Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I got an email from Amy Hollingsworth this morning.
    I'm planning to overnight (or maybe two-day air) something to you and wanted to know if it should be sent to your office or home. If to your office, do I just send it to your attention at the 1515 Broadway address, or do I need to include an office number? Or if you prefer it be sent to your home, what is your address there?
Ooooh! What could it be? So excited!

I imagine it could be a recording of one of her favorite "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" episodes. Or maybe a photocopy of an exchange between them. Either way, tomorrow can't come soon enough!

Amy has been something of a guardian angel as I really began pushing on getting this documentary started in the last few months. Her book, "The Simple Faith Of Mr. Rogers," has been sitting on my shelves for a few years, and came to me quite by accident. Yruth is I wasn't entirely alone that day I went to visit Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. My now ex-girlfriend Jen was with me as well. In fact, she's behind the lens in the two photos that exist of Mr. Rogers and me. She's a talent booker for The Tony Danza Show, and as such, receives numerous pitches from publicists, publishers, etc. She sent the book to me years ago -- long after we'd broken up -- with a note that read, "Couldn't resist Love, Jen."

I'd avoided reading the book initially because it seemed -- at first blush -- quiet religious. And though I harbored a fantasy of Mr. Rogers (an ordained minister, remember) marrying me in Nantucket, it was not his religiousness that appealed to me, but his spirituality. (As it ends us, the book doesn't foist God on the reader in any way.)

Nonetheless, as I flipped through the pages, it became apparent to me that Amy's book was a blueprint, of sorts, for my own project. Here she had distilled the knowledge she had gained from numerous conversations with Mr. Rogers into a book. I, lacking those numerous conversations, had to go outside myself to find out more about who he was, and what he stood for. In the end, though, the objective is the same: to amplify the man's message through personal experience.

Amy has been a supporter from the start. I tracked her down via her publicist, and she emailed me immediately. She already knew about my project via what I'd written on my website. And almost immediately, she offered me her time and, more importantly, her encouragement.

Believe me, this has not been an easy project to get off the ground. Family Communications is a small company with a huge task: sustaining Mr. Rogers' legacy. Getting them on the phone is no easy task. Amy empathized. As importantly, she reminded me that Mr. Rogers had leveled this challenge of spreading the "deep and simple" message to me -- of all people -- for a reason. A PBS mind in an MTV world? That's me. And that's why.

We've since exchanged dozens of emails. And on Sunday afternoon, she'll open her home and her heart to Chris and me.

I can't wait.

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