My last post used a photo of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood as the featured image. It reminded me of Mr. Rogers and how creepy I found him as a child. There was something about a singing man and a red sweater that made me very, very nervous.
However, as an adult I read a lovely book called I’m Proud Of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers by Tim Madigan. I heard Mr. Madigan speak at a conference, loved his style, and read his book. By default, I fell in love with Mr. Rogers.
In honor of that man and the current discussions about the value of PBS, I’d like to take a few minutes to remind us all of Mr. Rogers and his Neighborhood.
The website, mental floss, does this better than I can at this point, so please click on over to read 15 Reasons Why Mr. Rogers Was the Best Neighbor Ever. I guarantee you’ll learn something!
1. Even Koko the Gorilla Loved Him
Most people have heard of Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who could speak about 1000 words in American Sign Language, and understand about 2000 in English. What most people don’t know, however, is that Koko was an avid Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fan. As Esquire reported, when Fred Rogers took a trip out to meet Koko for his show, not only did she immediately wrap her arms around him and embrace him, she did what she’d always seen him do onscreen: she proceeded to take his shoes off!
2. He Made Thieves Think Twice
According to a TV Guide profile, Fred Rogers drove a plain old Impala for years. One day, however, the car was stolen from the street near the TV station. When Rogers filed a police report, the story was picked up by every newspaper, radio and media outlet around town. Amazingly, within 48 hours the car was left in the exact spot where it was taken from, with an apology on the dashboard. It read, “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it.”
3. He Watched His Figure to the Pound
In covering Rogers’ daily routine (waking up at 5; praying for a few hours for all of his friends and family; studying; writing, making calls and reaching out to every fan who took the time to write him; going for a morning swim; getting on a scale; then really starting his day), writer Tom Junod explained that Mr. Rogers weighed in at exactly 143 pounds every day for the last 30 years of his life. He didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, didn’t eat the flesh of any animals, and was extremely disciplined in his daily routine. And while I’m not sure if any of that was because he’d mostly grown up a chubby, single child, Junod points out that Rogers found beauty in the number 143. According to the piece, Rogers came “to see that number as a gift… because, as he says, “the number 143 means ‘I love you.’ It takes one letter to say ‘I’ and four letters to say ‘love’ and three letters to say ‘you.’ One hundred and forty-three.”
There are more points! Read the full text here: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/5943#ixzz28m5LO55d
–brought to you by mental_floss!