Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jemima Puddle-Duck on My Mind

I was remembering something that occurred when my oldest daughter was around 3 years old. We spent alot of time reading Beatrix Potter books together. My whole world seemed to be focused on my daughter and the telling of Beatrix Potter stories. We especially liked Jemima Puddle-duck and Peter Rabbit. I wasn't doing alot of adult socializing then. I recall one weekend a good friend of mine had invited us to a cocktail party to view a slide show presentation of "China". The party was very nice although I did not know many of the people there. My friends friend who was presenting the slide show was a young, handsome painter and many of the guests were artists as well. It was a very nice grown up affair. Anyway when it was time for the slide show the lights dimmed and a beautiful series of photographs began. During the showing the young artist would make comments on when and where certain pictures were taken. Others made comments or asked questions. At one point there was a lovely photo of a serene lake with many ducks. Someone commented, "Oh that's so beautiful that reminds me of a story...but I can't think of the name of that book?...what was the name of that book?" All was quiet as though waiting for a response. For some reason these words came out of my mouth really loud, "Jemima Puddle Duck?" ... Immediately I cringed ... Oh my goodness I thought "Why did I say that?" ... Oh dear,
Jemima Puddle-Duck on my mind.

Beatrix Potter
Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, mycologist and conservationist who was best known for her many best-selling children's books that featured animal characters, such as Peter Rabbit.
Born into a privileged household, Potter was educated by governesses and grew up isolated from other children. She had numerous pets and, through holidays spent in Scotland and the Lake District, developed a love of landscape, flora and fauna, all of which she closely observed and painted. As a young woman her parents discouraged her intellectual development, but her study and paintings of fungi led her to be widely respected in the field of mycology. In her thirties Potter published the highly successful children's book The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and became secretly engaged to her publisher, Norman Warne, causing a breach with her parents, who disapproved of his social status. Warne died before the wedding could take place.
Potter began writing and illustrating children's books, and, having become financially independent of her parents, was able to buy a farm in the Lake District, which she extended with other purchases over time. In her forties she married a local solicitor, William Heelis. She became a sheep breeder and farmer while continuing to write and illustrate books for children, eventually publishing twenty-three. Potter died in 1943, and left almost all of her property to her husband who, after his death in 1945, left it to The National Trust in order to preserve the beauty of the Lake District as she had known it, protecting it from developers.


girasoli said...

I loved Beatrix Potter. Interesting reading about her life. I don't think I have ever read Jemima Puddle-duck. I will have to see if we have it in our library.

Laurie said...

I love Beatrix Potter - thank you for writing that brief biography. She was certainly an energetic woman -- marriage in her 40's, sheep farm! I didn't know about her gift of the land, that is so very cool.

I decorated my son's nursery all in Beatrix Potter; he was, after all, Benjamin Bunny. She'll always be close to my heart!

Jemima Puddle Duck -- that is something I would do! LOL!

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