April 24, 2022

Why Pooh?

Most of you know that on many social media sites, Grandpa uses an avatar that looks a lot like Winnie the Pooh, but since Poohbear is owned by Disney, Grandpa’s little buddy is actually named Winston J. Pooh, Esq. He sports different looks in his avatar form, and if he isn’t wearing his short red shirt, he’ll probably be in a Seahawks jersey, or possibly even a tuxedo. 

He is a silly old bear, after all.

Grandpa's First Avatar

Back in the olden days of the year 2000, the internet was still growing, and the world-wide web was becoming a great place to make friends and play games. 

Before the rise of the video game console, a lot of online multi-player games were word games, and most were played with a chat window for the players to communicate. Part of the charm of playing online was anonymity. Instead of using your real name, you registered a player name, and then entered the room to join a game, or chat in the lobby with others waiting to play.

Winnie the Pooh has always been near and dear to my heart, and THE TAO OF POOH was one of my favorite books. One day some friends and I were joking about getting in shape—yes, round IS a shape—one of them commented that my shape was similar to that of the silly, willy, nilly old bear.

That was all it took. 

My user-name became Mr.Poohbear8-). (My first try, Poohbear:-), elicited a few uninvited approaches from some confused men; trust me, it gave me a great deal of empathy for women online, and reinforced the need to play anonymously in groups of unknown people).

A decade later, Facebook was arguably the strongest social media site on the web. My use of Pooh as an avatar was done early, and he has been a constant online persona since then.

The Grand Railway Adventure

Pooh's Backpack Sign
My brother (my hero) and his wife (a women I am proud to call my sister) decided they wanted to take a first-class train ride around the US, in the sleeper car, and they invited me to go along. Thus was born the preparation for adventure.

I have twenty actual grandkids as of this writing, and there is no way I could take them all on this trip. Instead, I decided to take Pooh along and document the trip for ALL of them, as well as the rest of Team FFF (my Facebook Friends & Family). 

I spent months buying stuffed Poohs looking for the perfect photographic subject, then locating doll stands and costumes, and finally upgrading my photography game with a new camera (or two).

The Plan

Stunt Double
My plan is to take as many pictures as I can while we are gone, putting Pooh in as many places as possible. Landmarks, signs, views, people … and I am going to see how many people are willing to “Smile with a Bear.”

I have Pooh ready with sunglasses and raincoat on hand, as well as a smaller stunt-double in an adventurer’s outfit… and I understand there may be a photo-bombing friend.

The journey begins tomorrow, and I will post a full report, including images and videos, when I return.

In the meantime, adventurous dream are my wish for you all,

from Grandpa’s heart…