I share my birthday, March 20th, with some pretty awesome people. I am endeavoring to profile one of my birthday buddies each year here on the old blog. This year I will profile my neighbor and yours- Mr. Rogers.
Fred Rogers was not only just the beloved host of a classic children's show, but also a Presbyterian minister, a songwriter and an outspoken advocate for education. I was just a small boy when I was introduced to Mr. Rogers, but I was hooked from the first time I saw him put on that famous sweater. I even had a sweater of my own that my Grandma made for me, and let me tell you- I wore it a lot.
Unlike some of the other frantic, in-your-face kid's shows, Mr. Rogers crafted his to be a calm, earnest and engaging program that made every child who watched it feel comforted and respected. Many joked that he was cheesy, but I always found the way he spoke to be sincere and caring. I always felt a closeness to him, and like he was talking to me and me alone. It was this closeness that made me want to write him a birthday card when I found out that we shared a birthday. It was very exciting when I received a letter from him (complete with signature) thanking me for the card and wishing me a happy birthday.
I now return the favor, and say that without Mr. Rogers my childhood would have had a large void. As an only child I had some lonely times, and thanks to Mr. Rogers, I was able to have a good friend at hand who liked me for who I was, and taught me valuable lessons along the way.
Thanks, Fred and Happy Birthday.