What can you learn from Pippi Longstockings?

It was so many years ago that it seems like another lifetime.
Our special friends from Edmonton came for their first visit to our home on the Plains. We were acclimatized by then, but still missed our Canadian friends.
What fun we had! Swimming and boating at Pete’s Puddle, eating a late-night barbecue, making a fire in the fireplace with the air conditioner on.
And best of all, enjoying a day on the town.
Both families, accompanied by my mother, went to a Sunday afternoon theatre production and later to the Garden Room of the Holiday Inn for supper.
At intermission, five-year-old Quinton politely squeezed by the whole row and asked my mother, “Are you having a good time?” She answered in the affirmative. She was having a wonderful time!
The production was “Pippi Longstockings.”
Like her creator Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstockings is a special person. And when Lindgren died last month at the age of 94, the whole world mourned her death.
She had written 100 books, mostly for children. But none so famous as “Pippi Longstockings.”
Pippi is known as “Pippi Langstrumpf” in Germany, “Pippi Calzaslargas” in Spain, “Bibi Maiea-Longa” in Brazil, “Pipi Pikksukk” in Estonia, and “Nagakutsushita-Nooo Pippi” in Japan.
The book was translated into more than 50 languages.
Written in 1944, “Pippi Longstockings” at first was rejected by a publisher. But the very next year, the book won a major award. And ever since, Lindgren has garnered awards, including two honourary doctorates.
Lindgren was born in Sweden and lived her whole life there. A theme park, with settings from her books, opened in 1989 and attracts 300,000 visitors every year. In 1996, a bronze statue of Lindgren was installed in Stockholm.
And she is so popular in Sweden that they have put her on a postage stamp.
Swedes, old and young alike, love Pippi Longstockings. The same is true in this country. As one fan said, if you haven’t seen the Pippi movies, run—don’t walk—to the nearest video store immediately.
Pippi is a wonderfully-imaginative and resourceful little girl with carrot-coloured hair in two braids that stick straight out. Her nose is dotted with freckles. And she wears long mismatched stockings, one black and the other brown, thus the title—Pippi Longstockings.
Her mama died when Pippi was a baby. Her father, who was a sea captain, was swept overboard by a storm. But Pippi refuses to believe he is dead. She lives in her father’s house—Villa Villekulla—with her horse and a monkey, next door to Tommy and Annika.
Oh, what fun they have! They scrub the kitchen floor with brushes on their feet. And one day, Pippi takes one of her gold pieces and buys ice cream for the strictly-regimented children from the orphanage—all they can eat!
Pippi is the strongest girl in the world. “She could lift a whole horse if she wanted to! And she wanted to.” She personifies the spirit of imagination, optimism, resourcefulness, and courage.
But sometimes late at night, with tears in her eyes, she looks toward heaven to talk to Mama. Pippi teaches children and adults alike that they can be brave even if they’re scared.
She always says, “Don’t you worry about me. I’ll always come out on top . . . I never run away from anything.”
Pippi is the child in each of us, yet the courageous and generous adult we would like to be. So what could you learn from Pippi Longstockings?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist.

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