Back when I was in college, a classmate of mine knew of my respect for and admiration of Fred Rogers and came across an article she copied for me to read. Found in the March 2000 issue of Biography Magazine, author Claudia Rowe does a very nice job detailing a short account of Fred Rogers' background and the essence of who he became as an American icon.
Rather than transcribe the article in its entirety, I thought I would share a few of the more significant and memorable quotes from "Some Things Never Change, and Thank Heavens Mister Rogers Is One of Them."
Mister Rogers' ability to connect with children:
"Even the most jaded have to admit that in our Nintendo-paced world, this soft-spoken man has a strangely captivating hold over kids."
The experience of visiting Fred Rogers' office:
"Visiting Rogers in his office at Public Broadcasting Station WQED, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a bit like going to see a shrink. It's a quiet, comfy room devoid of the many awards and citations he has earned during 31 years in the Neighborhood. Instead, stuffed animals and baseball caps line the back of the sofa, and the word GRACE hangs above it, carved in Greek letters. There is no desk, no telephone, and no computer. Rogers writes every episode of his program -- almost 900 to date -- on a yellow legal pad with a blue Flair pen in his neat, crisp longhand."
Simplicity and vegetarianism:
"Rogers is frugal, tickled to find pants and a shirt for $7 in a Florida thrift shop not long ago. And though they have two grand pianos in their Pittsburgh apartment, a plate of moo shu vegetables at their favorite Chinese restaurant constitutes 'a special night out' for Joanne and Fred, who is a vegetarian. 'I just don't like to eat anything that ever had a mother,' he says."
Not mincing words:
"He can be curt on occasion, especially when discussing Hollywood's addiction to violence. 'It's cheap,' he says simply. 'It's a cheap-and-easy way out. It's loud and superficial and shallow.'"