Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Goodbye Winnie Cooper

Submission from Nat.


I am not sure exactly what prompted me to write you or exactly what the purpose of this letter is. I don’t think it’s so much of a love letter as it is a confessional. Or maybe a goodbye?

I have thought about you a lot over the years. I am sure I am not alone in this. The characters and events throughout our childhood and teen years never really seem to leave our thoughts. It’s funny because we all like to say how the drama of childhood is, now in hindsight, insignificant. But it is the theatre of these events that we continue to relive for the rest of our lives.

The reality is, I know very little about you Winnie. And I don’t mean in the “do you ever REALLY KNOW somebody else” kind of way. I mean despite your looks, the look of you in knee-high-socks, sweater and sports-skirt for that cute attainable girl-next-door look and your relationship with Kevin I can’t recall too much else.

However, when I think of you Winnies I feel…this is harder than I thought. I feel warm when I think of you. Yes, warm. Vivid Warmness!

Then why do I (and so many other men of my age who grew up watching you) have such strong affections for someone who we have never really known?

I know you and Kevin did not end up together. I remember him saying that you wrote to each other every week for eight years after high school when you went away to Europe to study. He got married but you guys never let go, did you?

Perhaps that is where the answer lies. Why hang on to something, which in reality, will turn out to be nothing?

The things we invest so much in we are so afraid to let go of. Is that because we define ourselves by these things and without them we have no sense of self? Or is it more crass, where we never really want to admit we were ever wrong or misguided and continue to invest in such things even though, deep in our hearts, we know they are lost causes.

In this way, these childhood indulgences act as our anchors. They give us the steadying purpose to get to know ourselves, explore without danger and stray with the comfort we know who we are and where we belong. But like the sea, the world moves around us and we eventually find ourselves in uncharted waters and can’t recognise who or where we are and realise that the anchor is an illusion of safety and stability.

I think for me and Kevin and the countless of other boys out there, you were our anchor. You were someone to pin our affections to. Someone to aim our romantic thoughts of true love and “forever love” at. Winnie Cooper was the idea of that “one” relationship that will eventually be fulfilled and out love vindicated.

But that is not real anymore, is it? It was a fantasy that served its purpose. However, now, rather than acting as a lifeboat of security and safety through which I explore the world and other relationships, it has become a rock. The type of rock that doesn’t keep you grounded but sinks you below the surface, keeps you from soaring with joy and excitement from love, newness and possibilities. Kevin eventually let go of you and got married. Its time I went and found my very own “Winnie Cooper”.

I guess what I am trying to say is I am cutting anchor, Winnie. It was childhood and imagination and nothing more. I am sad to let you go and frightened about the future without Winnie Cooper as my compass in it. But I know I have no future with you in it.

Thanks for the memories.



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