Hey, Fans of Pooh Bear!
Deep in the hundred-acre woods where Christopher Robin Milne played is where the inspiration came for everybody’s favorite honey-loving bear—Winnie the Pooh! Okay, so maybe it wasn’t in the Hundred-Acre Woods. It was more like the Ashdown Forest which currently covers ten square miles or roughly 6000 acres (a bit bigger than its fictionalized likeness).
Lucky for today’s birthday boy—A. A. Milne, the author who brought us Winnie-the-Pooh—he lived on the northern edge of Ashdown Forest where he would take frequent walks with his young son, Christopher Robin.
But his son and the Ashdown Forest weren’t the only means of inspiration for Mr. Milne, however. The character of Pooh Bear himself was actually his son’s favorite stuffed teddy along with a plush piglet, a tiger, a couple kangaroos, and a donkey who had seen better days (all of whom can still be seen at the New York Public Library except for Roo who was lost in the 30’s as well as Owl and Rabbit who were imagined solely for the books).
A. A. Milne was born 136 years ago in 1882. In his younger years, he was taught by the great British author H.G. Wells—writer of many timeless classics such as ‘The Time Machine’ and ‘War of the Worlds’. Milne also played on an amateur ‘Cricket’ team alongside the celebrated author who created Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle. By the time his education had ended, time soon came for Milne to join the British Army and fight in the first World War.
When he returned home from the war, Milne was married to his wife, Dorothy and they had their son, Christopher. But as history would have it, he was called away yet again when World War II began in 1939. After the war, his life saw a number of unfortunate changes. A stroke, for one instance, left him in a wheelchair until the day he died at the age of 74.
But this celebrated author once commented that “A writer wants something more than money for his work: he wants permanence.” Mr. A. A. Milne certainly has been granted the permanence of which he spoke through the lasting love people have for “Winnie the Pooh” and the adventures he penned in the Hundred-Acre Woods. Happy Birthday, A. A.
If you’re ever lucky enough to see Ashdown Forest near London, think of Pooh and the gang and, as always, thanks for reading!