harmony, where we respect each other.? Whether we hold the hyper tendencies of Tigger or the depressed world of Iyor, every one of us is special.
A.A. Milne saw the world through the eyes of his own child and found a level of inspiration never before seen in a world of childhood fantasy.
Unfortunately, like most that find light in the areas of darkness, the tremendous success of the Pooh series placed challenges on Milne and Christopher Robin.? In 1929, shortly after the books and characters had hit a peak of success, Milne decided to discontinue writing children’s books and in 1930, he sent Christopher off to boarding school to escape the limelight and find direction for himself.? His publication, Punch would not even publish any new works because nothing gave him as much publicity as those wonderful characters.
During his time at school Christopher was ridiculed and later in life, in his memoirs, he insisted the character was fictional and not based on him.? He even declared that his family never even called him “Christoper Robin”, but by his nickname Billy.
Whether reality or fiction mirrored each other, the lives of Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh and all their friends have become a part of our hearts.
As we reflect on each of our childhood’s and continue to see the world through the eyes of our own children, let us reflect on his words and their importance:
“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”
“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”
“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
“How do you spell ‘love’?” – Piglet
“You don’t spell it…you feel it.” – Pooh”
“I used to believe in forever, but forever’s too good to be true”
On January 31, sixty years to the day that A.A. Milne penned his last word and last breath, we say thank you for creating a world of simplicity, imagination, friendship and immortality.? In the world of Pooh, something as simple as a hug can truly make the world a better place.