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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Brightening our lives

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?” – A.A. Milne

Today is the birthdate of English author A.A. Milne, who gave us one of the most lovable and lasting figures in childrens’ literature – Winnie The Pooh.  His amazing success with “That Silly Old Bear” overshadowed his other writing, which was really quite amazing in its own right.   During a 20-year period from about 1906 to 1925 he published 18 plays, 3 novels, and was a screenwriter for the early British cinema, including four films produced by up-and-coming actor Leslie Howard, who gained everlasting fame as Ashley Wilkes in Gone With The Wind.  Howard actually got his start acting in Milne’s play, Mr. Pim Passes By.

Milne is most famous for his two Pooh books about a boy named Christopher Robin, named after his son Christopher Robin Milne and Christopher’s menagerie of stuffed animals, headed up by a teddy bear named Edward.  But both A.A. and Christopher loved a bear at the London Zoo named Winnie and a swan swimming there named Pooh.  So, he combined the names, and the rest, as they say… 

A.A. Milne & son Christopher Robin in 1926

Milne also gave us a term I’ve long enjoyed, “Being a little eleven-o’clockish.”  It’s when you’re getting tired of the morning and wishing you had more energy, or something to eat – but it’s too late for a mid-morning pick-me-up and too early for lunch.  I’ve found it also works for describing other things, too, like feeling dragged out or unable to put any more effort into something. 

Reading Milne's stories has never fit into that category.  His writing -- especially about Pooh Bear -- always brightens even the grumpiest of days.   

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