Trial Balloon

Being Eeyore

Posted at 5:30 AM on February 9, 2010 by Radio Heartlander (24 Comments)
Filed under: Guest Bloggers

From the Desk of the Heartlanders
Guest Blogger - Anna

"Wonderful. I'll probably make a fool of myself. Well, might as well get it over with."

This was my entrance line as Eeyore in "Winnie the Pooh," coming on stage to lose my tail. And this was the role I played when I had my brief tour on the London stage, my limited run treading the boards in the land of Shakespeare and Stoppard.

At the tender age of 15 I was in a production of "Winnie the Pooh" that had a four week tour in London, England, prompted by an invitation from the Polka Children's Theater in Wimbledon (yes, that Wimbledon - and no, the theater wasn't anywhere near a tennis court). Our company had a one-week run at the Polka, and performed three other plays as well as "Pooh" at theaters, schools, and parks around London. While the Polka was memorable, it was our first performance that I hold dear.

The day after we arrived from Minneapolis, we walked from the hostel where we were staying, costumes, props, and set pieces in tow, to a school in the Putney section of London. The boys at the school wore grey short pants with white shirts, yellow ties and knee socks. The girls wore peach dresses. It was like walking into the world of Christopher Robin and performing our show for all his school chums.

After the show, it was the tradition of the group to spend time talking with the audience while still in costume. In my case, the costume was a head-to-toe grey Eeyore suit over a large "pod," which made me look like a stuffed animal. All you could see of the "real" me was my face and a few blond curls. Being Eeyore, I had a removable tail - it was attached with a large snap. Out I went into the "garden" to talk with the students and pretty soon a little blonde boy came up alongside me and took my hand. His name was Charles. He didn't say much, just held my hand while I talked with the other kids. He disappeared at one point, but reappeared quickly and announced rather sadly, "My friend took your tail" in a perfect Christopher Robin sort of voice, holding up my Eeyore tail for me to see. I asked that he kindly return it where it belonged, which he did, and then took my hand again.

After a bit it was time to go inside and change into our regular clothes so we could have "squash and biscuits" with the students in the garden (squash and biscuits? we all wondered - strange treat for primary school kids...turns out it was orange drink and cookies - squash and biscuits - no vegetables to be seen). Charles stood by the steps into the school, waiting for me. When I came out, he pronounced, "I knew who you were, you were Eeyore," and resumed his place, holding my hand. Charles, my one-kid fan club, gave me my best memory from a brief career on the London stage.

What is the most charming 'thank you' you have ever given or received?

Comments (24)

eyore is one of my favorite charachters and now i will envision you at age 15 when i think of him.
nice story anna. if only the world were that way everyday huh?
i guess that is why being a parent is considered rewarding. all the everyday reality and thankless hum drum existance is morphed into heaven when the simpleist thank you from a heartfelt munchkin rings true.
i remember my daughter now 20 was a cute little 3 or 4 year old when i gave her some birthday gift on her wish list. she obviously could not get over her good fortune and came running over to me on the couch, grabbed my face in her two little pulsating hands gave me a big kiss and threw her arms around me. murmering thank you thank you thank you in my ear. life can be easy. thanks for pointing it out this morning

Posted by tim | February 9, 2010 6:14 AM

Good Morning All,

Anna, thanks for sharing your very interesting experience in London.

I was lucky to be able to make a few trips overseas as an agricultural volunteer and was thanked with gifts and words of thanks on several ocaisions by people in the countries I visited.

One of the most memorable thank yous was from a poor farmer in Bolivia. I gave a talk to a small group of poor farmers in a small mountain village in Bolivia which was tranlated into both spainish and a native language.

These farmers only had very small rocky fields in small open areas high in the mountains. Thier main crop was coca which can be legally grown in Bolivia.

After the talk a farmer came up to me and through a translator told me that he appreciated my willings to come to their country and share information. He seemed very sincere and something about the way he came forward to thank me was very memorable to me.

Posted by Jim | February 9, 2010 6:21 AM

what a beautifully told story, Anna. a nice look into your visit and an excellent blog topic. i think children are the best at thank yous. or just making us feel happy to be around them. my friend Kirsten has two kids under 5 y.o. both of them, thru no effort on my part, just love me. when i see them i get little things they've drawn or sculpted and they yell "barb! barb!" vying for my attention. i always try to have something for them as well. but their gifts to me are always better.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 9, 2010 6:21 AM

When I was in high school, I did a work camp in a very poor area of the Missouri bootheel. It was a hard, hard week, with ony cold showers at the "hostel" where we stayed. At the end of the week, different families from the community invited us to their homes to take a hot shower. After I had cleaned up, my hosts put out a display of crackers and fruit, clearly all they had. The two kids of the family also got all dressed up and showed off their "Sunday shoes". It was the sweetest thank you I've ever received!

Great topic, Anna -- you rock!

Posted by sherrilee | February 9, 2010 6:27 AM

What a delightful and charming blog entry! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

Perhaps one of the sweetest thank you's I ever received came in the form of a mother's day card presented to me by two of my then high school students. In it, they wished me a happy mother's day, thanked me for my work in the classroom, and called me "Cisco Mom". :-)

Good morning, all!

Posted by elinor | February 9, 2010 6:30 AM

Greetings! Such a delightful story, Anna! I remember a Christmas many years ago when my oldest (now 20) was around 8. He did not receive what he wanted, but got a different but fairly cool gift I picked out. He decided it was the "best gift ever" and that it was even better than what he originally wanted.

My youngest son w/Autism would on occasion exclaim "this is the best gift ever" or "this is the best vacation ever" after having s'mores around a campfire and give me a big bear hug. Does a body good ...

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | February 9, 2010 6:57 AM

I love how you wrote about your Eeyore days, Anna.
The lump in my throat makes me think this day may come down as one of TB's most endearing.

Thank you's from students in the form of drawings and handwritten notes mean so much. A few years ago, a little girl whose family of nine had moved here from Ukraine when she was three, gave me a small box which contained a single dried rosebud and a note that said, "thank you for loving."

Posted by Donna | February 9, 2010 7:22 AM

I was once called a "goddess" by a client at my old job when I turned something around quickly for him - that was cool - but I think I agree with the consensus that seems to be forming, kids give just about the best thank yous. Some of my most memorable have involved kids and theater - including one incredulous, and smiling, "you came!" when I showed up on opening night for a show where I had been called in last minute to finish building the set. That "you came!" was quickly followed by "where are your red tennies?" (they were my "work" shoes at the time and I had dressed up some). Not exactly a "thank you" but a pretty good indication of teenager appreciation.

Posted by Anna | February 9, 2010 7:34 AM

Anna, thanks for painting such lovely word pictures. We were in London early one June. I was entranced by the school uniforms especially the pastels with straw hats.

When I worked in the hospital some people named their babies after me (a mixed blessing). The funniest was the family that hyphenated theeir daughter's name in my honour.

Posted by Beth-Ann | February 9, 2010 8:01 AM

Lovely story, Anna. When I was teaching, I had lots of little thank yous from kids, and one especially nice note from a parent I admired, something like "Thanks for making Craig's first year in school a happy one." That stuck with me.

But I think my favorite was when he was about 22, our son told us we'd been really great parents. This after the rocky, quiet teen years was especially precious to hear.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | February 9, 2010 8:10 AM

Off topic: Don, if you're on, please read end of yesterday's posts. And I need to correct myself - of course it's a play Clyde's writing, not a screenplay. Wouldn't it be fun to actually write the parodies of "Springtime for Hitler" and "The Lonely Goatherd"?

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | February 9, 2010 8:11 AM

morning, all--

off to my second day of helping out in 6th-grade classrooms for my new job! so far, it's the teachers who are thankful i'm there, grading tests, entering scores into computerized gradebook, etc...:-)

having been feeling rather eeyore-ish lately, so i like the poignancy of the child reporting the stolen tail in this a.m.'s blog by anna, and later waiting for her to hold her hand---subtle, understated connection...

i was awfully thankful yesterday when one boy, JT, made a point of saying hello and glancing over at me with a smile, when i was the "new girl" in his classroom on my first day at the title of a recently read book reminds me, Any Small Thing Can Save You.

Posted by Kay H in Utah | February 9, 2010 8:13 AM

go barbara i don't mind sharing the job description, go for the rewrites.
good to hear from you kay, glad the first day went well.
anna, goddess is a great second favorite

Posted by tim | February 9, 2010 8:33 AM

When I was in high school, I volunteered at a local nursing home to "Adopt a grandparent" and spend time with one resident over the course of a year. The person assigned to me was mute and gave no eye contact, but I visited her once a month and tried to have a conversation with her. It felt like I was talking to myself, but I kept it up until I read in the paper she had died. Her son sent me a poem he wrote about his mom, in white ink on black paper as a thanks for my time with her. It was more than I thought I deserved. Now that I have very elderly parents I understand his gratitude.

Posted by Renee | February 9, 2010 8:36 AM

Anna - I'm sitting here, still envisioning you and your little fan holding hands! Thanks again for the great topic...we probably all need more gratitude in our lives, giving as well as receiving.

Personally I'm incredibly grateful to have a neighbor who is doing my snowblowing while I'm still knocked out w/ my cold/infection!

Have a great day Heartlanders!

Posted by sherrilee | February 9, 2010 9:56 AM

Hi Barbara -

Yes, "pit" means orchestra, even though it's not always in a pit. At the old Chimera Theater in St. Paul the orchestra was in a room that was actually a flight of stairs up from stage level and off to the side. The cast saw the conductor, and he the cast, via TV monitor. the old Guthrie worked the same way. (I never played there, though.)

One downside of being in many "pits" is that often you get to see nothing of the show. I've played for one production of "Nutcracker" more than 60 times over the years and have no idea what is happening on stage. I just assume that if a ballerina didn't land on top of the first row of violins that everything went well.

Posted by Don in West St. Paul | February 9, 2010 10:21 AM

Dream and Alba are quite aloof. Dodger is more outgoing, but Dream and Alba hold back. these cold days i go out to the barn mid-morning and afternoons to let them out of their big pen to roam the barn and go outside if they want (they don't want). i sit on the grain storage container and watch. when she thinks i'm not noticing, Dream ambles over to me and stands close. i rub and scratch and brush her sides and neck and she shares her warm belly with me. this feels like a thank you to me. i keep waiting for Alba....... and why is it that those quiet little things that Dream does please me more than the almost constant attention seeking of Dodger? hard to get is more appealing?

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 9, 2010 10:22 AM

Some of the coolest thank yous are the ones you give. I love surprising someone with a written, detailed thank you (with pen and paper, that they can keep) that they probably weren't expecting -- out of the blue. I've done this with a 6th grade teacher, the women who lead hymns in our sunday school, a niece graduating from high school... And they end up thanking you back.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | February 9, 2010 10:38 AM

Barbara -

You are so right.

Several years ago I was the lead on a fairly large project at work. When the project was done I sent thank yous to all who had contributed in a major or minor role. Someone who had made a small contribution and who had a reputation as a cynical burnout case came to my cube with glistening eyes and said "I've been here 25 years, and this is the first time anyone's thanked me."

And we wonder why people have the attitudes they do.

Posted by Don in West St. Paul | February 9, 2010 10:50 AM

I am a big fan of sending out thank yous - verbally, by email and written. It's a small thing, but it can do so much.

Posted by Anna | February 9, 2010 11:16 AM

Barbara -- I'm a big fan of thank you notes as well. In fact, when my daughter was pre-writing, I used to write her thank you notes from her point of view and then "stamp" her handprint onto the cards. When she got older, she would write the "Dear ___" part and I would finish. Then the next year she wrote the "Dear ___" part and the "thank you for the ___ part". So by the time she was in 3rd grade, she was writing them all herself! We still have a thank-you card writing marathon the day after Christmas!

Posted by sherrilee | February 9, 2010 11:28 AM

Anna - glad you included receiving AND giving thank yous in your question for us. And thanks for the visual image of that young English boy holding hands with Eyeore! Have a great day, everyone...

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | February 9, 2010 12:41 PM

Barbara in Robbinsdale - I will have to say thank you to Dale for the editing assist, including some help with my closing question. I had a different end, initially, and Dale's keen editing eye tightened things up nicely.

Glad you all enjoyed reading about Charles and Eeyore. He was a very dear boy - and I'd like to hope a dear man (since by now he is a grown-up).

Posted by Anna | February 9, 2010 12:55 PM

yes, Anna, Barbara, Sherrilee - i like to write thank you notes also! (sometimes i cheat and do it via email, but i know a handwritten one is very special)
Sherrilee, what a neat thing to teach your daughter!
see y'all tomorrow
thanks, Anna

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 9, 2010 4:41 PM

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