Thursday, March 20, 2008

Won't You Be My Neighbour

From the minute he opened up his door, put on that red, zip-up sweater and 'inside shoes' to when the trolley took you into the land of Make Believe, to the never-changing goodbye routine, Mr Rogers was one of my favourite TV characters. Only he wasn't a character. Sure, maybe he didn't wear the sweaters in real life (or maybe he did?), but he was the same warm, welcoming, caring man in real life, too.

I'd love every moment of that show. I still remember the house - the little mezzanine he came in on, the closet, the bench, the traffic light as you'd go into the kitchen with the blue shelves and table. Mr Rogers would take us on little field trips around the neighbourhood and introduce us to all his friends. Mr. McFeely was a regular, and one of my favourites. "Speedy delivery!" And then of course there was the trolley into the Neighbourhood of Make Believe... Do you remember the puppets? King Friday, Queen Saturday, Prince Tuesday? What about Henrietta Pussycat, Daniel Striped Tiger, or Bob Dog? Lady Elaine Fairchild? X the Owl?

The show holds so much nostalgia for me. I'm only 29, and yet it seems a throwback to a simpler time. I guess that would just be the time of childhood, but I think it's more than that. Kids shows are so different now. Fast, animated (don't get me wrong, I love cartoons), with weird dancing creatures from who knows what kind of planet. Some just reflect a change in times, a change in technology, but still, all those old shows - Mr Rogers, Mr Dressup, Sesame Street, Fred Penner's Place... they were somehow different. Educational. Caring. Not marketed to death.

I was so sad when I heard that Mr Rogers had passed away. That was five years ago - wow, time flies. Today, March 20, would have been his 80th birthday, and Mr McFeely is calling on everyone to wear their favourite sweater in honour of his birthday. Don't have a favourite zip-up cardigan? Then just make an extra effort to do something neighbourly today.

After all, it's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood.

Click here for a touching tribute.


Katrina said...

I will definitely participate in Sweater Day. Mr. Rogers, you are missed!

The Shan said...

I loved him too. Such a kind non-sarcastic and sweet fellow. My brother did all the moves with him, the sweater and the shoe changes. I find myself doing that in the winter time and think of Fred. I always take off my presentable jacket and shoes when I get inside and don my good ole house shoes and oversized warm-up jacket for comfys. teehee

Homsar said...

Ah the memories. Good times. Had I a sweater I would have participated.