Mr. Rogers was offering you a relationship
every time he wrote a letter.
Did you grow up watching “Mister Rogers Neighborhood”? Fred Rogers is perhaps the O.G. of Hometown Heroes and all-around good guys. Did you know that he personally responded to over 200,000 letters he received over his 31 seasons of the children's television show? According to an article in the Deseret News, “The many, many, many letters of Mister Rogers” written by Court Mann, Rogers wrote not only to TV viewers but maintained correspondence with a vast network of friends, family, and acquaintances via letters, emails and handwritten notes.
It seems that the public is still looking for a “shot of Rogers wisdom", according to Jeanne Marie Laskas, a close friend of Rogers who worked at WQED in Pittsburgh where “Mister Rogers” was filmed. Laskas has been writing about Rogers in various publications for 35 years.
The “Roger-isms” like: “Look for the helpers.” “I like you just the way you are.” and “I’m not very good at it, but it doesn’t matter.” are still bits of gentle wisdom in a world that seems to have gotten decidedly less gently in the 17 years since Roger’s death, according to the article.
Many of the letters written by Rogers do exist and have been archived. “His message to the world was fully realized in these thousands upon thousands of intimate one-on-one written correspondences,” she said. Rogers often wrote separate letters, one to a child and one to the parents. He was offering you a relationship every time he wrote a letter.
In the article, there are many examples
and excerpts from letters and the answers from Rogers. One handwritten eight-sentence letter, dated Aug 1, 1991, changed the trajectory of 5-year old Matthew Fagerholm’s life. A month after he mailed it, Fagerholm received Rogers’ five-paragraph personal response. “It was his careful attention to every one of my sentences that provided me with a profound affirmation that my words mattered,” said Fagerholm. “I don’t believe I would be currently employed as a writer if I hadn’t grown up with his show.”
Read the entire article is a feel-good happy read and is filled with kindness and wisdom. Make it a good day in the neighborhood.
Nugent Magazine loves sharing GOOD NEWS, GOOD PEOPLE, and GOOD THINGS happening in Utah and the world. If you have a story or know of a Hometown Hero that you think we should feature please contact us on our website www.nugentmagazine.com or email Gina at email@example.com.
Photo of Mr. Rogers courtesy of MisterRogers.org
Photos of letters from the Deseret News article.