Thursday, August 07, 2008

Would you be mine, Could you be mine, Won't you be

Just typing those words I hear the song in my head and I can see the kindest man in the world smiling RIGHT at ME and telling me that I was loved and wanted and special.

There's no one quite like you.

Goddamn. There was not a soul in my real life that ever said anything even close to words like that to me. Mr. Rogers was the closest thing to someone loving me on a daily basis that I knew. I know that sounds unbelievably pathetic and it wasn't that there weren't kind people in my life. But who actually had the time for me? My stay at home mother? Um. Yeah. My father? Ohhhhh yeah. Or even more than having the time for me, was TELLING ME that I was worthwhile - let alone important, special, someone they were proud of? Please.

The one human being who was there for me on a daily basis and who was actually giving me the sort of ego building I needed when so many other real-life people were hell bent on either ignoring me entirely or making me feel like an idiot because I did not 'fit the mold' was Fred Rogers. A man on a television show on PBS. And as pathetic and poor, poor me as that sounds it's true.

Fred Rogers was SPECIAL. Not just to me. But it felt like it was just about me and for this 'spoiled' only child ('excuse me while I laugh a little bit about the 'spoiled' part... LOL) that was huge. I needed so badly to BE special somewhere, to someone even if it was a television fantasy. Since that wasn't happening in the real world my fantasy world was exceedingly rich and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was a touchstone.

People do poke fun at Mr. Rogers style and the style of the show. It used to bother me, but I realize that if you had some sort of trust, support, feeling of safety and emotional caring in your real world then yes, the world of Mr. Rogers might appear slow and sort of too-good-to-be-true, maybe even a little saccharine. But me, I know the impact that this show had on me as a child. It's conceivable that the messages I picked up here sank deep enough into my psyche to help fight the self-loathing I learned in the real world. God knows where I would have been without it.

I'm Pavlovian as far as the sounds of the Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood show are concerned. Just the 'clang-clang' of "Trolley" as it came into the room to ride us all to visit King Friday the Thirteenth in the Neighborhood of Make Believe can grab my attention from another room. I have actually accidentally caught an episode while channel surfing and stuck with it, cursing having missed the opening - as recently as a year ago. Because to this day hearing the sound of Mr. Rogers' voice, speaking or singing one of those simple but enduringly uplifting songs, can bring a tear of happiness to my cynical old eyes and remind me that I am, in fact, special.

Save Mr. Roger's Neighborhood


LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Hi Joy. I'll be in New York Sept. 26-29th. I hope we have the proposed blogger meet up.

When I'm there, I can share with you the times I met Mister Rogers. Good news is that in person he was exactly as he appeared on TV. It was definitely not an act. It was him. And I felt special.

People make fun of him because he was completely free of pretense and cynicism, and they didn't know how to react without cattiness.

whimsical brainpan said...

Well he was right!

BetteJo said...

You can never go down, never go down, never go down the drain!

..everybody's fancy, everybody's fine, your body's fancy and so is mine!

Something very reassuring and safe about the sameness of the show - the sweater, changing the shoes - etc.

Loved him.