Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"

I know I watch a lot of TV these days. And I'm sure by how often I mention a show, you can tell how much I like it. But today I'm going to take a trip down memory lane and talk about my first favorite TV show.

Growing up, I loved Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood in a way I never loved any other kid's show. There was something about the kind, gentle man that really appealed to me. That and the neighborhood of makebelieve. Those segments were always my favorites. The puppets and human interaction was so cool in my book.

Not that I didn't love the rest of the show. I still remember the show where we learned how crayons were made. For the next month, I daydreamed that I owned a crayon making factory. I also remember getting to see lots of musicians and some fun instruments at the music store.

Then there were the operas. I don't remember much about them now, but I remember loving them at the time. They had just the right kind of music for kids. I do remember most of the events of the "Bubbleland Opera." Heck, I could probably sing parts of it if I set my mind to it.

My brother is seven years younger then I am, so I got to watch Mr. Rogers twice. Maybe it was because I didn't watch much else growing up, but I still loved watching the show as a pre-teen. And I was as upset as my brother was if we had to miss a day.

While I don't regularly watch it now, I did tune in when his last week of episodes was announced. I'm not sure what I expected, but the show didn't leave with a big push of some kind. It ended with the same quiet joy that had infected the series. Yet, it gave me a lump in my throut knowing there would be no more episodes. And his death a few years later hit me hard.

So why am I posting about this today? Two reasons. One, I just found out about Watercooler Wednesday, a weekly chance to talk about arts and culture. It sounds like fun and I plan to regularly contribute. However, tomorrow has also been declared Wear a Sweater Day in honor of what would have been Mr. Rogers 80th birthday. Believe me, if I had a sweater, I would wear it tomorrow. But since I don't, I am writing this tribute today.

If you love Mr. Rogers, I encourage you to wear a sweater in his honor tomorrow. I will in spirit even if I can't really.


Audra Krell said...

I love this post! Mr. Rogers was my favorite. In our TV line-up he was on between Sesame Street and The Electric Company. My mom said when I was really little I said the muppets were too violent on Sesame Street, but Mr. Rogers always calmed me down. I was devasted when he passed away. Thanks for passing on his 80th birthday information!

Mark said...

The muppets on Sesame Street scared me. But the puppets on Mr. Rogers were wonderful.