Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Hums of Pooh

I am confident everyone out there knows Winnie the Pooh. What bear from children's literature is more famous than Pooh? He's beloved all over the world. But I wonder if you've heard of The Hums of Pooh, the musical score renditions of Pooh's little songs sung mainly to himself, as his way of thinking outloud. We had this book of music (full of original illustrations and excerpts from A. A. Milne's wonderful series written for his son, Christopher Robin) when I was a child, and I know the melodies and comical Pooh phrasing in the lyrics practically by heart.

Here is an example of one Pooh sang to himself as he climbed way up high in a tree, in pursuit of a bees' nest of honey :

"Isn't it funny how a bear likes honey?
Buzz, buzz, buzz...I wonder why he does?
It's a very funny thought that if bears were bees,
They'd build their nests at the bottom of trees.
And that being so, if the bees were bears
We shouldn't have to climb up all these stairs!"

At least twenty years ago, my brother recorded a cassette tape of my parents reading and singing The Hums of Pooh, which we played often when my son was little. But I lost track of the tape and hadn't played it for at least ten or more years. After my father died last month, he decided to make a keepsake CD of the recording for everyone in our family, as a Christmas present. I received that gift two days ago and played it for the first time just now.

I found myself laughing and crying simultaneously, while waves of nostalgia washed over me. To hear those sweet (young!!) voices of my parents again! And be flung back in time when my son was still small and the reading of Winnie the Pooh, an important nighttime ritual! Or be flung back even further, when my parents read to me as a child, and remember the images those stories and lyrics conjured in my mind! There were only six short hums (songs). I wish there had been more!!

But the CD didn't stop there. My brother and his wife were wise enough to record my parents reminiscing one Christmas, 12 years ago, taking turns talking about their childhoods, how they met, their ethnic backgrounds and answering questions posed by grandchildren about "life in the good old days." I haven't listened to all of it yet, but I know I will enjoy this simple pleasure beyond words' ability to express such joy. It's a priceless gift, to hear again the voice of a loved one who has passed from this world into the next. My deepest thanks go to my brother and sister-in-law for this thoughtful and loving present.


dorami said...

Your blog makes me warm.
It's nice and healing.
I wish I could write like you.

Sal said...

Dear Dorami,
Well, all things being equal...I wish I could write Japanese like *you*!! Your blog is 癒し系 too!