The characters of Winnie the Pooh have always been my favorite Disney characters. I remember watching the Winnie the Pooh animated series and the movies. I remember my parents reading the Winnie the Pooh stories to me at bedtime. I also recall these characters as some of my closest childhood friends. As I got older we grew more apart, but I always had a special place for them in my heart. I thought they had forgotten me, but after the experience I had at Disneyland a few weeks ago I realized that they are still very close to me.
Another one of my favorite characters was (and still is) Grandma. You won’t find her in any Disney cartoons, shows, or movies. However, I’m sure she could teach even Mickey Mouse a lesson or two. She was a character in the great stage of the world. She was always witty and full of life- even at the end of her time here on earth. She loved gardening, reading, quilting, chocolate, and most of all, her family. She was smart and strong (emotionally and physically). She worked extremely hard at everything she did. She parasailed last February on her 87th birthday trip to Cancun. She also raised eight wonderful children, the youngest being my father.
Some of my happiest childhood memories occurred on the ranch where my grandparents lived. My dad and I would walk in the house and there would be Grandma, cooking breakfast for us in the kitchen. There were always plenty of “hotcakes” as she called them. Grandma was the one who taught me the ratio of how to eat scrambled eggs: one bite of bacon and one forkful of egg. I recall her reading to me and pushing me on the swing. I also remember us making blackberry cobbler together. We waited to eat it until my grandpa and dad came in from working on the ranch. They were lucky we didn’t just take forks to it. My grandma was an amazing cook. She was just amazing overall.
Cancer was a word my grandmother heard multiple times during her life. Various forms of it came and left for more than a decade before she passed. I was blessed to be able to go and see her before she passed. I knew it would be the last time I would see her in this life. It was hard for a lot of reasons, but I would do it all over again. We were very close. My grandma had an extremely special place for me in her heart and I loved her more than anything (same with my grandpa).
Five days after my mom and I had last seen my grandma, my mom received the phone call from my dad at home. We (my mom, my mom’s mom, and me) were sitting in my happy place in Disneyland- Critter Country. More specifically, we were sitting in the shade of the Hungry Bear restaurant on the ground floor across from the restrooms. After my mom hung up with my dad she told me that my dad called his family and they told him that Grandma had passed. I heard a mirror shatter, almost as though it was right next to my ear.
I needed to go for a walk by myself. I walked passed Splash Mountain and went back near the store Pooh Corner. I went back as far as I could go, to the log fence/gate. Directly to my left was the fence and directly behind me was the store. I sat down, pit my arms around my knees, and looked at the sky. Then I began to cry. I wept and wept and I don’t know how long I sat there. A woman approached me and asked if she could help me. I explained the situation. I’m not sure if she understood all that I was saying, I had been crying for a while. As I sat there, a number of cast members came and went through the gate. I even saw Tigger and Pooh go backstage. I put my head down on my knees and just kept crying.
A few minutes later I heard some feet shuffling towards me. I felt a furry hand taking my hand and kissing it. I looked up and there were two of my favorite childhood friends Tigger and Pooh. I got up and they hugged me. I told them thank you and that they were my favorites. They then left to greet their other adoring fans. I cried for a few minutes more. Then I dug in my purse for a paper and pen. I scribbled the two a note thanking them and telling them what had just happened and after a few more minutes I took it to one of the cast members near their meet and greet and asked her if she would give it to them. She said she would and as I left I saw her tenderly unfolding the note and reading it. Later I went to City Hall and left a comment thanking them again.
It meant so much to me that Tigger and Pooh were still there for me at one of the lowest times of my life, even though I had gotten older. They still loved me and I still loved them. It was one of the most incredible experiences that I have ever had, if not the most incredible experience that I’ve had at Disneyland. Before my grandma passed, she told me that she was proud of me. Those words mean more to me than any others people have given me. I want to continue to make her proud and work to be as wonderful as she was. Just like Tigger and Pooh are still here for me, I know that my grandma will still be here for me even though she is an angel now. Now she is my guardian angel and I will forever love my friends Tigger, Pooh, and Grandma.
Contributed by: Hannah N. (NDT#23) Hannah is the DDL Teens’ Viewpoint Blogger.