10. Thursday 13 December. Winnie the Poo
My beautiful Byron,
Thursday it is here in California and the news is; Mr sunshine is back after a temporary break for grey clouds.
Blue skies are all around and the mighty Pacific is booming away in 25 degrees of that lovely warm reminder of what makes California so cool. (The warmth.)
Everyone round here is gearing up for the so called festive season. They sure take Christmas seriously. Almost as big as Thanksgiving.
I have been watching the news from England this week and I see that the government are still on with their Brexit nonsense. In America the news this week is about the Government people getting arrested. The lawyer for trump, the President, is a guy called Michael Cohen. Many people agree that lawyers are often dishonest people, and Michael Cohen sure is one shady lawyer. This week he was sentenced to three years in jail. For work he did representing the President. It seems every week they have another member of the Government being arrested for being a shady criminal. These are not good times to be in Government in either Britain or the USA, unless you are a shady criminal. Who knows where it will all lead. My biggest disappointment is how they provide education for children. Even before you were born, I wanted you to have a great education. With all that implies.
Sadly, both Britain and America do not share my sense of importance for the value of education. Do you know, in America, the President chose a leader to determine education for all American children by not considering any skill as an educator in his appointment. he chose a woman called Betsy DeVos. Who knows significantly less about education than Wallace did. This means a whole generation of American kids are going to have a hard time becoming educated.
I hope they have parents who encourage them to read books. At least that way they can educate themselves. When I look back at my school education, I learned most of what educated me from reading great books, travel, sports, smiling and music. So I guess American kids can still get around having Betsy DeVos trying to run education from a hopeless position that is her limited under educated billionaire brain. Kids who have parents involved in their education are a great deal more fortunate than those who do not.
I had hoped to be able to send you book to read. But do you know why I cannot? A family court judge, Michele O’Leary, and two members of family law have ensured that I cannot send you books on Amazon. I had one writer in mind this week. AA Milne. The Winnie the Poo books. I saw a movie about him and remembered how amazing those books were for me when I was 9. I learned about AA Milne and how those books came to be written. Its a lovely movie BTW.
AA Milne went to a very good school and one of the best universities, Cambridge. His education prepared him for writing very well. And he was writing very well when the ‘War to end all Wars‘ broke out and he found himself in a British officers uniform, at one of the most awful monuments to mans stupidity called ‘the Somme‘. Which is a WW1 story that no education can be considered complete without knowing about. In that awful war, AA Milne suffered some PTSD. Post stress traumatic disorder. At the time they called it shell shock. Where the brain gets upset by hearing constant bombs falling and bullets whizzing passed your eyelashes. The anxiety of imminent death leads to a state of constant shock. The trenches of WW1 were simply awful for the 18 year old boys sent there to rot in the mud while singing God save the King.
Although now we know all about PTSD and in fact, when I experienced it I became a writer on the subject read by many people who were helped by my words. AA Milne also wrote about it, in a very similar way to me. But at a very different time, when people who had PTSD were often considered ‘cowards’ and some were even executed by their Government at the time. It is all pretty awful, and where AA Milne and me have a very common ground is in noticing how the called it ‘The war to end all wars’. And that’s how they explained it to the boys who died so horribly. Yet, as soon as it suited the Government at the time, they were right back to war. And people just forgot all abut ‘The War to end all Wars.’ They print up anther batch of flags, mould up another batch of medals and print another batch of posters inviting heroes to go to war.
I imagine it is far worse to be a child in a family where the education on the history of war is absent than the converse. At least I have a book about war for you to read one day to help you form your own view on that awful business.
AA Milne spent his time recovering from the PTSD hanging out with his kid, Christopher Robin. And that was how he came to wrote the books about Winnie the Poo. Christopher Robin became very famous because of those books. Although he too had a very good education, he went to Cambridge, he formed a fierce resentment against his father and they never spoke.
Christopher Robin went on to marry his cousin, maybe to piss off his father who he was angry with, and they had a daughter born with awful disease (Cerebral Palsy.) He did not want any money from the Winnie the Poo books. He even gave away the stuffed toys that the books were based on.
When AA Milne died, he left the book rights to four parties. One of which was his family. They sold it to Walt Disney Company and soon Walt Disney Company bought all the rights. They went on to sell over a billion dollars of Winnie the Poo merchandise. Only Mickey Mouse sold more. (For that period of time.) So as we look back, AA Milne never enjoyed the reward of writing his marvelous books. Christopher Robin didn’t enjoy one penny and was alienated against his dad because of it. And the big winner was the American Company who made a billion dollars out of one mans book helping him process his PTSD through the thought process of a private education in the British system
That is the backstory of Winnie the Poo. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner (1928) Two wonderful books by a wonderful writer. I kept my original copies from when I was a kid for you to have one day. But, again that is one for Michele O’Leary, Charlotte Adler and Tom Amlot to explain to you as they see fit.