Fred Rogers would have been eighty years old last week. Pittsburgh’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Days celebrates his legacy, especially what it means to be a caring neighbor.
Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods. With 88 geographically distinct domaines, how could it be otherwise? (And to know that it’s the topography and/or geography that is responsible for the burgh’s hoods, just think of how many named areas there are in Pittsburgh that have one of these words in them: Wood, Woods, Land, Field, Glen, Park, Vale, and – Pittsburgh’s favorite – Hill.)
But to me Pittsburgh is a city of neighbors. My sense of Pittsburgh hospitality began the day my husband and I pulled our rental truck up to the curb, unfolded our cramped limbs and unlocked the door of our rental house. Strangers who lived nearby offered to help move heavy furniture and feed us dinner. By the time we’d unloaded our possessions we were too tired for dinner, but that night as we fell asleep we knew the names of our four nearest neighbors and wondered if we’d landed in Mister Rogers’ actual neighborhood.
The neighborhood’s real life cast of characters included a chatty corner crossing guard, the reliable postal deliverer (“Hi, I’m Bill and I’ll be bringing your mail!”), and the furnace repair man who, at his second house call, nodded at my husband and punched me on the arm with a “how yinz doin’?”
My goal as librarian at CLP is to be another purveyor of this Pittsburgh hospitality. I like to think of myself as one of Mister Rogers’ neighbors.
I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers , by Tim Madigan, is this year’s One Book One Community program selection. A discussion focusing on this book will be held on the First Floor, Tuesday, April 22, 1:00 – 2:00 PM, with a second session from 6:00 – 7:00 PM.
Saturday, April 26, 2:00 – 5:00 PM, join us on the First Floor for Celebrate Oakland!: A One Book One Community Event. Find out what makes Oakland so special in “Something About Oakland,” a documentary film by Rick Sebak. It’s part of the Pittsburgh History Series produced for WQED. Afterwards, meet Mr. Sebak and enjoy a neighborhood open house with light refreshments.
Please won’t you be my neighbor?