Happy Birthday Miss Potter


Since it’s her birthday, I wanted to say a bit about her.

Awhile back I watched “Miss Potter”, starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. So what do I want to say about it. Should I say it was lovely? It was. What did I love about it… watching the friendship and affection develop between Beatrix and Norman, even though somehow I knew things would not be smooth sailing for them. The acquaintance and romance necessarily took time, with her chaperone in constant attendance to protect the unmarried Beatrix’s virtue. Why don’t people take time like that anymore to get to know one another? You would think in her day they would have been more willing to speed things up. Life was shorter, and people died young far more often than they do today. She lost her first love, Norman Warne (portrayed by Ewan McGregor) quite suddenly before they could be married. And yet, she persevered with her art and her books, and found another good man. Of course the first thing I did after the movie ended was hit the internet to see how much of it was true, and how much made up (think “Finding Neverland”). Apparently “Miss Potter” stuck a little closer to the facts. I think she had a good life, on her own terms, an extraordinary thing for a woman of her generation. She left quite a legacy: not only her books and art, but scientific papers (her paper on the germination of spores had to be presented by her uncle to the Linnean Society, as they would not allow a woman to attend the meetings. A posthumous apology was issued to her in 1997), and 4,000 acres to the National Trust, preserving some of her beloved farmland for generations. Quite inspiring, actually. Bless you, Helen Beatrix Potter Heelis.

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