Word Warrior Wednesday: “Oh the Places you’ll go” (Dr. Seuss)

Growing up in Germany, I did not know about “Green eggs and Ham” or “Yertle, the Turtle” and other things. I am alive people, I am breathing, it’s ok. I find Dr. Seuss books cute, I admire the artwork, but they don’t evoke that childhood feeling of your parents reading a book to you, or you slowly figuring out the words on the page. I have my Euro equivalents, no need for pity. There is one exception however. In 2004-5 I was an exchange student at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota (Go Cobbers!). I was a so-called “native assistant”- I spoke German with the students, tutored etc. The professors in the tiny German Department were all wonderful, dedicated to their students, kind and devoted to the study of liberal Arts. One of them was Frau Burchill, who upon hearing that I had Crohn’s Disease was especially caring to me. Her enthusiasm for German, and the cultures of German speaking countries (especially Switzerland) inspired students, and to the day, I try to channel her excitement. When I left to go back to Germany after a year, she gave me Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the places you’ll go!”. She believed in me before I did. It was my first piece of Americana, since then I have seen many people give the book as a graduation gift, I myself have given it to students, too. The passage below is my favorite. Realistic, still uplifting, an apt description of Crohn’s (and really, every other affliction in life) and of course it always reminds me of my first year in the US.

 

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

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