Cultivating Pippi Longstocking

Neil Martinson

One warm spring afternoon in 1990 I was walking across the Williamsburg Bridge on my way to Manhattan, as I’d done countless times during my years in Brooklyn. A recent, tumultuous breakup was still fresh in my mind, but I was beginning to feel somewhat liberated, enjoying the freedom of finally living alone, and learning to have fun again. The bridge scene from Pippi On The Run flashed into my mind, and in a split second I knew what I had to do. In this movie, the heroine Pippi Longstocking’s indomitable approach to life achieves its peak expression, centering around her ability to achieve anything she wants, often by refusing to accept the impossible. The scene in my mind has Pippi and her two friends Tommy and Annika looking down from a bridge at a steam-engine train chugging along the tracks below. Pippi suggests all three of them jump off the bridge onto the roof of the moving train. Uptight Annika begs her not to do it, bu...
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