On March 23rd, the USPS will celebrate a new stamp featuring the smiling face of Mr. Fred Rogers. Now that’s something to look forward to!
Joanne Rogers, Mr. Rogers’s wife, said in an interview that…” her husband would have approved of his appearance on a postage stamp because of the personal outreach that a handwritten letter involves in an increasingly virtual world.”
Mrs. Rogers continued, “I think that people must need him. Just look at what goes on in the world. He always wanted to provide a haven and a comfortable lap for children, and I think that is what so many of us need right now.”
Having Mr. Rogers’s face on a stamp that enables slow, thoughtful communication is a fitting parallel of his approach to life.
David A. Newell, who played the character of Mr. McFeeley, the “Speedy Delivery” man on the show commented, “I think he would be honored. Because Fred would write a thank-you note for everything.” –Christine Hauser, NYT
If there is anyone reading this who does not know who Mr. Rogers is, let me fill you in. He was a kind, soft spoken man who had a children’s show on public television. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood first aired in 1968 and continued up through 2001, two years before he died in 2003. He captivated viewers nationwide and beyond with his gentle focus on children’s feelings. Nothing was too difficult for Mr. Rogers to discuss on his show -anger, adoption, death, divorce…All the moods and fears of childhood were fair game. Anyone who knew him or watched the show, felt Mr. Rogers’ genuine caring.
As a young child, Fred was bullied for being shy and overweight. His sensitivity to the feelings of children was the backbone of his life’s work. In graduate school, he studied child development, and alongside that he became a Presbyterian minister, who embraced the cause of “serving children and families through the media,” (yet he never once mentioned God in any of his shows.)
The TV Guide summed it up “…Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood makes us, young and old alike, feel safe, cared for, and valued…wherever Mister Rogers is, so is sanctuary.”
The reruns of Mister Rogers Neighborhood are still popular and being aired on national PBS stations. His books and videos for children and their parents are available from https://www.fredrogers.org/
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show, PBS will be airing a special, Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like. Tuesday, March 6th at 7:00p.m. Check local listings.
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ “