Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cardigan or Crewneck, I don't care - put it on

I'm on Long Island looking after my father, but he's asleep and hey, the computer is in my room. And I can only play Medal of Honor so many times. (You'll note its the middle of the afternoon, but it's naptime).

March 20 would have been Fred Rogers 80th birthday. To honor him and his memory, Mr. McFeely has a special request (see most of the press release below) as part of what is being referred to as "Won't You Be My Neighbor Days." And really, if you have to ask who those people are in the preceding sentences, shame, shame on you.

Mr. Rogers was always there for me. I was all about the Land of Make Believe. I may have even had a thing for Lady Aberlin. So please, on Wednesday, wear your favorite sweater. It doesn't even have to zip up in the front.
(Pittsburgh) – In honor of what would have been Mister Rogers’ 80th birthday on March 20, Mr. McFeely — aka David Newell, the public relations director for Family Communications, Inc. (the nonprofit company founded in 1971 by Fred Rogers) — has a special request.

"We’re asking everyone everywhere — from Pittsburgh to Paris — to wear their favorite sweater on that day," he asks in his best speedy delivery voice. "It doesn’t have to have a zipper down the front like the one Mister Rogers wore on the program, it just has to be special to you."

But wait, there’s more.

It just so happens that Sweater Day is part of Pittsburgh’s 250th anniversary celebration and the first-ever "Won’t You Be My Neighbor?" Days (March 15 — 20).

"We wanted to recognize Fred in a way that would reflect his deep appreciation of what it means to be a caring neighbor," explains FCI’s Margy Whitmer.

As a result, "’Won’t You Be My Neighbor?" Days — WYBMND for short, although not by much — was born as a means of promoting neighborliness throughout Fred Rogers’ own backyard — Southwestern Pennsylvania region.

Throughout WYBMND, more than 30 organizations ranging from libraries (Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh and others throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania), to museums (The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, the Senator John Heinz History Center and The Carnegies) to other venues (The New Hazlett Theater, The Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Zoo and the PPG Aquarium, the National Aviary and Gilda’s Club Western Pennsylvania) have signed up to participate. Highlights of the celebration also include performances by musicians including members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

I miss Mr. Rogers. It makes me sad that my kids will never know him.

5 comments:

Amy said...

My local PBS affiliate airs the shows on a regular basis . . . I caught one the other day.

I think I watched it growing up, although I don't specifically remember doing so. I know that my mom would let me watch Sesame Street, so I probably got to watch Fred as well. She says now that she always tried to limit how much tv I (and my sister) watched when we were growing up . . . Must be why I overcompensate by watching so much now as a (chronologically speaking, anyway) adult.

My point: I think he'll still be on the air as your kids get older.

Lana Gramlich said...

Gads...we're already into A/C weather here, so I'm afraid a sweater isn't going to happen. I'll look at some sweaters, however. Maybe I'll ask some people to be my neighbor (the strange looks will be interesting, anyway!)
Hope your dad's doing well.

Mary Witzl said...

I never much admired Mr Rogers until I became a mother. He wrote a short column for one of the children's magazines we subscribed to, and I happened to read one on how to get a stubborn child to obey you in a difficult situation. I remembered thinking 'Oh, sure,' but the next time my four-year-old balked when crossing the road, I gave it a try, telling her gently that she could really help me by cooperating. I swear, I never expected it to work, but it was like magic. To this day, I haven't forgotten that Mr Rogers helped me get my kid safely across a road.

Brave Astronaut said...

Amy - This is good news. And really, with the joy of TiVo, there are ways to find things for them to watch.

Lana - maybe a sweater vest?

Mary - Fred is/was a genius. And grossly underrated.

prickly girl said...

Mr. Rogers was (and still is) my favorite. We have several of his records (and yes, we listen to records) and play them every few months. Things one and two are also big fans...
I think I'll go listen to Mr. Rogers right now.