As a child, Fred Rogers was my hero. Though I don’t remember it, my mom noted in my baby book that, as a three year old, I would get up early in the morning to watch Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, making sure to get completely dressed because I didn’t want Mr. Rogers to see me in my pajamas. I loved his silly songs, his calming voice, and the kindness he radiated so brilliantly, like an extra (and awesome) grandpa the whole world got to share.
It was only after I grew up that I came to realize, in addition to his sweet demeanor, Mr. Rogers was an ordained minister, a highly sought-after public speaker, and a tireless champion for kids of every creed and color. His quote book, The World According to Mister Rogers, is a sweet, funny and very wise compendium for living, no matter if you’re three or 63.
He passed away six years ago this week – an occasion I have marked on my calendar, it’s true – and I always wear sneaks and a cardigan that day, in true Mr. Rogers style, to commemorate a wonderful man we all feel like we knew.
We miss you, Fred.