The ecology of Pooh

Adults may feel exiled from the intensity and sweetness of childhood places. But perhaps there are surprising ways home

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Galleons Lap from The House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne. Illustrations provided by Egmont UK and reproduced with permission

Galleons Lap by EH Shepard from The House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne. Illustrations provided by Egmont UK and reproduced with permission

Liam Heneghan is professor of environmental science and ecosystem ecology at DePaul University, Chicago. He blogs at 3quarksdaily.com.

When Winnie-the-Pooh got stuck in the doorway of Rabbit’s home after feasting on large amounts of honey, he was assisted by a great and very strange chain of being. In Ernest H Shepard’s illustration, Christopher Robin can be seen tugging on the wedged bear, followed by four rabbits, a stoat, a mouse, Piglet, three more mice, and a hedgehog. Yet another mouse scampers to join the effort. A beetle is landing behind the mouse, and aloft are two more beetles, a dragonfly and, finally, a butterfly. In Disney’s animated film, made four decades — and a hemisphere — away, the chain is foreshortened and adapted to a New World audience. Pooh remains stuck of course, and Christopher Robin still leads the effort, but lined up behind him are Kanga, Eeyore, Roo, and a Gopher! In the cartoon, the Gopher makes it clear, and Pooh reiterates it, that he ‘is not in the book’. A translocation to a new place can be unnerving: though some things remain the same, alterations are inevitable.

I recently sat with pencil sharpened and notebook at the ready, like an anthropologist in exotic terrain, to watch Disney’s The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), a feature-length collection of the earlier animated shorts. What happened, I wondered, when England’s most famous fictional bear migrated across the Atlantic and settled into an American landscape? Like Pooh, I had grown up in the British Isles and in my ripe maturity emigrated to the US. Like Pooh, I had spent much of my time out of doors. Over the back wall of our family home in southern County Dublin were mile after mile of farm fields, interspersed with shrubby hedgerow. Not quite as bucolic as Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, perhaps, but there, until the summer dusk drove us home, was where we largely spent our childhood vacations. Like the transplanted Pooh, the terrain in which I now dwell in the New World is hospitable enough in many ways, and yet it is also uncanny. It is not quite home. The suspicion I am investigating here is that, from an environmental perspective, there is more to this bear of ‘very little brain’ than meets the eye.

When Pooh arrived in the US, he de-hyphenated his name — perhaps a result of some tweaking at Ellis Island. Christopher Robin admirably retained his English accent, and Owl’s accent was plummy, though at times I think he hammed it up for his US audience. But Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga and Roo’s accents became appropriately American. The process of assimilation had begun. As often happens in cases of faunal introductions, the aliens must interact with new critters. The Gopher — a small burrowing rodent endemic to North America, enterprising and mercantile — worked out a quote for removing the wedged Pooh from Rabbit’s door. Gopher costed his hourly rate, at overtime, with 10 per cent added, and assessed how much explosive might be needed for the job. No, we are not in England anymore!

Despite all this, much in the film survives largely unchanged from the books. Scenes often start or end with reproductions of Shepard’s drawings taken from the original books, and the stories are rather faithfully retold. I would have preferred that Disney ended The Many Adventures with AA Milne’s sentence: ‘But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.’ In Disney’s version, a Bear alone awaits a boy’s return. Now, that’s depressing.

Unlike most exiles, Pooh seems to have made a rather easy transition to the New World and in fact he and his friends seem to have travelled from England with their entire ecological entourage. In other words, home travelled with them. The trees, the grasses, the features in the landscape are all the same. Sand pits, bridges, even their furniture came, too. Unlike Pooh, who emigrated with Disney’s help, most immigrants do not have the luxury of travelling with their physical landscape (although there's a long history of immigrants reshaping the land in the image of home). Most of us find ourselves distant and dislocated from all that reminds us of home. And this is true even for those who do not migrate, for adulthood is its own form of exile, in time if not in space.

One spring afternoon in the early years of this century, I took a stroll through the East Woods at the Morton Arboretum near Lisle, Illinois. The trees were still leafless and the light was very fierce, so much so that I shielded my eyes with my hand, as if I was saluting my companion, Christopher Dunn, at that time the Arboretum’s director of research. We were admiring the ecological restoration work that had been accomplished in the woodland over the years that I had been visiting. Dominated by oaks and sugar maples, the East Woods is about 1,100 acres, a sixth of the size of Ashdown Forest in Sussex, England, where the Pooh stories are set. In fact, the part in which we rambled was about the same dimensions as that part of the Forest around Owl’s house known to Pooh and his friends as the Hundred Acre Wood.

Inside the house, Pooh is just a stuffed animal being dragged along by a cartoon boy; outside, all comes to life

Here and there between the trees, we could see clumps of green where European buckthorn, an invasive shrub, was leafing out, taking advantage of the early spring light before other vegetation had emerged from its winter quiescence. On my early visits, the East Woods had been heavily invaded by this aggressive exotic Old World shrub which, though infrequently found in its native range, has become one of the major impediments to conservation efforts in Midwestern woodlands. Through active management, the buckthorn population in the East Woods had now been markedly diminished.

Both Christopher and I are Old World transplants (Christopher is a Scot), but unlike buckthorn, which has been in the region since the mid-1800s, we are very recent arrivals: he as a teenager and I when a little over 30. During our walk, we stopped at a point where we could look over the terrain and admire the fidelity with which the restoration work has returned it to the structure of a pre-settlement Midwestern woodland. Here we turned to each other, and — simultaneously it seems — both had the same thought: ‘There is something not quite right about this.’ In a nostalgic moment, both of us recalled the woodlands of Ireland and Scotland, especially the wilder places that Christopher and I both preferred: darker, more tightly packed woods on craggier terrain than is usually the case in this flatter part of the world. We were, for a moment at least, contrasting the East Woods not with its healthy ancestral state, freed from the injurious impacts of the past century, but with the woodlands of our personal memories, against which any woodland might seem like a collection of so many living sticks.

The fact is, we are living in times of great transplantation. About 1.5 per cent of the US population moves between the major regions every year: about five or six per cent move across county lines. Internationally, the numbers of people crossing borders is staggering. For instance, if all those who migrated internationally in 2010 (about 216 million people) converged on an uninhabited region (say Antarctica) it would make that country the fifth most populous country on Earth. Accompanying the flow of goods, services and people is a great biological interchange where species that were formerly restricted to one biogeographical zone are transported, either deliberately or unintentionally, to areas outside their native range. Christopher and I, standing in our hundred acre woods, personified these frenzied exchanges. Old-World islanders in the US Midwest, we were discussing a European botanical rarity that was now thriving in Chicago woodland.

Since a person’s attunement towards nature is most often determined by youthful encounters with place, that which is most delightful to us in nature as adults is that which we remember from our youth. Thus, the landscapes of our adulthood, whether we have moved 300 miles or 3,000, tend to remain somewhat unfamiliar to us and, as a consequence, difficult to understand, much less to love. This is one of the neglected consequences of the great transplantation: I call it the Uncanny Landscape Hypothesis. Does this make it difficult for us to care for the landscapes in which we find ourselves, whether pristine, managed, or restored? Perhaps more positively, do we need new tools — tools of initiation, imagination, and empathy — to fit into a landscape that is new to us?

That we can read Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and Disney’s later adaptations through an ecological lens at all is a testament to the fidelity with which both Milne and Shepard, his illustrator, reproduced the landscapes of Ashdown Forest in Sussex in which the original stories were set. The Pooh stories captured a cultural landscape at a time when its human and natural elements were felicitously combined, as well as the special, intimate relationship between a child and that landscape. It is very clear that the boy (based on Christopher Milne, the author's son) loved his bear, and loved the landscape in which they had their escapades.

The connection between children and nature has taken on considerable urgency in recent years. Evidence is accumulating that access to outdoor experiences is vital for children’s physical and mental health. The absence of such opportunities manifests itself in ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’, a term coined by the American writer Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods (2005). Viewed from this perspective, Winnie-the-Pooh and the biographical elements the book imports from Christopher Milne’s life are an informative case study of the connections between a child and a landscape. Inside the house, Pooh is just a stuffed animal being dragged along by a cartoon boy; outside, all comes to life.

In his autobiography The Enchanted Places (1974), Christopher Milne recalled his real adventures in the Sussex countryside surrounding Cotchford Farm, which his family bought in 1925 when Christopher was four. They spent their weekends and holidays there and, in the company of his father or, more often, his nanny, Christopher made progressively deeper forays from garden to farmland and into the woodland and forest beyond, always on foot and, as he got older, on his own. Over time, his walks got longer and his intimacy with landscape grew. He remembers, many years later, what it was like to be a child lost in nature:
I would go down to the river and find a quiet place, secluded, hidden … and sit there for hours, watching the water as it gently twisted and eddied past me. Then perhaps I would see something: an eel wiggling its way upstream; a grass snake with just its black head showing above the surface, moving gently from side to side; damsel flies, their wings making a dry whispering sound as they came to investigate me; the plop of a water vole, and if you looked quickly you might see it running underwater along the river bed; a shy moorhen, a noisy mallard, a flashing kingfisher, whistling urgently.

As Christopher’s ambit broadened, he encountered the locations that his father would later write into his books: Pooh Sticks Bridge was on the way into Posingford Wood near Cotchford. Further along the road is Ashford Forest, the forest of the books. From Gill’s Lap (Galleons Lap), one could walk down into a valley and up again towards some distant trees. This is the Hundred Acre Wood (in reality, a Five Hundred Acre Wood). Unlike the more open landscape of Posingford, this wood is darker and in it grew ancient beech trees. You might recall from the books that Piglet lived in one of these beech trees. The Hundred Acre wood was also home to Owl. Some of these trees were felled during the Second World War, to Christopher Milne’s regret, because, as he wrote, ‘among them was a tree I was particularly fond of’.

Childhood might be the time when connection with place is fiercest

Memories of the natural splendours surrounding his childhood home sustained Christopher Milne through his military service in the Second World War. However, he destroyed all of his early efforts to write about that enchanted place. It would be 30 years before he could do so and, if that late account celebrates his early connection with nature, it also provides a cautionary tale. Christopher Milne famously resented the Christopher Robin of his father’s tales, and the tensions this caused with his father. The perennial child ‘Christopher Robin’ outshone the adult ‘Christopher Milne’. In later years, when Christopher Milne was asked if it saddened him not to have his toys with him anymore (they now live in a glass case at the New York Public Library), he responded: ‘Not really ... I like to have around me the things I like today, not the things I once liked many years ago.’ In ending The House at Pooh Corner (1929) as he did, AA Milne anticipated the problem by leaving the little boy and his bear at play in their enchanted place. Christopher Robin, the boy, remained perennially on the hill, even after Christopher Milne, the man, had long vacated the spot.

Childhood might be the time when connection with place is fiercest. As we grow up, the adult and the quotidian envelop us. Often, we set aside more than just our childish things: we vacate our childhood world. It was perhaps inevitable, given the nature of the story he had to tell, that Christopher Milne’s autobiography returned to the world of Pooh and the childhood world of Christopher Robin. There is no sense in The Enchanted Places of Christopher Milne’s adult connection with nature or place. In one passage in his book, he recalled in great detail where different flowers were found near Cotchford: the ash plantations for orchids; cowslips at the top of a field; the large wood for bluebells. He and Nanny would pick basketsful of flowers. After mentioning this, he wrote what seems to me the most bittersweet line of his memoir: ‘And it was here … I would find that splendour in the grass, that glory in the flower, that today I find no more.’ No, there is no going home again, nor can the man become the boy.

We might have a rich literary archive on the human connection with place, but serious scholarly investigation of the psychology of this relationship and how it might change during a lifetime has only begun in the last few decades. The full panoply of associated psychological attributes are only now being excavated — under the banners of EO Wilson’s Biophilia hypothesis, Yi-Fu Tuan’s notion of Topophilia (and Gaston Bachelard’s phenomenological account of Topophilia that predates this), Jay Appleton’s symbolic analysis of landscapes, Louv’s Nature Deficit Disorder, and a variety of ecopsychological investigations. Many of these trace the roots to the pioneering work of the environmentalist and counter-culture historian Theodore Roszak.

All of these theoretical accounts ask whether we have genetic predispositions to certain landscapes, how our cultural identity with place is formed, and so on. However, according to the environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht, professor of sustainability at Murdoch University in Western Australia, we do not yet have an adequate vocabulary to address our ‘psychoterric’ states — or how the state of the Earth relates to our states of mind. To balance the negative psychological state of ‘nostalgia’, a couple of years ago Albrecht proposed ‘endemophilia’ (the sense of being truly at home within one’s place and culture — or ‘homewellness’). To balance the term ‘topophilia’, a love of place, Albrecht opposes ‘solastalgia’ — the desolate feeling associated with the chronic decline of a homescape. Solastalgia names the emotions we have at the loss of species and habitats through climate change and other environmental changes. We should all expect a lot more of it.

Even if the world stood still, we would still spin away from it

We could say, then, that the tales of Pooh and his friends are a celebration of ‘endemophilia’, a deep at-homeness in place and time. On the other hand, Christopher Milne’s memoir has elements of solastalgia, as in the pain he associates with the loss of those beech trees. Indeed, he warned the readers of The Enchanted Places that, though they could try to follow his map of the Cotchford terrain, they might not be able to do so, as the landscape could have changed. Solastalgia could be the ruling mood of our age.

But there is another sadness recorded in Christopher Milne’s story, a sadness that most of us experience, I expect: the loss of connection with place, especially a natural one, that happens as we grow older. I propose, in the spirit of Albrecht, to call this ‘toponesia’ (from the Greek topos, place, and amnesia, loss of memory). Even if the world stood still, we would still spin away from it, dragged into the orbit of our private economies and that series of mischiefs that we call our adult life. These psychological factors associated with Winnie-the-Pooh — its nostalgia, solastalgia and toponesia — combine to make the stories a surprisingly powerful meditation on place, as much as a source of simple pleasure.

The Winnie-the-Pooh stories express the powerful and intimate connections that we form as children, not only with our toys, which we imbue with life, but also with place, which serves as both cradle and companion. A larger inspection of the books (and the real life of their central character) manifests both the delights and the discomfiting aspects of our relationship with place. Connections with nature that many of us nourish in memory are hard to retain in adulthood. An inspection of Christopher Milne’s story brings to mind that we grow up and we change, as do landscapes, as do our relationships. We leave our childhood places behind us, sometimes literally, by thousands of miles, traversing several biomes before alighting like storm-tossed petrels in deeply unfamiliar territory.

We think we need to inculcate in our children a love of the wild, but I suspect we misunderstand the direction in which instruction must flow

Discovering how to develop an affiliation for new places might be the major environmental task of our age. Even those who do not move at all will find themselves in places that feel new, as habitat damage and climate change take effect. And, if we do leave, we need to learn to love the places in which we find ourselves.

What tools are available to us? AA Milne’s method was the vicarious: as Christopher Milne wrote in his memoir, ‘My father who had derived such happiness from his childhood, found in me the companion with whom he could return there.’ We can see the world with our children’s eyes. Recently, I saw a father leaning over his child who was enraptured by a bird hopping on a city sidewalk. Mimicking his child’s enthusiasm, he whispered in his best David Attenborough voice, ‘I think it’s a sparrow.’ We think we need to inculcate in our children a love of the wild, but I suspect we misunderstand the direction in which instruction must flow.

But there are other ways, I think, in which we could gain as adults a love for those places, uncanny though they might be, in which we find ourselves newly arrived, or in which old certainties are disrupted. My model in this regard is Tim Robinson, an English writer, who in the 1970s showed up on the west coast of Ireland. Over the subsequent decades, by dint of his map-making, his writing (about Aran and Connemara), and his scrupulous attention to people and place, Robinson has become almost synonymous with the West of Ireland. His basic methodology is walking and listening: just as Christopher Milne and his imaginary companions before him were wont to do. If we are to regain intimacy with this place, this Earth, we might have to take up again those ancient and revolutionary tools, walking and listening, listening and walking.

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Comments

  • ramesh rghuvanshi

    I think it is very good sign we are moving migrating from our birth place now a days.In last century many people lived birth place helplessly hopelessly. because there are no scope no effective communication system to migrate.There is old proverb in Indian languages"Gav soda eajat pai" meaning those who leave their birth place they get respect honer in outside world.Remembering or nostalgia of birth place is sign of sorrow but that is useless for progress.Now 95 p.c leaving. birth place for prosperity,and well being

    • http://twitter.com/DublinSoil Liam Heneghan

      Ramesh... an interesting set of points. I can see why global, or regional migrations, can be seen as a good thing. But even if one is agnostic about the value of flitting around, it is happening whether we like it or not. What I am interested in at the moment, and what I hope the essay communicates at little bit about concerns the tools for settling into new landscapes. I gave just a couple of models but there are many more. Again thanks for taking the time to respond.

      • cait

        If we've been lucky to have close relationship with nature in childhood home we can maybe form attachment to nature in new location more readily

  • Barry

    re Liam Heneghan: Can we ever return to the enchanted forests of childhood?
    Thank you Liam Heneghan for writing and submitting your more than touching article, and thank you Aeon for your emag, and for selecting Liam's article. Stunning. In the midst of reading this piece I found it impossible not to I rush to youtube and listen to Dylan Thomas reading Fern Hill, a glory of a poem. Religion's lumbering parody aside, civilization's relentless rite de passage assault on childhood's sensibility is our genuine fall from grace and holiness. regards, Barry

    • http://twitter.com/DublinSoil Liam Heneghan

      Barry, many thanks indeed. And thanks, of course, for suggesting the connection with Fern Hill, also a great great favourite of mine.

  • http://twitter.com/GlennAlb Glenn Albrecht

    A wonder-ful piece of writing. A psychoterratic reading of Pooh is just what we need to get our relationships to place and 'home' into perspective. ‘Toponesia’ is a much needed addition to the psychoterratic typology as we do need a concept for the fading memory of once loved and inhabited places.

    A friend asked me to create another psychoterratic term for a strong place based feeling he had that is connected to revisiting places:

    Topoaversion

    (topos = place), (aversion = 1590–1600; Latin āversiōn- (stem of āversiō ), equivalent to āvers ( us ) turned away ( see averse) + -iōn- -ion) [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/aversion]

    The feeling that you do not wish to return to a place that you once loved and enjoyed when you know that it has been irrevocably changed for the worse. It is not topophobia where you can have fear of a place while entering it; topoaversion is a strong enough feeling to keep you from ever returning to visit the place that was once beloved.

    We now have a more nuanced understanding of 'topos', the love, the aversion and the amnesia. Thank you Liam for such insightful writing and for making me want to visit the 100 acre forest and to experience eutierria there.

    • http://twitter.com/DublinSoil Liam Heneghan

      Glenn, many thanks indeed for the comments, and yes... topoaversion is instantly recognizable. This also gives me a chance to thank you for your work in this area. It has been a revelation for me; much appreciated.

  • Kate Sackman

    Walking and listening, maybe even sitting and watching like we did as children, would not only be good for instilling love of place, but would also be good for the soul. Thank you for this wonderful piece.

  • Vicki Bousquin

    Daycare providers are so blessed. We get to see the joy and wonder of the world each day through the eyes of our borrowed children.The magic of a snails slime trail or the magnificence of a sunrise over our own hundred acre wood when seen through their eyes can transport us back to our own childhood.Thank you for this wonderful piece.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.lomax.106 James Lomax

    Wonderful. I too have pondered this subject, in association with hill walking: why we do it, why its different from the city, and how we might understand it. I agree - we don't yet have a useful language or way of understanding this subject. There are lots of clues scattered around as you indicate, to which I would add some of the ideas of Chinese Feng Shui and Guy Debord.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roman.cek.1 Roman Ček

    For those that enjoyed this article you might also like eco-psychologists Chellis Glendinning's 2002 work 'Off the Map.'

    She also used the Winnie the Pooh Bear & Hundred Acre Wood metaphor for bioregional connection to/displacement from "place" as the premise for her book.

    Quite a good read.

  • http://www.livinginthehereandnow.co.za/ beachcomber

    Enchanting! Yep .. so much of our adult lives (especially the emotional aspects) are deepened and given a certain richness if in our early years we are exposed to the natural world .... and as in CR's case with an element of solitary engagement. My adult mind is still able to return to the bushy scents and whistling, cloud filled wind and endless sky as I walked the mountains in Cape Town.

  • Ivan_K

    "......he wrote what seems to me the most bittersweet line of his memoir: ‘And it was here … I would find that splendour in the grass, that glory in the flower, that today I find no
    more.’ No, there is no going home again, nor can the man become the boy."

    The man can't become the boy, but he can remain one. The infantilization of
    culture seems to be a real phenomenon to me, as well as to John Gatto. Incidentally or not, Gatto, too, emphasised the importance of place ( http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/10e.htm ).

    I find splendour even in the photos of my childhood apartment building. The trees in the front of the photos contribute to this effect. But they are only one of the factors.
    The last times I went there it was moderately raining, and the place seemed magical.

  • Randall Moon

    Having lived in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles for the first 38 years of my life, I always felt alienated from my landscape, so I suppose you could say that I was born into "toponesia." However, through the accident of transplanting myself and family to Appalachia Kentucky twenty years ago, I seem to be experiencing the reverse process of what normally occurs: I am gratified to realize that a deep sense of connection, what you are calling "endemophilia," has slowly evolved and rooted me to home.

    • http://twitter.com/DublinSoil Liam Heneghan

      What really motivated me here is that we presumably all have this capacity to reattach and find joy in new landscapes. This is why I am especially interested in the work of writers like Tim Robinson who reports, extensively, on what you describe Randall. Here's Tim's website: http://www.foldinglandscapes.com/

      • Randall Moon

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. And thanks for the link!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shannonminion Shannon Kate

    When I was younger (8-14) I spent most of my time roaming the bushland within about 20km of my home. It got to a point where not only did I know the entire area (where was best to see Kangaroos, where fruit trees hung over fences into firebreaks, where you could watch horses ride by) but I had a permanent narrative in my mind of entirely fictional characters which would pick up where it left off whenever I re-entered. My own Winnie-the-Pooh imaginings, albeit with circus performers, horses and panthers and sylphs more than stuffed toys come to life. It was a lonely childhood perhaps, but a good one.

    Now I am nearly 30 and all of the bushland has been bulldozed to create suburbs. I even lived in a house which sat on the grounds of the old vet centre (Sean left the entire rear of the property as unfenced natural bush) and felt so strange driving up hills I had once ridden or walked, feeling the curve of the slope in such an alien way to that which I remembered.

    It pains me that the people who live there can only experience their manicured lawns and instant hot water (as magical and joyous as those things are) and not the joys that I once experienced as a child. But I have found new places - a ridge at the edge of a hilly range that enables a view to the sea some hour drive away, a hike down to a rock-lined creek that is ice cold year round, a drive through canola fields that suddenly give way to tree filled valleys and granite outcrops the size of mansions. They take a bit of getting to, but I find I have resuscitated a part of my soul (one that I was not aware was so far gone until I paid attention) by taking time to get to know a natural place. Really get to know it - visit again and again until it's familiar and comfortable. It's perhaps not a true endemophilia - I still live in suburbia (I don't have instant hot water unfortunately) - but compared to many of the people I know who had their wild places destroyed and never found new ones, I have a much better sense of being happy at home.

    Thanks for the article - I really enjoyed reading it.

    • http://twitter.com/DublinSoil Liam Heneghan

      What a lovely reflection Shannon, thanks. I have never visited your part of the world, but when I was a teenager I discovered Patrick White's "Voss" and other works of his (Riders in the Chariot - was that the name - with Ms Hare crouched in the vegetation?), and later Chatwin's Songlines. I don't know how well these authors have weathered, perhaps White is not read so much anymore, but nonetheless their description of embeddedness in those landscapes have stayed with me. I wonder now how much imaginings of distant landscapes shape our environmental sensibilities? Anyway thanks for your comments.

  • SRR126

    "What happened, I wondered, when England’s most famous fictional bear migrated across the Atlantic and settled into an American landscape?"
    Ha! Winnie was a Canadian - transplanted to London via the Fort Garry Horse in the first World War.
    Migration - indeed.

    • NBer

      Winnie was indeed a Canadian (the Part of our Heritage adds that I grew up with confirmed this for me) but Christopher's stuffed bear is as English as the boy to whom he belonged.

  • http://markingtime4now.wordpress.com/ Mark S. Nielsen

    I am late to the party here, but I thoroughly agree the article is a source of wonder and important information. I also offer some reflections at my own blog, Marking Time, where I did a five-part series on both the books and the movies... and the commercialization of the Poohniverse. http://markingtime4now.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/oh-pooh-silly-old-bear/
    Thanks once again to Mr. Heneghan. (hey, that sounds a bit "hummy", doesn't it?...)

  • vcragain

    a lovely story of childhood remembrances...took me back to my life as a child in London, UK.. I 'lived' on Hampstead Heath......I remember roaming the woods and diddling in the ponds for tadpoles, enjoying the nuzzling of the deer in the small zoo, riding on the roundabouts when the fair came to town at Easter...running home at dusk hot and dusty and totally, totally satisfied with my exciting day on the loose...my own children were not allowed this freedom because we were so afraid of the crazies.. there were crazies out there when I was a child..I remember running away when they tried to talk to us kids on the Heath..we knew they were dangerous and just laughed at them...they lurked in the bushes..but parents still allowed kids so much more freedom...wonderful times...I am sorry I felt I had to be careful when I was a mother later...so sad..I am 74 now and happy my children all grew up healthy and fulfilled in spite of less freedom, and they have their own stories which I sometimes hear to my dismay..I couldn't watch them EVERY minute.. now I hope my grandchildren will also find their little special places to
    remember when they are grown. A happy childhood is a really wonderful thing...I wish this for every child !