Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Neighbor and Yours

by Joyce Tremel

I couldn't narrow down what to write about this week, so this post is likely to make no sense whatsoever (the first person who says "what else is new?" gets a virtual smack upside the head). I thought of doing something on the gross injustice of the verdict yesterday in the civil trial of the two PA state troopers, but I'm too angry and would probably get myself in trouble. Then I considered writing about Cyril Wecht's trial, but that's turned out to be boring. Even the colorful Dr. Wecht can't liven that one up. I supposed I could write about work--it's been busy this week, but it's all dumb stuff. No big crimes to report on. So that was out.

I browsed the newspapers some more until I found the perfect topic: none other than my neighbor and yours, Fred Rogers. Why Mr. Rogers? you may ask.

Well, why not? I happen to love Mr. Rogers. And I met him once on an elevator when I worked at Allegheny General Hospital. I can tell you he was exactly the same in person as he was on television. Very soft spoken, deliberate, and kind.

Next week in Pittsburgh we're celebrating "Won't You Be My Neighbor Days." Fred Rogers would have been 80 years old on March 20th, so just about every venue in the city is celebrating. March 20th has been designated Sweater Day. Everyone everywhere is being asked to wear their favorite sweater that day.


Personally, I think there should be a 24 hour Mister Rogers channel. All Fred, all the time. The world would be a much better place. There would be no more fighting, no more wars, everyone would get along just like in the Neighborhood of Make Believe. (I know they didn't always get along, but by the end of the show everything was just peachy.) Who could go against the cool logic of King Friday the XIII, or the beauty of Queen Sarah, or the just darn cuteness of Daniel the Striped Tiger? Even the mail would be on time because of Speedy Delivery! And wouldn't you rather ride that red trolley instead of a Port Authority bus? Thought so. (But I could do without Lady Elaine. I always thought she was a little bit scary.)
For those of you who can't deal with all the sweetness and harmony of Fred, maybe you remember Mr. Robinson and his neighborhood. I don't know if it's true, but I read somewhere that Mr. Rogers liked this skit.

So next week, I want everyone to break out the cardigans and join me in a rousing chorus of "Won't You Be My Neighbor." Then ask yourself, WWFD?

You guessed it--What Would Fred Do?

13 comments:

ramona said...

Joyce, I will happily join you in celebrating Mr. Rogers. When my sons were little, they loved his show and used to call him "Ra-Ra."

They are now 17, but we still have that poster hanging in the basement.

Annette said...

I love Fred Rogers. My mom's surgeon reminds me of him except that he wears a white lab coat instead of a sweater.

But, Joyce, I was really waiting to hear your rant about the verdict in the Fayette County shooting. Those jusrists should have signed up for the Citizens' Police Academy.

Joyce said...

Believe me, Annette, you don't want to hear my rant. Or what I'd like to do with those jurors. I feel sorry for the kid's family, but if he was such an angel, he wouldn't have stolen a car in the first place! I'll stop now.

Joyce said...

Now that you mention it, Dr. Ray does remind me of Mr. Rogers.

JennieB said...

Mr. Rogers rocks! My 8-year-old fondly thinks he's outgrown Mr. Rogers's Neighborhood, but the 5-year-old still watches. Have y'all ever caught Mr. Rogers on 'Arthur'? (The PBS-show about the aardvark. Marc Brown's Arthur.) Wonderful episode in which Arthur is worried that all his friends will think he's a baby if he admits to liking Mr. Rogers. And then it turns out that everyone else is thinking the same thing, and everyone really, deep down, loves Mr. Rogers - naturally. Sweater day... how lovely! Wish I were in Pittsburgh (and not only because of the half-naked wanna-be covermodels coming to the Romantic Times convention next week...)!

Joyce said...

Jennie, Sweater Day is supposed to international, so break out that sweater!

JennieB said...

What about the cover models? Can I have one of those, too? He can wear a sweater...

Joyce said...

We'll ask Nancy. Maybe she can arrange something for you...

Live Out Loud said...

I loved Mr. Rogers! I think I liked him better than Sesame Street because he was deliberate and it actaully seemed as though he was speaking to me.
Loved that guy.

Tory said...

I'll wear my cardigan!

After I saw Denzel Washington as the therapist in "Antwone Fisher" wearing one, I decided every therapist needs a cardigan. You know, to wear on days they need reminding they should start acting more like Mr. Rogers.

JennieB said...

Nancy has a line on half-naked covermodels in sweaters...? Be still, my heart!

lisa curry said...

When I worked at MCA-TV, one day I answered the phone and got to talk to Mr. McPheeley! It was very exciting. I told him I was a big fan and after we covered the reason for his call (signing and faxing a permission form to air segments of a TV show he owned the rights to), he said, "Well, goodbye and speedy delivery to you!" :-)

Joyce said...

Lisa, did you know Fred Rogers' middle name was McFeeley?