Quoted from “The Writers’ Almanac with Garrison Keillor,” today, March 20, 2015:
“…it’s the birthday of beloved children’s television host Fred Rogers, born in 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
“In 1962, Rogers earned a divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and he was ordained by the Presbyterian Church. Rogers continued his work in television, appearing on camera for the first time in 1963 on his new show, Misterogers, which was aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This show would evolve into Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which was seen nationally for the first time in 1968.
“The show, which began with Rogers singing “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and changing into sneakers and a cardigan, would go on to become the longest-running show on PBS. The program featured themes like feeling good about yourself, getting along with others, and handling fears. Rogers wrote more than 200 songs for the show. The last episode was taped in December 2000.”
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My happiest, most grateful memory of Mr. Rogers happened during the winter of 1977, in Buffalo, NY, with my daughter, age 3, and baby boy only 1 month old. After the big blizzard, January 1977, the snow continued to fall daily, for another 30+ days. Each morning, my husband shoveled the driveway to be able to go to work. Each afternoon, I had to shovel it again so he could drive into the garage. How does one do that with two babies? Mr. Rogers! Every afternoon when Greg had his nap, I put on a Mr. Rogers record for Karin to listen to. She stood at the front door with door open but the glass storm door closed. From a side door leading to the garage one could see the back half of the driveway, but a snowdrift covered that door! Once I had finished the front half of the driveway and went beyond the corner of the house, she could no longer see me. If Greg awoke or the phone rang, she had to open the storm door to call me. She stood there day after day doing her duty to help — Mommy’s perfect sentinel, even when out of her sight. All made possible because of Mr. Rogers’ hypnotic voice and manner which held my angel’s attention.