SPOTLIGHT: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

thumbnail (2)Tomorrow evening, my friend, Nicole, and I will get to see the new movie about the life/work of Fred Rogers, more endearingly known to millions as, Mister Rogers.

As a young boy, Fred Rogers was not on my radar. Once I hit first grade, many of the more common children’s shows were not to my liking as I preferred documentaries or regular television programming.

SESAME STREET and MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD simply were not included in my diet.

mister_rogers_feature_2_1050x700It was not until high school that I actually watched a few episodes of MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD and it was only because a school friend asked to watch it while visiting my house.

One day, around 1994, school was canceled due to snow and the battery in my television’s remote had died.  I was snuggling on the sofa with my new kitten, Logan, and had no desire to rise to change stations.  MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD came on. Hmmm…. he did a segment on how crayons are made. I was riveted with interest.

A week or so later, I was taping Fred Roger’s daily shows.  I got to see how Graham Crackers were made, and I believe Cracker Jacks.  Fascinating!  Ironically, my mother was also becoming a fan of MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD.

February 2011, my dear friend, Liz Bryant, and I became Facebook pals and I was so touched by her devotion to MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD.  Liz’s posts these past seven years have reignited and nurtured my own love for this truly remarkable gentleman.  In fact, Liz embodies the spirit of Fred Rogers and his teachings!

For Christmas, 2006, my beautiful friend and music colleague, Loretta Henderson, gave me a wonderful book on Fred Rogers.  After I finished reading it, I set it out in my living room where students and families have enjoyed it for twelve years.

The past several months I’ve watched this trailer at The Neon Movies and tomorrow, I will finally get to see WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?. (< view trailer)  I am excited.  I saw the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary, RBG six times.  From what I’ve heard from friends who’ve recently seen WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, I fear I could beat the RBG record.

I close with my favorite Fred Rogers’ quote, one that rings loud within my soul:

“Music is the one art we all have inside.  We may not be able to play an instrument, but we can sing along or clap or tap our feet.  Have you ever seen a baby bouncing up and down in the crib in time to some music?  When you think of it, some of that baby’s first messages from his or her parents may have been lullabies, or at least the music of their speaking voices.  All of us have had the experience of hearing a tune from childhood and having that melody evoke a memory of a feeling.  The music we hear early on tends to stay with us all our lives.”    ― Fred RogersThe World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

Amen….  Thanks for being such a good neighbor to so many, Mr. Rogers!

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About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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