mister rogers

I wish I’d met Fred Rogers.

As a very young child, I sat with my grandmother on the couch watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Every day. I can still see the couch and the living room it was in and the t.v. strategically placed.

It was the only time I remember feeling safe.

Mister Rogers died on February 27, 2003. Two years to the day after my brother died. Mister Rogers was 74 years old. I wept that day. Profusely. I felt as if one of the only people in my life who had kept me safe was gone. I felt as if a huge chunk of the kindess in this world had disappeared. To say I was heartbroken would be putting it mildly.

Yesterday my daughter and I went to the bookstore. It is one of our very favorite places to be. We could spend hours upon hours there and be completely content. It is a very peaceful spot for both of us.

As I wandered past one of the display tables, a title caught my attention. I’m Proud Of You is something I say to my children every day so I had to look. The subtitle (My Friendship with Fred Rogers) was enough to ensure that I would be taking the book home with me.

I began reading and on every page is a reminder of how special Mister Rogers is/was, to the author, to myself and I’m sure to many, many others. I have a letter I was blessed to receive from Fred Rogers several years ago. It is one of my treasures. His kind spirit and loving heart shows through in every line.

I must admit I was stunned to receive it. I’d written him a note weeks before explaining the affect he’d had on my life and that I was reminded of that fact daily in how I related to and raised my children. It was close to Teacher Appreciation Day and I do, to this day, count him as one of my most cherished teachers.

Reading Tim Madigan’s book this weekend has been a gift. A blessing of amazing proportions. I still wish I’d met Fred Rogers.

Sometimes I feel as if I did.



13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by The Boston Pobble on Sunday, September 17, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    For a long time after my dad died, I slept with the television on to keep me company when I would, inevitably, wake up in the middle of the night. One night, I woke up to see what appeared to be a news report on Fred Rogers. I started to cry, thinking he was dead. As it turns out, it was only a retrospective due to an anniversary of something. But the thought that Mr. Rogers was no longer in the world so soon after my dad had died was Just One Thing Too Many. It was like “Okay, I have to live in a world without my daddy, at least give me Mr Rogers, already!” So I understand.

    Think I’ll go buy a book…


  2. He was a centerpiece in my life as well. A soft, gentle and kind soul. It sounds like it was extremely hard to move through those losses, with the timing of them and all. What a cherished memento you received from him. I bet your letter touched his heart and he reached out to do the same with you.

    So special.


  3. Traci, it sounds to me as if you met with him on a spiritual level. Much more profound than a handshake.


  4. I think Mr. Rogers had an effect on more children/people than we can fathom. His gentle kindness drew children to him like a magnet, and their mothers (myself) were grateful for the lessons learned and the kindness in them. I’m glad that you have those memories. Having such a hero is a blessing.


  5. Mr. Rogers to me represented the ultimate in kindness.
    I was so sad when he passed and am so glad I watched his show. My kids never really got in to him..I read a bio on him recently and didn’t realize all that his life entailed. A remarkable man, a one of a kind heart.


  6. hey traci. you have been missed. new spaces, new faces, please be one of the comforting familiar. you have been missed.


  7. Posted by Annie Thomas-Burke on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Oh I loved him too.
    He was important in our home as well.
    Thanks for bringing such wonderful memories to me today.

    Miss you.


  8. His memory is one to be cherished.. I’m sure you’ll enjoy that book again and again..




  9. Oh, how I love Mister Rogers and how deliberate and intentional, each action, each word. Thank you for the gift of Mister Rogers this morning.

    Loving you,


  10. Posted by scribbleandscribe on Saturday, September 23, 2006 at 9:04 pm

    You have met him in your own way.
    Great post.


  11. This is a beautiful post, Traci. I’m so glad you have that letter from him. Many of us have people “out there” who are touchstones, confirmation that the small world we’re trapped in as children is not all there is.


  12. It certainly is a beautiful post, Traci! I adored Mr. Rogers as a child, and thrilled to watch Trolley go whizzing into the tunnel. Then, in high school, I’m embarrassed to admit that I mocked him openly, and mocked myself for having watched and adored him. Then, as a parent, watching him again with the additional eyes of my kids, WOW! His wisdome, patience and sensitivity absolutely blew me away. And when some friends told my daughter in second grade that watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was not cool, I asked her who they thought was cool. She said, “Sponge Bob.” And I said, “Well, if you could be in a room with Mr. Rogers or Sponge Bob, who would you choose?” And she smiled, and said, “Mr. Rogers.” So I asked, “Then which one is cooler to you?” and she hugged me tight. He was a remarkable person with a beautiful soul. Kinda like you. 🙂 Hugs, sweetie!


  13. What a strange thing that we have this in common too. I’ve been thinking about Fred Rogers quite a bit over the last few months – even blogged on it and tried to get the local PBS stations to carry it so my son could see it.

    The message of care he offered to children with his show meant a lot to me, too.


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