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When Dr Suess was " banned " by Cancel Culture I wondered why. His books were nonsense and delightfully foolish.  Harmless fun. Simple words to delight and educate children in a way that entertained and put smiles on little faces.

In fact, being a Dr Suess fan all of my life, I have always had one of his books in my home and I am nearly 70. So why am I writing about frogs, footwear, fantasy and fluffy pillows? Well, read the article and you may understand,

Dr Suess wrote about the Sneetches. Strange fellows.

It was 1953 when he wrote about the sneetches and to me they were just as foolish as the Cat in the Hat.

Strange how 70 years makes us less likely to laugh and mock the writings of Dr Suess. 

But many of Dr Suess's works were nonsensical yet somehow frightening in their accuracy. 

How life was somehow turned into a mayhem of madness and all we could do was read the story and chuckle while all hell broke loose.

As cancel culture closes books and stops poetry and disregards everything we had, laws are now telling us to stop talking about pissy boots, a good night's sleep or an invasion of sneetches.

Life, as we knew it, is over. Unless something dramatic happens. And that, my friends, is not over to us anymore. 

We are now in an era when the sneetches rule and we need all the friends we can have. 

 

 

How long can we live when the sneetches rule?

I cannot help but reflect on when I travelled to South Korea over 20 years ago to teach Engish as an older teacher, I took several things with me: a treasured companion known as " Mr Frog " ( some think that he is a soft toy but he is wise beyond his fabric exterior ) , a pillow ( unlike Ford Prefect who believed that a towel was the most important thing to travel with I disagreed - a good pillow is vital) and several other things.

 

A sturdy pair of boots ( they became known as my " pissy boots " because they stood in many squat toilets and traversed many markets; some thermal underwear made from good New Zealand merino wool and two books. 

My bible and a copy of " The Cat in the Hat  "

Mr Frog has been a trusted companion for many years. When I surrendered my Teddy Bear to my youngest daughter, I was bereft. My companion from childhood left me to go and help another young lady fight the childhood dragons and sleepless nights. As I surrendered my teddy  to my young daughter, I never thought that he would end up living in a cupboard and gathering dust - valued more for his pedigree and vintage than for the love he gave and was given.

 

As Teddy sits alone and hoping to be loved once more ( as I loved him as a young child ) I was heading off to South Korea to embark on an adventure and it was in this circumstance that I was gifted a young Frog who sat in a window of a craft shop.

I was with a friend , who had been staying with me, prior to leaving, and I spotted this grumpy little face staring out at me. A frog. I looked at the price tag and determined that he was too expensive and that such frivolity was ridiculous for someone of my age about to embark on a journey that required sturdy boots, a good pillow, some well chosen books and a stout heart. There was nothing in the manifesto about a frog.  I had my pillow, my boots, my books and my passport and visa: I walked by. He was not part of my required list of travel requirements. 

 

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My friend excused herself to go to the bathroom and I meandered about the mall and pondered my decision to pass this frog by. My friend returned from the little girl's room ( for that is what it was in those days ) and I announced most defiantly " I am going back to buy that frog! "

We retraced our steps and my frog was gone. I was devastated. I could not believe that some other bastard had MY frog! It was a dark mood that descended as we trudged back to the car and returned home to ponder the concept of missed opportunities.

As the day of my departure arrived, I packed my books and pillow, donned my sturdy boots and prepared to set forth on my big adventure.

I took my friend to the airport and she said " by the way - thanks for having me" and she presented me with the frog.

I was 46 years old and I wept. Tears of joy over a stuffed bloody frog. As she went to board her plane, I held that frog and knew that I had Teddy back, albeit in a different form,

Mr Frog travelled to many places with me. He has endured x-ray screening at numerous airports and been used as a pillow when I have been stranded in others. He has accompanied me into surgery when I had cancer and I recollect waking up with him in my arms, placed lovingly by caring and indulgent nursing staff who even dressed him in hospital greens and placed a sticking plaster on his kidney. He even had a little sticky note that said " get well soon Mum " on his head.

Mr Frog has comforted me, debated with me as I have contemplated Life the Universe and Everything, and even helped me overcome panic attacks at Larnarch Castle.

When I had a cat in my life, Miss Bridget , Mr Frog endured her purring and nudging him out of the bed and kicking him with feline feistiness. Bridget did not care for Mr Frog and let that be known on a daily basis. But, for over 10 years, Mr Frog hung in there. 

 He has been seen in strange places and always looks stoic and disinterested in much that goes on today. My wonderful parents Raymond F Peters and Redhead endured my obsession with a frog. 

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By now, you must be wondering why a nearly 70 year old is rabbiting on about a fabric frog and a somewhat delusional fixation with teddy bears, boots and books.

Because there is always that residual child in all of us. We NEED to keep the child alive.

When I taught in South Korea, I read my book about The Cat in the Hat to my kindy students. They loved it. But one student, in particular, loved it even more. He wanted it read every day and all day.

Hugo loved that book.

One day, I told him that we could not read Dr Suess because the other students wanted to hear other stories.

Hugo stabbed me with some craft scissors.

I read the book.

It took me a long time to get to the point, didn't it?

If you allow the minority to dictate the terms, they will stab you. One way or another.  

We all need to keep the child alive. It may be a fabric frog or a memory or a childhood dream, but we NEED to REMEMBER what it was like to have a best friend who we called Teddy or Mr Frog or Dolly. Or our husband or wife; son or daughter; cat or dog; it is a human need to seek comfort and reassurance and someone, anyone, to say " you did good. "

 

We NEED to seek comfort and reassurance, no matter how old we are. It doesn't matter where that comfort comes from, if it works , go for it.

We MUST have pissy boots. If you don't have protection from the grime and the filth in this world, you will become infected with that very same filth. 

A GOOD BOOK can be very helpful in times of need. 

Whether it be the Bible or well chosen childhood favourite, words can offer great solace and comfort.

Age is timeless. 

We still function as children No one is completely grown up. We are all children at heart. Even when we do not function as kids bu love the kid we had.The child we were.

When parents understand, all is good.

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my parents.  By the way, I miss my Dad. 

 walked in many places in my pissy boots and I slept many nights on my pillow. But my books and my frog kept me grounded. As they have for years afterward.

As did my parents. Raymond F Peters is gone but Redhead is still here and she still bosses me around.  And that is fine. 

Our heartfelt memories and snapshots of mud fights and lazy summer afternoons are with us forever. The fierce bike ride through hot summer streets or the day we lost the love of life because his or her parents moved to a new town and were lost to us forever.

Our childhood chum that started off as a Teddy Bear and became a frog or a dog or a cat or a loving and indulgent spouse... all allow us to be who we became and they accept our foibles and idiosyncrasies, as we accept and indulge theirs.

Our childhood molded us and created us. 

 

 

What WE all knew was that we were equal. 

A pair of scissors did not divide us. A stab in the dark from a strange outsider never broke up our gang of friends. 

We rode on our bikes, sailed our ships, slung our mud and laughed, played and slept soundly at night, knowing that a good day was had and tomorrow would be another good day. And our teddy bears, frogs, dollies and furry friends kept us safe and manned the hatches so we could regain our strength and live on to fight another day.

Which brings me back to Dr Suess and his book " Star Bellied Sneetches. " Which is where I started in this article.

 I wonder if the Cat in the Hat would even bother coming back to a world where the sneetches prevail?

For myself, I prefer a world of frogs, fantasy, a good nights sleep and sturdy footwear.

Bugger the sneetches. Yet I must ask: how has our world surrendered so quickly?

Is it because the award of the star is greater than the reward of free will.

We need to keep the child alive. 

And the Sneetches need to stop. 

And a world of childhood wonder to pass on to those that the sneetches have tried to cheat.

 This is my story for this weekend and my name is Shaydee Lane.

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