Saturday, February 07, 2009

Mister Rogers' Newest Neighbors

Mister Rogers has inspired all kinds of wonderful people to do all kinds of wonderful thing.

You already know Brian Linder, whose "Save Mister Rogers" campaign gained national media attention and over six thousand members on Facebook. Brian and I continue to exchange emails, and plot bigger things for our collective affection for Mister Rogers and his values.

In the coming weeks and months, I'll endeavor to introduce you to a few other Neighborhood friends you may not have met, but who've reached through the Internets to say hello.

Tim Lybarger's "Neighborhood Archive" is an ever-growing, DIY resource for other Mister Rogers fans.

"I continued to hold a dear appreciation for Mister Rogers, the values he taught, and the legacy he has left," he explains. "I have a fairly respectable collection of Mister Rogers memorabilia, have recorded episodes from television broadcasts (I'm only missing five or six from 1980 and beyond), and I enjoy a hot cup of coffee every morning from my Mister Rogers' Neighborhood coffee mug."

I asked Tim if he had met Mister Rogers. He replied thusly:

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of me and Mister Rogers to pass along. The closest I ever came to that was a letter to him at the time of the completion of my undergraduate degree thanking him for his positive contribution to my life. In reply, I received a very humbling letter from him thanking me for my contact and wishing me the best as I enter the world of education. One of my most prized possessions to say the least.

Responding to Tim's letter -- one of hundreds that week, no doubt -- is the essence of Mister Rogers. All of those small gestures aggregate into something larger: a legacy.

2 comments:

Nmsx9 said...

Benjamin, I tried e-mailing you at your aol account e-mail, but am sure that that's not the address you check regularly. Is there another account where I can contact you. Real quickly, I'm a student at Yale writing a biography of Fred Rogers. I wrote out this lengthly e-mail going into more detail. Let me know what address I should send it to. Thanks alot and keep up the good work,

John Lockwood

Angie said...

I found your blog by chance but was emotionally touched by the trailers for Mr. Rogers & Me. I hope that some progress has been made for production because I was hooked! Best of luck!