Rabbits and Pooh: it started when I was a baby

February 22, 2010


Well, of course it did, because I get it from my mother. She claims to have wheeled a bottle of Brer Rabbit Molasses around in a baby buggy when she was a girl. And she began indoctrinating me when I was just a baby. This is the earliest photo of myself that I have seen with regularity. It wasn’t enough for her to have her cute, happy baby in the middle of a giant bed. No, she posed a rabbit toy alongside. The osmosing of rabbit love began. 

As I have gotten these photos together this week, I have remembered that when I was photographed as a child, these “candid” shots always included some prop to make the picture “more interesting.” If you think that stuffed rabbit just happens to be peeking out from behind the ottoman, you are mistaken. 

I was just the right age to get in at the beginning of Winnie-the-Pooh’s popularity. So there was often a Pooh in the photo. This is Rubber Pooh that you’ll see in a few shots. He was—wait for it—rubber and jointed. He was a friend for a long time. He would wave to my mom while she was snapping the photo or just generally be a bystander in the shot. We really liked those big boxes. 

Rabbits were never out of it for long. I can remember riding that rabbit-horse around the house. I sort of remember that I wasn’t allowed to take it outside so as not to “ruin” it. I may be wrong, but that’s how I think it was. 

We have the quintuple bonus picture for my sixth birthday—Poohs and a rabbit, and opening a Winnie-the-Pooh stencil kit. That was back in the day when things didn’t have to have a screen and beep and vibrate for a kid to be entertained. I wore out my Spirograph. I can’t quite tell from the photo if I had melted Rubber Pooh’s nose just a little yet or not. I was playing with matches. 

When I was a youngster, we summered at Indiana University while my dad worked summers only on his PhD. The campus featured a cute little stream where my mom and I spent a lot of time playing Poohsticks. 

The rabbit thing came to fruition with the first live rabbit that either my mom or I had lived with. I’d tell you her name, but then you’d be able to steal my identity. We came to have this rabbit, Rabbit C, because the neighborhood papergirl, Penny W, brought along a box of baby bunnies one day when she was delivering the news. My mom got suckered in. 

I was eight in that picture. I’m trying to remember if Rabbit C made the cross-state move with us when I was almost fifteen. I know a couple of years after the move, we had a different rabbit. I’m kind of thinking—yes, now I remember. She did not make the move with us and was interred in the front flower bed where I always used to plant marigold seeds. Maybe that’s part of the reason why I still love marigolds. 

But within a couple of years after we moved, there was a new rabbit, and there has been one in my life ever since, whether successors to Rabbit C with my mom or, beginning when I was, I’m going to say, about 25, a rabbit of my very own.

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