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Roger and Me

You know I really hated Mr. Rogers growing up. I used to spend the duration of the 30 minute program yelling at the TV screen every time he was on. You see I thought he could hear me. He spoke to me like we were having a conversation, and I—being unfamiliar with the particular intricacies of television thought he beamed into my parents living room every afternoon, just for me. I remember one particularly enraging episode during which Mr. Rogers was making popcorn. He said, “I wish I could pass some to you right through the TV.” As is still the case when I am promised food and none materializes, I flew into rage.
Contrary as it might seem given my incensed attitude, I began to find my weekday afternoons in the Neighborhood oddly reassuring. When the Gulf War started in the early 90s, my Mom found me hiding behind the sofa. I had seen footage of the news and I thought the war as literally in our back yard. Mr. Rogers tackled the topic of war, and many other difficult themes in his sho…

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