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28 February 2003

We've lost another beloved television icon. The airwaves today have all been full of the news that MisterRogers lost his battle with stomach cancer at age 73.

I suspect nobody reading this journal ever met Fred Rogers and yet we all "knew" him. We visited his house every day. We sat in comfy chairs and chatted with him--and you knew he listened because he always understood. He knew what we were feeling, what we were scared about. It didn't matter if we were 3 or 30, he talked to us.

When he retired in September of 2001, I  wrote a tribute talking of my memories of watching our kids grow up in MisterRogers' neighborhood. In the fast paced, high tech, special effects television world, he was an island of calm, and I loved inviting him into my own neighborhood.

Besides, who else could write a song that went like this:

tree tree tree
tree tree tree
tree tree tree
tree tree tree

Why can't I write lyrics like that? smileysm.gif (909 bytes)

It's funny how some of these guys become so much a part of your life that you are moved to tears at their loss, whether you ever met them or not.

It took me a whole week to recover from Jim Henson's sudden, unexpected death. I don't know why it hit me so hard. Maybe it was thinking of Kermit without a voice (his son has taken over; it's not the same). In fact, Kermit still sits in our living room wearing a black arm band.

I didn't cry when Charles Schulz died, but there was still a period of mourning for a man who had created characters who were so much a part of our lives. There are touches of Peanuts, still, all over this house.

Unlike Fred Rogers, Charles Schulz had been a part of my life since my own childhood. I still remember sitting up in bed on a Sunday morning, reading the comics, convulsed with laughter at the antics of Snoopy and Lucy.

You didn't get a lot of belly laughs with Fred Rogers, but he told you that you were special. And I think he made kids believe it.  He told us the world was safe.   And we all believed it.

In his later years, I saw him in interview with people like, for example, Katie Couric and was amused to discover that he spoke with her in the same calm, measured tones that he used with the children on his television show. It wasn't an act. I suspect that Fred Rogers was always as he appeared in public. I'd like to think so.

I just saw a report on his death, with Fred Rogers himself saying, "I could say lots of words, but what matters is if I've made a difference to my neighbor."

He made an indellible mark on the lives of millions of children. He assured them that everything was going to be all right, even when it was pretty scary out.

When I watch our president talk about the upcoming war, I wish I had Fred Rogers around to tell me that it's gonna be all right.

Sleep well, MisterRogers. Ya done good.

wpe23C.jpg (3339 bytes)Thanks for your nomination of Funny the World for a Legacy award, of all things. You can find all the nominees here.

Congratulations to all the other nominees--especially my buddies Haggie and Marn. If you have a journal, support the community and be sure to vote.

Quote of the Day

If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.

~ Fred Rogers

Today's Photo

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One Year Ago
Addicts vs. "Civilians"
Civilians don't spend their time calculating how many of something they can have. Civilians sit back, enjoy the visit, and may take one or two of whatever is being offered. They don't let it become their whole focus, as I found it became mine.

Two Years Ago
How the Other Half Lives
It’s not so bad being Steve’s chauffeur, if you ignore the snoring and the smartass comments.

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Pounds Lost:  73.8
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

On the Odometer

URL Total 741.6
Blue Angel Total 704.2
2003 YTD Cumulative:  217.8

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