Thursday, April 23, 2015

I Didn't Fall in Love With Gilbert Blythe

I don't usually grieve the passing of a celebrity. It's sad when anybody dies, but if I didn't have a relationship with the person, there's no personal sorrow. However, when I heard Jonathan Crombie died, there were tears. Because I was once a middle school girl in love. The thing is, I didn't fall in love with Gilbert Blythe.

I fell in love with Jonathan's Gilbert Blythe.

photo from

He brought to life my first fictional love, even before Colin Firth introduced me to Mr. Darcy. My sister and I bonded over our mutual love of Jonathan's Gilbert. I spent many hours of my life watching and re-watching the Anne of Green Gables saga. When I was young, Prince Edward Island seemed as far-off and magical to me as Hogwarts does to my son. Jonathan led me to the pages (all the pages) of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne books. I remember borrowing each book one-by-one from my neighbor, and then moving onto the Emily books after that.

All the Anne books. I loved each one. So many amazing literary memories.

Lucy Maud Montgomery created Gilbert Blythe, and while he's swoon worthy in print, it was Jonathan Crombie who brought him to life for so many. I believe every girl who fell for Jonathan's Gilbert felt as though she was Anne herself. We unabashedly yearned for puffy sleeves and gabled houses and wide porches and Marilla's kitchen. The image of Jonathan's Gilbert brings to mind more than a love story but everything else Avonlea and Green Gables--sleigh rides in the wintertime, grieving Matthew's passing, standing up to Rachel Lynde, the White Way of Delight. The memories might as well be our own.

There isn't much about Jonathan Crombie's personal life on the Internet, but I'm very, very sorry that he died so young. He who masterfully introduced us to Gilbert Blythe.

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