Thank you, Maurice Sendak.

A long time ago, I was a very sick little girl who wasn’t allowed to go to kindergarten at all. I was quarantined, and the only friends I had were alligators, bears, monsters and Eddie, a very naughty little boy with dark eyes, a messy bowl haircut and a penchant for cheating at cards.  Eddie was the living personification of every Maurice Sendak illustration, and he was imaginary.  Without Eddie and Sendak, I would have been boring, not just bored.  With them,  I went everywhere in striped pajamas– fancy restaurants, casinos, truck stops and the moon, in particular.

When I got better and was eventually allowed back into the real world, those stories full of naughtiness-come-right were the subconscious building blocks for what I did, what I thought, and how and who I loved.   My Nutshell Library (safely hidden from my children) has been integrated so deeply into my mind that I often cite my friend  Pierre and his very true tale.  Mini e and x believe me.  No Fighting No Biting is my parenting bible and favorite for the girls who shout “no fighting, no biting” when asked what we are going to do today.

The Professor and I both love Little Bear for so many similar reasons, though I don’t think he shares my love (obsession) for noses, thanks to Sendak’s illustrations.  I get weak in the knees around a profound proboscis and have fallen in love twice with a nice nose.  And dark hair.  I wonder if he realizes Max, John and James, Pierre, Alligator and Johnny and almost every Sendak boy were the reason I love a stormy brunette?  He should be thanking Maurice too.

Maurice Sendak

June 10, 1928*- May 4, 2012

*Not only do we share the same birthday, I had the starring role “Chicken Soup” in the spectacular elementary school performance of Really Rosie