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I’d believed that my friendship with Fred was part of my past; now I find myself in possession of a vast, unearned fortune of love and kindness at a time when love and kindness are in short supply. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on a 1998 Esquire profile of Rogers by journalist Tom Junod, but many of its details are straight from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. We’re very happy with it!”, “And we want you to read it with an open mind!”, “Well, basically everything in the script that’s about the relationship between you and Fred is very accurate!”, “But everything else—the relationship between you and your father and you and your wife—is made up!”. The Times endorses one incumbent and three newcomers for the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees. It wasn’t the only thing that changed everything. His emails were, like so much of what he wrote to so many he wrote to, love letters. However, instead of assigning him the article to help improve his reputation, the editors at Esquire gave him the article because they found the idea amusing. Earn it.” The last thing Fred Rogers ever said to me was “How like you.” He gave so much to me, so much trust and friendship, without asking me to earn it. The time he’s given you! Something that didn’t make it into the film? He’s an old man. I responded to Fred’s entreaties not only because he offered me a different way of being a man but also because he was a seducer in his own right, with a different brand of charm. He spoke most clearly through his example, but our culture consoles itself with the simple fact that he once existed. Send your deepest condolences with fresh flowers. The files are in his archives, at Saint Vincent College, in Latrobe; apparently they are extensive—box after box of information and inspiration concerning those he loved—and in one of those boxes are the names of my wife, my dogs, and one of my nieces, who was facing trouble and for whom he prayed. Yet “he was very independent in the way he voted,” Joanne said, “but he just didn’t talk about it because he didn’t want to lose the children.” Being impartial was important to Fred, an ordained Presbyterian minister who never talked about religion on his program even though he viewed it as his ministry. Those qualms disappeared as soon as Tom started talking, and as soon as I saw Matthew’s eyes. I was seduced by him, and once I attained a degree of success I worried that I had no choice but to follow in the Bally-loafered footsteps of the man who had caused me—and my serially betrayed mother—such pain. I finally had a reason to meet Joanne. Janet answered, and when she told him I wasn’t home, he took his anger out on her. How would Fred Rogers have responded to Twitter? It isn’t that he is revered but not followed so much as he is revered because he is not followed—because remembering him as a nice man is easier than thinking of him as a demanding one. The story behind the story of Nepalese workers and modern indentured servitude that has haunted a Times reporter for years. I’d done a brief phone interview with her, no more than 20 minutes. For as long as I knew him, we corresponded, and recently some of that correspondence resurfaced when I did a data recovery on a 21-year-old laptop moldering away in my attic. California’s November election will feature 12 statewide ballot measures. On the flight home, I became oddly emotional thinking about Fred and Joanne — about how much they’d affected so many simply by expressing genuine care and kindness toward their neighbors. “Trump changed it,” she said. What are you going to do with this moment? To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our, Guest Book sponsored by Campbell and Thomas Funeral Home. Indeed, what makes measuring Fred’s legacy so difficult is that Fred’s legacy is so clear. But there it was again, rebuilt from scratch, at once brand-new and 20 years longer in the tooth.


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