Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood April 1, 2010Posted by jayocallahan in Uncategorized.
In the New York Times on Thursday, March 18th there was a story about a bronze statue of Mr. Rogers. The statue was unveiled in October at the Old Manchester Bridge Pier in Pittsburgh.
Mr. Rogers was a gentle man and a visionary. Early on in my storytelling career I sent him a cassette of my story The Bubble and he called and said he would like me to come to Nantucket to talk. He met me at the ferry landing and I found he was even more charming than he was on television. He told me that he began his career as a puppeteer. He said he was afraid of being out in front of people, but the day came when he put the puppet away, stepped forward and that was the beginning of “Mr. Rogers”.
Mr. Rogers asked me to call him Fred but I still think of him as Mr. Rogers. He said he was going to create a week long opera for his show and the opera would begin with my story The Bubble. A few months later I flew to Pittsburgh and did the show. In Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the mailman always brought the mail and I was the package that was delivered that day to Mr. Rogers. After I told the story of The Bubble, the two of us sat down with the cameras still rolling and began to blow bubbles. One bubble came out from my little wand and the rest popped. Mr. Rogers blew and the bubbles just flowed out. I was delighted with his sense of fun and ease.
It was my only encounter but I’m so glad there’s now a statue of Mr. Rogers tying his shoes on the Old Manchester Bridge Pier in Pittsburgh.