Okay, I’d be terribly remiss if I posted something when Chick Hearn died and skipped out on Fred Rogers.
But what can I say that someone else hasn’t said better by now? I grew up with Mister Rogers, just like every kid my age. I particularly loved the Neighborhood Trolley, and when he would feed his fish.
I think the thing that really hits me about it is this: We have a lot of parents out there who depend on television to raise their kids, because they can’t be bothered to do it themselves for whatever reason. And for those kids, Mister Rogers was their advocate, he was the one who explained the Big Shit to them that they should have been getting from their folks. The Neighborhood show aside, when Shit Went Down, when the Challenger went up, when the Persian Gulf War happened, when the WTC came down, Mister Rogers was there to tell the kids what happened, and that it was okay to feel whatever they wanted to feel about it, and that it was okay and maybe even a good idea to tell their parents how they felt.
And now he’s not here anymore. And the timing couldn’t be worse (like death is EVER well-timed, especially for a man as great as Fred Rogers), since we’re about to go to war again, we have a whole new batch of 4- and 5-year olds who don’t know what to make of it.
I don’t have any kids myself. Still a little unsure if I want ’em. But I tell you this: if someone reading this has a son or daughter, and from reading this, says to themselves “Hmm. Maybe I better sit down with my kid and see how they feel about things,” then I think I have remembered Fred Rogers in the way he would want me to have, and I think he would be proud to know that he helped me grow up into the man I am today.
Upon hearing the news this morning, on a local BBS I Telnet into, Slumberland, I remembered Fred Rogers thusly:
“Nobody but NOBODY can say that man did not live a worthwhile life, and make a positive impact on the world. And when you get down to it, that’s all we really wanna do.”
Rest well, Mister Rogers. The Land of Make-Believe is in capable hands. You should know, you put it there.