A Comforting Face In Difficult Times: 20 Things You Might Not Know About Mr. Rogers

In a 1998 interview with Esquire, Mr.Rogers has talked about a prayer circle shooting that had taken place in Kentucky. The kid who had pulled the trigger had boasted beforehand about planning “something really big.”

“Oh, wouldn’t the world be a different place,” Mr. Rogers stated, “if he had said, ‘I’m going to do something really little tomorrow’?

That’s probably how many people feel about the person or people responsible for the tragedy that took place in Boston yesterday that ended the lives of three people, including an eight year-old boy, and injured over 100 more. If only that person had vowed to do something really small, the city of Boston would’ve been spared a great deal of terror.

But Mr. Rogers would also instill a message of caring and safety, as he did after the Columbine High School massacre. “Those children need to know that the adults in their lives will do everything they can do to keep them safe. It doesn’t mean we’re always going to be successful, but it does mean we’re going to try.”

In times of tragedy, we often seek comfort, and there’s nothing more comforting in the world than the late Mr. Rogers. As authorities continue to investigate, and as we seek to find answers of our own, I thought it’d be useful to look back at the life, the stories, and the messages of Mr. Rogers for a few minutes. Obviously, if you’re a huge follower of Mr. Rogers, many of these things will not come as a surprise. This is not the first post on the Internet to mine Fred Rogers biography. But unless you watched his four-hour Emmy TV Legends interview, there’s probably something in here you don’t know about Mr. Rogers.

Either way, Mr. Rogers — who we’ve already established our deep appreciation for around here — and his good deeds will provide some comfort this morning. If you want to skip ahead to feel-good entries, please do read 11, 12, 18, and 20.