I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, given how much I've read today about how well-loved he was, but here goes....I never especially liked Mr. Rogers. No, not the guy -- I never met the guy, so I don't know if I would have liked him personally or not. The TV show. Yes, I watched it as a child. Didn't we all? But really I just watched it for the Land of Make-Believe. That was the only part I liked. The little train would go into the tunnel, and I'd smile. I loved those puppets.
But the rest of the show? Well, I don't remember much of it. I just remember not especially liking it. I just put up with it, waiting for the train. I wondered things like: why was he always changing clothes? Why the shoes, and if he had to change them, why wasn't he putting on a pair of cool running shoes like I always wore? Why was he always so subdued? (Although I'm not sure I used or even knew the word 'subdued' as a child, that's the feeling I get when I remember those shows.)
"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood," I still can hum that song he'd sing. It was always the same song, and he'd always toss his shoes from hand to hand as he sang, so peaceful, gentle, yet cheerful. Too peaceful, gentle, and cheerful for my tastes, maybe. Maybe there was simply not enough energy in the show for the little girl rennie. Not enough passion and excitement...too much repetition. Too much sitting quietly in the living-room.
I don't know! I haven't seen the show in years. Maybe I'll check it out again; the articles I've read say it's still aired on PBS. Everything I've read about him sounds like he was a very good man. So for that reason, I'm sorry he's gone...we need more good people in the world, people spreading messages of peace and gentleness, people working publicly to to help children and to make the world a happier place.
People who still take all of us on train-rides to the Land of Make-Believe.
...even if they insist on musically changing into sweaters and flimsy canvas shoes first.