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(p. 51) Letter to His Family 

(p. 51) Letter to His Family
(p. 51) Letter to His Family

Donald W. Winnicott

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Subscriber: null; date: 24 April 2019

Originally published in Rodman, F. R. Winnicott: Life and work. Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2003, pp. 35– 36.
Excerpt from a letter to Winnicott’s father, Sir John Frederick, his mother, Elizabeth, and his two sisters, Kathleen and Violet. This letter was written during Winnicott’s final winter in Cambridge, where he had been studying Natural Sciences in preparation to read medicine.

9 December 1916

We sang songs, did acrobatics, played rugger—polo—golf—soccer—hockey with walking sticks and my old top hat (that I bought for 2/-). Also we made awful noises, and owing to the beautiful arrangement of my rooms no damage was done. If I had had burnished tables, glazed pictures, and Turkey carpets we should have done about £7 worth damage. But as it was we did none. And yet my room looks quite nice. A lot of people tell me they like it.

I have bought a Planisphere or map of the Stars, which goes very well along side Baden Powell—the blackboard, Beethoven and the map of Cambridge. I have also hung over the chimney piece a skeleton of a chicken. Poor little thing, it was imprisoned in a wall while some painting was being done, and it was found starved to death. I was doing experiments on it, to find out how long it will take to decompose right away by being hung up with a pin.

V. & K. ought to feel very proud to be hung up next to Baden Powell (an article by which I enclose), or vice versa. They are going to be framed when I get the £5 gratuity from the War Office. I have almost spent it already—at least—well no I haven’t really. But you know.

People like looking at my bookcases because of the variety of the books therein. Greek Testament, German Dict., ‘ “Plant Animals” ’ Sainte Bible. ‘ “Rocks” ’ Chaucer. Darwin, or again, ‘ “Fishes” ’, Holy Bible, Wild Animals I Have Known, & Pathology—etc. All sorts you know. I like mixtures. HA! In my bedroom I (p. 52) have inked in life-size silhouettes of various friends. This gives infinite pleasure and merriment. Behind the piano are sacks, empty, and full of paper, and various cooking utensils for camp. Life is very sweet. Who would think of war to hear me talking. And yet I may as well enjoy myself, even in war time.