The Longest Shortest Time

EPISODE #166: Dear Mister Rogers

Have you noticed? We’re at peak Misters Rogers nostalgia. There’s a new documentary out called Won’t You Be My Neighbor, and a movie in the works starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers. Tom Hanks! Clearly, this guy left a mark on us.

This is especially true for our listener Ben Yelin, who sent a letter to Fred when he was a 5-year-old boy living in San Francisco. The letter suggested that Mister Rogers visit the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory. The reply Ben received is still infamous in his family.

You can read the full letter here.

To this day, Ben’s still enjoys an occasional chocolate snack.

Tune in to hear some of the most unexpected ways Fred Rogers impacted some of you as kids… and how that’s stuck through adulthood. Plus, Junlei Li from the Fred Rogers Center explains why Fred’s message still resonates.

Junlei pouring through Fred’s old materials.

Junlei Li directs the Fred Rogers Center and also holds the Saul Zaentz Senior Lecturership in early childhood at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

You can read more about the cultural phenomenon of letters from Fred in Dear Mr. Rogers, Does It Ever Rain in Your Neighborhood, a book from 1996 that still has a lot of wisdom and tear-bait for parents today.