5 Facts About The Real Christopher Robin Behind Winnie-The-Pooh

in #blog3 years ago

1His Parents Dressed Him Up As A Girl

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The Milnes wanted a girl. They were going to name her Rosemary, and right up until August 21, 1920, the day Christopher Robin was born, they were sure they were they were going to get a girl. When Christopher was born a boy, they barely even tried to hide their disappointment.“We did rather want a Rosemary,” A.A. Milne wrote to a friend just a few days after his son’s birth, ”but I expect we shall be just as happy with this gentleman.”[1]It didn’t stop them from raising Christopher every bit as much as a girl as they would have if they’d gotten the daughter named Rosemary they’d been dreaming of. They grew his hair long, with his mother styling it after the look she’d had when she was a little girl, and dressed him up in girlish frocks and gingham dresses.They nearly replaced him with a little girl in the neighborhood named Anne Darlington. They were still so eager for a little girl that they tried to treat little Anne as their own daughter or, as they often thought, as the “Rosemary that Christopher wasn’t.”

2He Was All But Completely Ignored By His Father

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A.A. Milne might seem like the perfect father, but when his pen wasn’t pressed to paper, he didn’t have the gift with children you’re imagine.“I am not inordinately fond of [children],” he once told an interviewer. He felt no more sentimental toward them, he said, “than one becomes for a moment over a puppy or a kitten.”For the early years of his life, Christopher Robin’s father rarely made an appearance. Most of Christopher’s childhood memories of his father are of him working or being in another city altogether, rather than of him playing with his boy like he described in his stories.Instead, Christopher Robin was almost exclusively raised by the live-in nanny his parents had hired, Olive Rand. He thought of her as more of a parent than his actual parents. For the first eight years of his life, he and his nanny were never apart for more than a few hours.“Some people are good with children. Others are not,” he said.[2] “It is a gift. You either have it or you don’t. My father didn’t.”

3His Father Based ‘Christopher Robin’ On What Other People Told Him

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The spark of the stories, according to Christopher Robin, didn’t come from any special bonding moment between a father and a son. A.A. Milne got the idea for Winnie-the-Pooh from talking to his wife.“It was my mother who used to come and play in the nursery with me and tell him about the things I thought and did,” Christopher Robin would later say. “It was she who provided most of the material for my father’s books.”His mother would tell his father fanciful stories about how he’d played with his bear, and the stories burst a fantasy into the author’s mind. For a writer like A.A. Milne, it was easier to dream about children than it was to be around them, and he threw himself into the dream with a fervor he never showed his real, living son.The Christopher Robin in the Winnie-the-Pooh books, according to the real one, was a “dream son” his father made up.[3] Milne was too uncomfortable around children to raise his own boy, and so he created an imaginary one to take his place

4His Parents Made Him The Face Of A Publicity Campaign At Age Seven

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Winnie-the-Pooh was an instant success. By the time Christopher Robin had turned seven, a book starring him as the hero was in the hands of nearly every child in the English-speaking word. A.A. Milne was a sensation—but nowhere near as popular as his son.Milne noticed almost immediately that the swarms of fans who came out to see him were nowhere near as interested in him as they were in his son. During a tour of the United States, he wrote to a friend: “It was Christopher Robin, not I, who the Americans were clamouring to see.”Seven-year-old Christopher Robin became the center of the book’s publicity campaign. He posed for photographs with his father and with his teddy bear, he acted in a pageant based on the story, he sang one of Pooh’s songs for a crowd of 350 people, and he even recorded an audiobook version of the novel.[4]At the time, he found the experience enthralling—but as he got older, he and his father both started to get more and more uncomfortable with what had happened. A fictional version of the boy had become infinitely more well-known than the boy himself, and it was starting to affect him.By the time Christopher was nine, his father canceled the appearances himself. “Christopher Robin has already had more publicity than I want for him,” he told his publisher. “I do not want C.R. Milne to ever wish that his name were Charles Robert.”

5His Fame Got Him Bullied And Beaten Up

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Christopher Robin quickly found himself wishing his name were anything but. When he was nine years old, he enrolled in a boarding school and, for the first time, learned just how difficult being famous was going to be.He was bullied and beaten by his classmates almost the second he entered the school, partly for his girlish mannerisms and clothes and partly for the character that preceded him. Boys at school would taunt him, yelling, “Where’s your teddy bear?”One boy got his hands on the audiobook Christopher Robin had recorded and played it on the gramophone every time he came near, snickering all the way through.[5] When Christopher finally managed to get his hands on it, he smashed the record to pieces.His classmates’ favorite taunt was to chant the refrain from his father’s poem “Vespers”: “Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares! Christopher Robin is saying his prayers!” They were almost certainly jealous of his fame, but the nine-year-old boy couldn’t understand that. It left him with what he described as “toe-curling, fist-clenching, lip-biting embarrassment.” Perhaps it’s part of the reason that, later in life, he described himself as a “dedicated atheist.”The children hit him with more than just words, though. The young boy was hit so often that when he was 13, the once girlish and shy little boy started taking boxing lessons to defend himself.

source http://listverse.com/2018/06/16/10-facts-about-the-real-christopher-robin-behind-winnie-the-pooh/

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