Spring of 2017 I went with my brother to visit his daughter, my niece, in New York City where she is presently living. Of the gazillion places he took me as my own personal tour guide, there was only one that made me cry.
I prefer not to cry on holiday because makeup. I was caught completely off my guard, however, when he took me to the New York Public Library, Children’s Library. He whisked me into the Children’s library, and there, right before my very eyes were the real friends of Christopher Robin – donated to the NYPL in 1987.
I surprised myself when I wept. Because, well, they are just stuffies. So…why tears? I wondered that myself. It was a reminder, I suppose, of Pooh and friends, and all the delightful characters we met while we read together. All Those Books. All those years. Still at it. Still love it. We met and made friends and learned from others and felt their pain and sorrow and joy and love and elation.
We learned from them. Our friends in books. We learned from their blunders and we learned from their successes, their virtue and their response to good fortune. We learned how to be better people. We learned how very blessed we are in our own lives, to not suffer the same trials and some of the great sufferers we meet in stories.
We learned about the world. We travelled the world! With only two kids left at home, who should certainly by now have learned not to wonder so much…we are still travelling the world. Why, just today we swept through Gaul in the 1200’s, the cradle of civilization and the Middle East. Discusses the various wine regions therein. Spices. War. We touched down in England for a few moments, making sense out of history by tracing some footsteps of those who might be our ancestors. Just normal daily conversation that becomes the air we breath when we read together.
I wept because all those people in all those books became part of our life. Our tribe. Our mentors. They helped form us. And Pooh. Well, he became the icon that day of all the friends we made and all the beautiful literature we’ve read and all the love and discussion and learning that happened when we read together.
So, thanks, Pooh. For letting me reflect and remember the part you played.