A Tale of Two Christopher Robins–or how I got my name
Since shortly after Nameberry hit the internet six years ago, my wife—who happens to be Linda Rosenkrantz—has been begging me to write a blog about how I got my name. Finally, after a long and stressful weekend of mattress shopping, I’ve given in.
The first thing you should know is that my parents had no intention of naming me Christopher Robin. Early in my mother’s pregnancy they had chosen for me the name Roger Clive. I don’t know where they got that combo from, but in any case they didn’t stand a chance. Because from the outset, my paternal grandparents–who lived a long way away, and doubtless felt frustrated about not being able to admire my mother’s swelling stomach in person—brusquely decided to override my parents, and in every phone call and missive would demand to know, “And how is little Christopher Robin doing?” This was prompted by my grandmother’s inordinate fondness for the A.A. Milne poem “Christopher Robin is Saying his Prayers,” from his book When We Were Very Young–that Christopher Robin being the author’s only son.
Though normally rather strong-willed, my parents finally took the hint, and so another Christopher Robin came into the world, one who became very confused when he discovered the wonderful books about Pooh Bear and his marvelous menagerie of friends, one little boy included. Who, I wondered, had taken the trouble to write these magical stories about me? And why hadn’t the artist who illustrated them done a better job of catching my likeness? I mean, I never wore sissy clothes like that!
Eventually I reached an age when, like Eeyore, I occasionally entertained such thoughts as “Why?” and “Wherefore?” and even “Inasmuch as which?” Put another way, I figured out that there was plenty of room in the world for more than one Christopher Robin (and I made damned sure that no one at school ever learned my middle name), but I never managed to escape my literary namesake entirely.
During my misspent youth in London, I lived for a while about a block from the house in which Christopher Robin Milne was born, and, through a friend, I got to know the area in the Ashdown Forest upon which the Hundred Acre Wood, setting of the Pooh stories, is based. Many years later I got to write a book about Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, and once—at an antiques auction in the English countryside, I was actually introduced to Christopher Milne. Our coincidence of names was noted and he said, with a certain sadness, “I hope it brings you greater happiness than it’s brought me.” Christopher, it seems, felt that he had been swallowed by the celebrity of his name.
Christopher Finch’s latest book is the detective story The Girl From Nowhere.
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on September 29th, 2014 at 6:12 am
Christopher Robin is such an amazing name. I love it.
on September 29th, 2014 at 8:19 am
A great story!
Tara Wood Said
on September 29th, 2014 at 1:04 pm
What a fun post! I love personal stories about names- fascinating!
on September 29th, 2014 at 1:43 pm
Nice post! And not only a tale of two Christopher Robins, but of two birds in one name: not only Robin, but also Finch!
on September 29th, 2014 at 2:01 pm
@Daisychain: How true!
on September 29th, 2014 at 3:16 pm
Love this! I can see why she’s been pressuring you to write a post!
on September 29th, 2014 at 4:21 pm
Great story, thank you for sharing! I think Christopher Robin is a lovely, handsome name but I also can see why it may be not so easy to wear when you are a serious adult. 🙂
on September 29th, 2014 at 9:16 pm
Thanks for sharing this story. Normally I don’t like combo names where the ending sound of the first name is the same as the beginning sound of the second, but Christopher Robin is definitely an exception. Who didn’t grow up saying it? I think the most delightful thing is that you actually got to meet Christopher Milne. I’ve heard he was overshadowed by the fame of his child self, which makes me sad. I wish it hadn’t been that way.
Anyway, though, Christopher Robin is a charming name, and thanks again for sharing the story of how you got it!
on October 1st, 2014 at 2:35 pm
Christopher Robin such a lovely, charming name I can’t take it away from the Winnie The Pooh association though.
on October 3rd, 2014 at 9:07 pm
Christopher Robin Finch has a nice flow. I love the classic Christopher, and would use Kit or Kip as the nickname.
on October 3rd, 2014 at 9:09 pm
Also, it’s nice to hear a male perspective on this chat!
on January 9th, 2015 at 5:48 pm
Christopher and Robin are two very handsome names.
on August 27th, 2016 at 12:41 am
Cool story! I love hearing about how people got their names. The combo is actually really great.
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