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Meow Meow Mr. Rogers for President Meow

Dear Kay,
Remember that tender moment at the Smithsonian last year, when we gazed upon the cardigan of Mr. Rogers?
A few months ago, I was knocked out by the following clip–it’s 1969, and Mr. Rogers is in the lion’s den, testifying before the Senate in an attempt to preserve funding for PBS. I filed it away to show you on Mr. Rogers’ birthday. He would have been 79 today; he moved on to the Neighborhood of Make Believe four years ago.

Boohooing my way through a YouTube clip! As my favorite Mr. Rogers puppet, Henrietta Pussycat, would say: Meow meow happy birthday, Mr. Rogers meow! Meow meow what a guy meow.
Love,
Ann

51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Thanks, Ann for sharing the awesome video of Fred Rogers. He was my hero. I heard him speak at one of my early childhood conferences about 10 years ago and he was just sooooo inspiring!

  2. Mr. Rogers was very nearly my neighbor for real. I lived in the neighborhood next to his in Pittsburgh – was living there when he passed away. I still get sad when I think about it.
    My ex didn’t like him – a trait I should have taken as a warning.

  3. I didn’t expect to get choked up at that, but I did. Thanks for sharing that video!

  4. That was wonderful. Thank you for sharing. Both my husband and I loved Mr. Rogers, but he meant more to my husband as he grew up in Pittsburgh and always felt an affinity to him.
    What a wonderful way to start the day.

  5. yes, mr. rogers for our leader. lovely idea…wonderful, gentle man, too grounded for our puffed up times. somewhere i still have the lovely letter he wrote me–back in the days of real, typed responses–about a children’s book i’d hoped to publish.
    another sigh. thanks for the memory.

  6. I always loved Mr. Rogers… he likes me just the way I am!
    Thank you, Ann! You’re right about boohooing… I got a little verklempt at the end there.
    Sigh.

  7. thank you for posting that clip. it was wonderful to hear his voice once again, and to hear the whole thing about feelings made me feel 5 years old again. it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, eh?

  8. i have always loved mr rogers.

  9. What a great man. A humble, loving, kind, man of thoughtful action, great man! I never really watched Mr. Rogers much until I had small children, and the show even engages me. I’m amazed by what a soft-spoken yet persistent and assertive man like him was able to accomplish. I wish we had more role models like him.

  10. De-lurking because I LOVE Mr. Rogers. When I was a wee little thing many moons ago (at the tender age of 3 or 4) if you asked me who my boyfriend was, I’d say with no hesitation… “Mr. Rogers”. From that day on he has always been my boyfried. Losing your first love is never easy, and I still feel the void.
    Happy Meow Meow, Mr. Rogers!

  11. Meow meow thank you for making it meow a beautiful day in the neighborhood meow meow.

  12. I have adored Mr. Rogers since I was a small child, and was thrilled when I was old enough to understand that he lived in my hometown. We have friends who bought the house across the street from his two years ago, and there was something wonderful about looking at that house, and knowing that someone really, truly special lived there.
    Thank you for making me think of him once again. My childhood would not have been the same without Mr. Rogers and his gentle soul.

  13. Mr. Rogers!
    My mom grew up near Pittsburgh. He used to come into the bakery where she and her sister worked. She says he was every bit as nice in person as he was on TV.

  14. Thank you for posting this.
    I miss Mr. Rogers. I wonder if there is a way to get copies of his shows so that we can show them to today’s children.
    I’ll have to look into that for my own family.

  15. Mr. Rogers truly fulfilled the definition of hero. I bet he could have achieved peace in the middle east, and Africa, and Bosnia, and all places where people are fighting, if their leaders had been made to sit and talk together with him. Sounds like hyperbole, but I wonder . . .
    Thanks for sharing the clip.

  16. Mr. Rogers was such a gentle soul and such a great advocate for children. Thank you for sharing this. The world needs more Mr. Rogers and less of….well, you know.

  17. While in college, I lived just around the corner from WQED in Pittsburgh, where Mr. Rogers taped his show. He used to rent out an apartment in my building for guests (and maybe his office?) so I used to see him in the building on occasion. What a nice guy! He even helped some of the college kids carry boxes on moving day.
    The world is a much better place because of him, and much sadder without him.

  18. Years ago, I ran into Mr. Rogers on the beach in Nantucket. Just one of those random, beach combing/wandering walks on a beautiful day. I didn’t realize who it was until I made it back to my friend’s house and told him that I ran into his neighbor on the beach and that we had shared a lovely walk out to Esther’s Island.
    I’m amazed at the impact he has had on generations.

  19. Another de-lurker – Thank you so much for posting that clip! Mr. Rogers was such an important part of my childhood. Just hearing him say “I like you the way you are” made me tear up. Meow meow thank you Ann!

  20. There is just no one like Mr. Rogers. If he was disturbed by what children were seeing on TV in the 60’s what must he have thought of the 90’s-00’s? I wonder who will advocate now for quality children’s programming? I’m sure what quality kids shows are out there now are there because people like Mr. Rogers paved the road. What an amazing man.

  21. I LOVED Mr. Rogers!!! I (and then my kids) grew up on that guy.

  22. Mr. Rogers was my very favorite show growing up, gentle and kind and quiet. Never being one for loud noises and frenetic activity, his manner suited mine perfectly. I completely lost it when he passed on; it was almost as if I had lost my dad all over again. Thank you for posting that clip. Though bittersweet, it was lovely seeing him again.

  23. Thank you for posting this. Not only did I watch Mr. Rogers as a child, but I now watch with my children, and they adore the show. He seems to have been as gentle in person as he is on the show. It’s fascinating to hear his thoughts behind the show, and to look back nearly 40 years later and recognize his impact. Can you imagine if he didn’t get the funding?!

  24. Oh, Mr. Rogers is the best! I know some kids (and adults) who could use a dose of him right now. His voice is just so soothing, not to mention the messages he speaks.
    *sniff* The world needs more Mr. Rogers.

  25. thanks for remembering mr. rogers. i watch his show with my little one every day – it’s one of the few tv shows i allow him to watch.
    my third grade teacher used to work for him way back when, and i used to think it was so cool to tell people that she knew him. it’s fun to say “i’m two degrees separated from mr. rogers!”

  26. my apologies for the double post, but i was just reminded of a recently aired episode where mr. rogers talked about his mother knitting his sweaters, and then betty aberlin showed the neighbors of make believe how she knitted a sweater. bless mr. rogers for introducing knitting to kids!

  27. I can’t watch the clip now since I’m at work, but I will once I get home tonight.
    Such a wonderful man.

  28. Meow meow just looked at other clips on YouTube with Mr. Rogers meow.
    Great post meow.

  29. *sniff* Awww. My mom hated Mr. Rogers. ha But I loved him. I knew/know all the songs and the ongoing stories of the Neighborhood of Makebelieve. *sigh* I didn’t expect to get all sniffy and teary watching that clip. Thanks for showing it. It seems that he died young.
    I tried to get my husband to name our last daughter Henrietta (yes, after Miss Pussycat) but he just wouldn’t go for it. Of course I would have been saying “Meow meow meowmeow dinnertime?” and things like that for the rest of my life so it’s probably better that we didn’t.

  30. *sniff* Thanks for that.

  31. That was so beautiful! I had never seen Mr. Rogers that way before. I see now (as cartoon network is often on in my house) what a huge difference his neighborhood must have been. And Sesame Street too.
    And yes, I did cry a little. But so did the senator!
    thanks for saving and sharing. That was some good YouTube Stash!

  32. What a dear man. I don’t recall watching the show very often as a child, but now, sometimes I’ll catch a quick glimpse and I stop flipping through the channels every time. I’m transfixed by the gentle voice and the obvious concern he had for the small people who comprised his audience. It was during one of these pit stops that I watched him make a toy from a milk carton, because, he said, parents can’t always afford to buy us the toys we want. Since then, I have been been an ardent fan, in appreciation for his desire to care for ALL children.

  33. thank you for sharing this. as a native pittsburgher i always felt like my neighborhood really WAS mr roger’s neighborhood :)
    thanks!

  34. Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood really was our neighborhood. It made for a bit of difficulty in explaining that TV wasn’t real to my boys, though. I mean, Mr. Rogers went to Joe Negri’s music store and it looked just like the music store my 7 year old went to for music lessons (the owner is the clerk at ‘Mr. Negri’s Store’). Mr. Rogers went to a martial arts class and the instructor was my son’s Judo instructor…Add to that the occasional sighting of Fred Rogers while out and about. (And for the record, if you were speaking to him as an adult you kinda had to call him “Fred”, “Mr. Rogers” was just kinda weird, but he was pretty cool about it anyways.)

  35. Thank you so much for posting this. I grew up watching Mr. Rogers. This brings back great memories.

  36. Fred Rogers is a true American hero in the best sense: dedicated to building a better society without caving to personal interest, public pressure, or easy, short-term solutions. I wish I’d knit him a scarf!

  37. Gone too soon. He actually hand wrote responses to letters my daughters sent him. We kept our eyes peeled when in Nantucket but never did see him in person. He came through the TV so warmly that children would actually talk back to the screen.

  38. *shiver.* the magic of technology transports me back in time, to when the media as a whole seemed to be kinder, and gentler. what would mr. rogers have thought of grocery carts with televisions in ‘em, i wonder? ‘neighborhood expressions of care.’ and ‘men working out their feelings of anger together.’ oh, boy. yes. i didn’t watch mr. rogers (we had mr. dress-up), but his exact words and gentle, careful speech go directly to my heart (and gave that senator goosebumps, didn’t he?)! i like him. i like him a lot. thx ann!

  39. Thank you! It is important for us who appreciate Mr. Rogers’ work and life to continue what he so wonderfully began: quality, simple respect for children. Mr. Rogers will always have such a special place in American and Canadian hearts! When things are crazy we should hear his voice and try to use a similar one! When we are confused, remember the clarity of simplicity as Mr. R. would! We are so lucky to have “known” him. DVDs and VHS tapes of his program are available, and it is still shown on many local PBS stations.

  40. I remember hearing a lovely story about Mr. Rogers going to a college graduation to speak, but when he came on stage, before he could begin, the whole class spontaneously began to sing, “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”. He had touched them all. Thanks for the clip.

  41. AuntieAnn, I think that happened at my alma mater, Chatham College, where Fred Rogers spoke at commencement the year before he passed away. (Alas, I was not among the graduates in the class, having graduated many, many years previously.)
    Heaven help me for following up such a beautiful anecdote with such a salty one, but my favorite story about Mr. Rogers was from one of the last interviews he gave, when he and the journalist interviewing him were in New York together. (Because he came to New York frequently for meetings at Channel 13, he kept an apartment in the city.) As he and the journalist were riding the escalator up out of Penn Station onto 7th Avenue, a guy who was standing in front of them heard Mr. Rogers’ voice, turned around, and exclaimed, “Holy s**t! It’s Mister F***ing Rogers!”
    Now, just reading this horrified me, picturing this gentle soul greeted thusly. Had I been the journalist, I would have emitted a painful shriek and then possibly struck the offender with my handbag, a la Ruth Buzzi on Laugh-In. But Mr. Rogers was both a gentle soul and a man of the world; he knew that the default manner of expression in New York might be a bit saltier than he’d choose to use, but he recognized the real heartfelt joy behind the words, and he treated the stranger on the escalator with all the gentleness and openness and good humor that he displayed every day of his life. He didn’t take him to task for his language. He just chatted with him, laughed with him, thanked him for his kindness, and, I’ll just bet, let him know that he made every day special, just by being himself. Sigh.
    And yes, I was all sniffly at the end of the YouTube video, too. Thanks for sharing this, Ann. :)

  42. Oh, thank you! We lived in a town in West Virgina not far from Pittsburgh and I grew up watching Mr. Rogers on WQED. I remember catching the show by chance much later, in my 20s, and tearing up just watching this kind, gentle man and those wonderful puppets. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  43. Dear Ann, thanks so much for the video. I miss him and Henrietta and Daniel and King Friday and Prince Tuesday and Lady Aberlin and even Lady Elaine. I was sad when I realized Mr. Rogers did not hold the attention of my children. They are desensitized by flashy ‘cartoon bombardment.’ Children today need the kind reassurance of Fred Rogers as much and maybe even more than I did. What a loss his death was. On the clip it was amazing to watch that senator change from a politician to a human being, all from the quiet energy and dignity of Mr. Rogers’ message. Thanks again Ann.

  44. Not until I had Julia did I really get to know Mr. R. Thank goodness for her and for him – this world will always be a special place. Long live his words, memories, and zippered sweaters.

  45. Aww… Mr. Rogers can still make me cry. I love that he went to Congress and talked to them just like he talked to children–and that they responded to it in the same way.

  46. Ann, thanks again for this post. When I met you at the funeral today ( I like to keep my personal online self anonymous for business reasons, but now you know if you see this made up name, it’s that person who brought up your blog in possibly the last place you’d imagine it coming up) I told you how much it meant to me to see this clip during this particular week, but then it hit me that I hadn’t commented as such here on the blog, and that I should have.
    So, again, thanks. Mr. Rogers was an absolute hero of mine and I really love that he’s still on the air here in Nashville in reruns so my kids (5 and 7) can benefit from him, too.

  47. Thanks, Ann.
    I feel proud that Dean and I were married by Mr. Rogers’ college roommate (Rev. Bill Barker)–and the voice one of the characters, Dr. Duckbill Platypus. I will never forget the look on Andrew’s face when we were watching the show and Bill’s puppet came on and we explained that he had been the minister at our wedding. Andrew looked as me with a confused look and started to laugh. To this day, I think he imagines a six-inch platypus puppet was our minister.
    Thanks.

  48. Thanks for the memories… I miss Mr. Rodgers and the hope that he represents. I hope his show is still running when I have kids.

  49. I grew up in Pittsburgh and always loved Mr. Rogers. I know I’m late to the party, but thanks so much for posting this clip.
    I still remember after a Performing Arts for Children event I was waiting for my dad (who was on the board). I was probably 6 or 8 years old. Dad was talking and talking to this man while I (tried to) entertain myself. When they finished talking, I asked who that man was. Dad said I had to PROMISE to not tell ANYONE … I did … then he said “that was Mr. McFeely from Mr. Rogers”. I freaked b/c he WASN’T OLD. Dad then explained that was why I couldn’t tell anyone! Probably my biggest childhood trauma! ;-)
    What a great show. What a great man. I wasn’t born when the clip was recorded, so what really blew me away was that the senator had never heard of Mr. Rogers or his neighborhood. Thanks again for posting the clip! :)

  50. You know, I never appreciated him much as a 4 YO… but loved him as an adult and now a parent. He was the commencement speaker at my husband’s graduation from grad school (lucky stiff) in 1999 and it made me love him (Mr. Rogers) even more, what a guy!

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