“When things aren’t going well, I always say to myself, ‘You can do better’.” Here the speaker is the writer of The Cat in the Hat. He was an American cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, screenwriter,
filmmaker and children’s author. He was Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss. The man could easily make children believe and fall in love with the characters he created in his stories. Children fantasized about the world of the stories and wished to play with the weird, imaginary characters there. As they would cherish these experiences for the rest of the lives, Dr. Seuss’ creations would get long lives.
Childhood and Parents
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on 2nd March 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S to Theodor Robert Geisel and Henrietta (née Seuss). He had a sister named Marine. His nickname was Ted. Ted’s grandfather was a German brewer but his father could not take over the family business because brewery was prohibited in America at that time. So his father took a job at a local zoo. Robert Geisel used to bring his children to the zoo where the little boy spent his time drawing the animals in his sketch pad. Later he depicted these animal models in his books. On the other hand, Ted’s mother allowed her son to turn the walls of the attic into his canvases where he could freely express and give wings to his imagination. She used to sing funny lullabies for her children. Those rhythmic songs consisted of the names of different fruits, foods, etc. Theodor’s father also had a great sense of humor. Dr. Seuss later admitted that his parents especially his mother planted in him the love for rhyme and rhythm.
Henrietta could not complete her studies; she wanted her children to fulfill her dream of having degrees of higher education. She always encouraged Ted. At school, Ted’s teacher predicted that he would never be able to learn the art of drawing properly. But later he became a successful cartoonist and illustrator with his unique style.
Theodor Seuss Geisel graduated from Dartmouth college with philology. When he was a student there, he was caught drinking gin which was against the college rules. Though Theodor was not expelled from the institution, he lost his position as an editor in the college humor magazine, Jack-o-Lantern. This incident forced him to adopt the pseudonym “Dr. Seuss”; under this name, he continued his writing. Seuss was the middle name of Theodor’s mother. But he was not a real doctor.
Some critics say that he took the title ‘Dr.’ because his father wanted him to be one. According to Dr. Seuss, the educational institutions turned the students away from art and culture. Then he went to Oxford University to study English literature but he used to make sketches in his notebooks instead of taking notes. He wrote in his diary that university life was a meaningless pastime for him.
Marriage and Children
Theodor Geisel fell in love with Helen Palmer. Helen was a co-author and friend of him. Dr. Seuss married her and moved to the U.S in the year 1927. He had no children of his own but knew how to treat the minds of children with delicacy and kindness.
That can be understood by reading his books too. He said, “I love children as much as I love adults.” Age was not a barrier to communication. On 23rd October 1967 Helen, a cancer patient at that time, committed suicide as she came to know about her husband’s affair with Andrey Stone Diamond, a film producer. Theodor married Diamond on 21st June 1968 and became a stepfather to two daughters of her.