“Please won’t you be my neighbor?”
Hearing Fred Rogers sing those welcoming words as he donned his trademark cardigan sweater and blue tennis shoes signified a comforting kind of children’s television programming. Parents could be sure a visit to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood would be educational and age-appropriate. For children, hearing the familiar song meant they were about to spend time with a man who understood their hopes and fears, never talked down to them, and always reassured them that “I like you just the way you are.”
That’s the opening paragraph from my article “A Beautiful Neighbor” on the life and times of Fred Rogers, who died from stomach cancer in 2003. The article, published in the Winter 2014/2015 issue of Cancer Today couldn’t have been easier to write. Who didn’t love Mister Rogers?