Pooh and Piglet Forever: On Life-long Friendship and Childhood Books

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  “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.”

~ Winnie the Pooh

Winter Reading

This may sound strange to some, but I love winter. I love the cold; I love the dark evenings; I love snow and winter storms. I love the feeling of cocooning inside while the wind whistles and snow curls and swirls around our home, and we’re inside, warm and snug as bugs. And I especially love that it’s the time of year for one of our favorite traditions: every winter, my partner and I pick out a book or two to read aloud together. On deliciously cold, dark, winter evenings, we snuggle up together with a soft blankie and a mug of steaming hot tea and my sweetheart reads to me. We never set out to make it a tradition—it all started one winter when my sweetie suggested that I pick out a book for him to read to me. The first book I picked was A.A. Milne’s “The House at Pooh Corner”, which I’d never read as a child. We both loved the experience so much that we went on to read the rest of the Pooh books and vowed to make it a yearly winter tradition to read at least one book together.
 

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This winter’s book: Emily of New Moon, by L. M. Montgomery.

A Rich (But Relatively Bookless) Childhood

I was blessed with a happy childhood. I grew up in an extremely loving home, a home with intelligent, warm, accepting and affectionate parents. Though my childhood was not rich by material standards, it was filled with abundance—a wealth of love, music, dance, delicious home-grown, home-cooked food and lots of laughter. But books were not a big part of my childhood, a scarcity in our house because my parents (due to their extraordinary life circumstances) both had a very poor grasp of the English language—my father due to being profoundly deaf with no opportunity for proper education and my mother due to being an immigrant and also not having the opportunity to get the education she required. Although I never had the childhood pleasure of having stories read to me from books, my mother was an extremely creative woman and a wonderful storyteller. I have fond memories of her lying in bed with us kids in the dark as she told us bedtime stories, retelling the same stories, fairy tales and fables that her mother and grandmother told her back in her native country. Oh, how I loved all those magical stories. But as enchanting as they all were, a part of me longed to be read to from a book.

 

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A few of the winter books we’ve read together over the years.

A Wish Come True

Not long after I met my amazing life partner, we discovered that he loved to read aloud to me. One cold, dark, stormy winter evening, we cozied up on the couch together and he suggested that I pick a book for him to read to me. Since I’d missed reading so many of the classics of children’s literature, the very first book I picked was A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.

Not surprisingly, I fell instantly in love with the stories and adventures of Pooh and Piglet and I was particularly enamoured of E.H. Shepard’s original illustrations. I later told my best friend (who lives in a different city) how much I loved the adventures of Pooh and Piglet. One day shortly after, two adorable Pooh and Piglet pâté knives (the ones seen pictured above) arrived in the mail. I was delighted beyond words.

That was many years ago and, to this day, Pooh and Piglet, best friends forever, stand together in a cast iron mortar and pestle which sits atop my kitchen counter. A better symbol of my longstanding, beautiful friendship with my two dearest best friends—my beautiful life partner, and my dearest girlfriend, Jackie, there could not be. This post is dedicated to you both:

Thank you my Sweet Bear for reading to me every winter. And thank you, dear Jackie, for your unconditional love and longstanding friendship. Pooh & Piglet Forever!


Image Credits:

All photography by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2011 and 2016 madlyinlovewithlife.

19 thoughts on “Pooh and Piglet Forever: On Life-long Friendship and Childhood Books

  1. I love your blog. Have you ever written a book yourself? I would not be surprised if you have. And your amazing photography is so wonderful! You are a very talented lady :)

    • Hello Diane! Thank you so much for your very kind words. I have never written a book per se, but I’ve always enjoyed journaling. I appreciate your comment very much—it makes me so happy that you are enjoying my blog. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your week! :))

  2. Wonderful Jeannie, you are a gifted story teller, thank you for sharing your story with us.
    All the best my friend.
    Regards Mark

  3. When I sit down to read a post from you I just melt down into my couch and imagine I am sitting across from you as you tell your story.
    So how incredible was it that you told us about your love of being read too. Amazing!
    What an awesome love you both share and tell Bear… He Rocks!

  4. This is such a sweet post, Jeannie. Your cozy, loving readings are incredibly romantic; and there’s nothing like sharing a book with a loved one. Absolutely lovely post.

  5. How wonderful to read this lovely and sweet story, Jeannie. I think it’s a very special tradition you and your very sensitive partner in life and partner in reading have shared. And it’s also so nice to hear more about your childhood. The absence of books in your home at the time actually makes sense. You’ve made up for lost time, though, it seems to me. :-)

    • Hi Debra! I did miss reading a lot as a child. Because my parents couldn’t read or write very well, they didn’t understand the importance of exposing their children to books or taking children to the library. My father was functionally illiterate but it was obvious that he was a very intelligent man, who probably could have been an engineer of some sort had he the opportunity for a proper education at a school for the deaf; and my mother’s childhood and youth were significantly impacted by WWII. Her schooling, even in her native language, was severely interrupted. By the time she came to Canada there were really no resources in the small town she lived in to teach an immigrant teenager with a bit of dyslexia a new language. She quit school out of frustration. Against all odds, my parents had a successful and happy life raising a family of four. All four of us children went on to do post-secondary education. It wasn’t until I got to University that I realized what a rich world of children’s literature there was and what I had missed as a child. I made it my goal to read as many of the classics as I could. I enjoyed it all immensely. And then I discovered that my partner, an avid reader since childhood, loved to read to me and that I loved being read to—and you are right, it did sort of make up for lost time. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! Wishing you a wonderful day! :))

  6. Oh my, you’ve touched upon a great part of my childhood with this post. My Mother loved Winnie the Pooh and passed on those books and World of Pooh to me ~ the quote of have at the beginning of this post “even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” is the way I felt having lived in the books of A.A. Milne. As if I will always have my Mom and these stories with me…

    To hear how you discovered the World of Pooh is perfect. I agree, there is nothing quite as perfect as winter days and night to connect with things that the other 3-seasons seldom allow…and I love the idea of reading aloud with your partner. A perfect way to discover a world together…and also thank you for sharing the amazing story of your parents, it is great to be able to look back and be so thankful to those who provided so much. Wishing you a great weekend Jeannie and also a great wish to the Year of the Monkey ahead ~

    • Hello Randall. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and interesting comment. To have the delightful Pooh stories wrapped up with warm memories of your mother reading to you really is like having a treasured and timeless friend, available whenever you want it. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we might ideally want it, but I think if we open to everything as if it were an opportunity, we can always make something good and valuable come out of it. Interestingly, when my Mom was in her sixties, she learned to read. She began by taking a book she wanted to read and a dictionary and painstakingly looked up every word (and often several as she couldn’t always understand the dictionary) and over the next few years she learned to read fairly well. We were all so proud of her for doing that. Wishing you all the best in the Year of the Monkey! :))

  7. Jeannie, I meant to comment on this post the other day when I “liked” it and then forgot to come back to it. But fortunately I found you again today when you visited my page! I am so glad to touch base with you — I’ve been in and out of the blogosphere, started and deleted a couple of other blogs, but now I’m staying put at C-Dog. I’ve often thought about you, wondering how you’re doing up there in Canada. I, too, love the cold, love winter. Except for trying to run on snow (I’ve recently taken up running short distances again) I really don’t mind snow, wind, cold. And let me say the books you show here make me want to curl up with them — those older covers are so inviting (so much better than contemporary covers, IMO). One of my 2016 resolutions was to read more — and now your post has reaffirmed that desire. I’m going to crack open a book spine right now! I’ll try not to be a stranger — please visit me as well! :)

    • Hello Debra! Thank you for your comment and visit. I’m so glad you are inspired to be reading books again. There’s nothing like getting lost in a good book. I find winter especially conducive to reading – every autumn, while others are lamenting the arrival of the short days and the long, dark winter nights, I look forward to them! Have fun reading your books! :))

      • I will be reading, Jennie! Right now I’m reading a novel by a Danish writer, Helle Helle. I just finished a short story collection by another Dane, Dorthe Nors. Guess I’m onto a “Danish kick.” Enjoy the weekend — and Happy Valentine’s Day! :)

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