Well, according to the calendar, today is the first day of Spring! While the birds are twittering away, the skies do remain rather grey and gloomy and the temp right now is 39. It was said that we should see a high of 53 today, but as it is already 2:20 pm, I think we fell shy! Oh well, at least we can see the brown of the earth with only a small bit of snow.
Today is also shared with the late Fred Rogers. Mister Rogers would have been 87 today. When Fred moved back to Pittsburgh, he worked with WQED to bring about Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The show first aired on February 19, 1968. I remember watching Mister Rogers, mainly when my sister was small. It was a morning program when I was young, so until it moved to the afternoon time slot, I only watched it during summer vacation.
The thing I remember the most is not his friends, human or puppet, the wonderful train or his field trips that we were included in. The thing I remember the most is his sweater. I loved that sweater! There was just something about it. It made him real, like a dad was. He would put that sweater on and, for me, he was a dad. He taught you like a dad would. He told you about scary things, whether it was going to the dentist or going to a new school. He let us know that there were scary, bad things in the world, but you didn't need to be afraid. He taught us how to turn around our fear of things. Mister Rogers made me feel safe when those scary things were talked about or were happening.
I think I was so mesmerized by him because he reminds me so very much of my own dad. My father was very tall and very thin. My father and Mister Rogers had very similar mannerisms. The way they talked, their movements, their dress. Now, I will say that my dad vary rarely wore sneakers, even though he had some. He did wear sweaters. He loved to tell about adventures he had as a boy. He loved children so very much.
Years later, even after I was an adult, I found out a little about that sweater of Mister Rogers. You see, his mother made all of the sweaters he wore. He once showed all of those sweaters to us, all out of the closet they stayed in. He explained that she made those sweaters out of love. Yarn, needles, her own two hands and love. He said every time he put one on, it helped him remember his mother.
There are several videos on Vimeo.com about Mister Rogers sweaters and also Mister Rogers singing, throughout all the years, the opening song. I will say that if you cry at the drop of a pin like I do, have some tissues ready!
I would like to end this by saying I am honored that Mister Fred Rogers allowed me to be his television neighbor for so many years. I miss you so very much. I still smile every time I hear that opening song. Rest well, my neighbor.
Until next time,