When singer-songwriter DiElle first came to me with her TV Personality crush, I thought – I know exactly who I’m going to write about. Then I started to look into her crush and thought, perhaps my original idea didn’t quite match up and would better fit down the line. As for DiElle, you’ll soon find out what UK TV staple her crush spawned from, but first let’s talk about Fred Rogers otherwise known to the world as Mr. Rogers, the man who welcomed into his neighborhood for over three decades.
Like many of you old enough to remember being hyped about a trip to the video rental place in your town, I grew up learning the foundations of life via PBS. Nick Jr. had yet to be a thing and really, Big Bird and Co. were all we really had unless your parents sprang for some at-home videos. Which mind did not. So I watched daily, practically enamored with every single show that came through from the aforementioned streets of Sesame to more the criminal activities of ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sad Diego,’ and snuggled in between was ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.’
While the other shows could be a bit hectic with Grover acting a fool every once in a while and Carmen’s whereabouts causing stress on my eight-year-old brain, ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ was a cool, calm, collected, and overall welcoming experience. Mr. Rogers never failed to make you feel as if you were the only one he was inviting to learn about not only his neighbors and how crayons are made, but also to the Neighborhood of Make Believe where the most homemade of puppets taught you lessons that perhaps teachers were skipping in turn for arithmetic and reading like kindness, friendship, and all the basic ingredients that make a human being decent.
As a kid, the people and characters I saw on PBS were more admirable than crushworthy because I was a kid and really, I don’t think I could’ve wrapped my head around actually having a crush on Mr. Rogers. Then I got older, saw this man as a 30-something, and thought…well, hot damn. Mr. Rogers was a fox. However, it wasn’t just the discovery of his younger days that made him a crush for me, it was looking back at the way he really put himself into his work to make generations of kids feel a certain type of way. That all-around kindness and heart, I mean – it’s what’s missing in most today, and I wish that he could’ve lived long enough to grace us with his presence, especially during the darker times we’ve had in recent years.
My love for Mr. Rogers started as a kid who loved to learn whose mom plopped her in front of educational programming, and as I got older and realized he was actually handsome, the admiration turned into something new. Nevertheless, though, my heart will always smile whenever Mr. Rogers’ name is mentioned around me because he was this one-of-a-kind gift to the world that, while he passed at age 74, still left us far too soon.