Fred Rogers has impacted millions of people through his groundbreaking show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. And his recently released documentary, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’ is an evidence to how much he touched the lives of his fans.
He not only lived out the principles in his program but also embraced them in his daily life. Fred taught us how to treat other people with kindness, even while the rest of the world was focused on race.
His wife, Joanne Rogers, 90-year-old, made her debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, confirming Mr. Rogers was as incredible off-camera just as he was on the public.
Joanne was just as charming and warm as her late husband.
She revealed in the show that she and Fred met while in Rollins College in Florida, and the first thing she noticed about him was that he was kind and unique from other men.
He was even confident and able to open up about his feelings to her.
“He was different.”
“In his young days, he was lively and full of fun, but he talked about his feelings, and I could talk about my feelings to him and the things that bothered us, the things that we loved.”
“And don’t you have to have a friendship to fall back on through your married life?”
The two were able to establish a solid foundation of friendship that carried them through 50 years of marriage, until his death in 2003.
Mr. Fred’s documentary that aired in select theaters in June 2018 revealed even more about his dreams, hopes, and quirks.
One of his quirks was his never-ending obsession with number ‘143,’ something most of his fan wondered what it meant. He even tried everything possible to maintain his weight at 143 pounds.
And during Jimmy Fallon’s show, Joanna told us why Fred was obsessed with the number:
“He was very pleased when he would get out of swimming, go and get on the scale: 143. 1 was (the letter) I, 4 was L-O-V-E, 3 was Y-O-U. He had enough love to go around.”
Joan also shared that Mr. Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian Church minister, and his evangelism work was much different than most church ministers.
“He was ordained as an evangelist to carry on the work that he was doing in television with families and children.”
Joanne also said that she and Fred bonded well because they both grew up in homes where they didn’t feel comfortable to express their emotions.
“We never got mad at each other that much — that we could express well. We just got quiet. Both of us handled it that way, and that’s not the best way. It’s good to yell sometimes.”
“But Fred was a very sensitive person, and tears were available to him. I used to say, ‘You’re my liberated man, and I think it’s just wonderful.’”
Mr. Rogers was among the kindest people we’ve seen so far, and the word is a better place because he existed. We are still feeling the impact of his works, and probably we will continue to feel it for the years to come.