House at Pooh Corner - Kenny Loggins
Perhaps the best song to look back at childhood through a wistful adult eye is the House at Pooh Corner, here sung by singer songwriter Kenny Loggins on the excellent "On Stage" live album by Loggins and Messina. This is better than the studio version, which is overproduced and slightly mawkish. Here is the real deal, the rawness of Loggins' voice reflecting the rawness of his memories, the sadness that he can never get back to that age of innocence, and the tenderness he feels for his lost childhood.
My mother owned a Bernina sewing machine with which she used to create whole casts of costumes for the local theatrical company, including, at various stages of my early childhood, "the Mikado" and "South Pacific" and numerous pantomimes including "Snow White", "Cinderella" and "Dick Whittington". I vividly remember our yellow carpet and dining room table covered in clothes, scissors, tape measures and all sorts of coloured materials, and my mother, ashtray by her side, pins and a smouldering Player's Navy Cut protruding from her mouth, bent over the whirring machine like a Rodin. Meals would become a Spartan affair, the basics only, and she would become more and more short with us until the fateful first night. So important was she to their amateur theatricals that she would often get a curtain call on the final performance. Later, back in the UK, old habits died hard, and somehow in her sixties she was roped into making an Eeyore outfit for a Winnie the Pooh production that was performed outdoors, and, I recall, filmed for the BBC. I don't think it ever made it to screen, but I inherited the donkey outfit which was, true to my mother's costumier genius, magnificent. The head was a masterpiece of invention, using half ping pong balls for the eyes, which were perched at the top of the wearers's head while he could see (not too clearly) through the donkey's long gauze nose. Every year I would attend the local rugby club's children's Christmas party as "Uncle Donkey", silently (he never spoke) doshing out the presents to the little guests who all fell in love with him. Later, we more than once surprised closing time drivers at traffic lights, when I wore the head in the next door passenger seat. In both cases, the children and the drivers, the look of innocent wonder on their faces has stayed with me, and when I remember it I think of my mother and it always makes me smile.
".....help me if you can I've got to get back to the house at Pooh Corner by one
you'd be surprised there's so much to be done..........."