Moments of validation in life are sometimes few and far between, and even more rarely come in packages stamped with the words “SPEEDY DELIVERY”.
Meeting Mr. McFeely, Mister Rogers’ beloved postman friend, was a big deal for 6-year-old me. Then a proud member of Pensacola’s WSRE Kids Club, I was starstuck, as you can witness in this photo my mom snapped in the moment:
and I’m now working for WFSU / PBS KIDS as a professional PBS KID / education specialist, a position that is providing me many opportunities to learn, grow, and embrace my foundational love and loyalty to the organization. One such experience was at the 2017 Florida PBS Learning Media conference in Orlando. There I met other passionate people from the world of PBS including WSRE’s Director of Education Content & Services, the very same woman who provided the miracle of my sixth year on Earth: Jill Hubbs!
After laughing together about how life-changing my meeting Mr. McFeely had been so many years ago and realizing the serendipity of our coming to meet each other in the professional world, Jill wrote about our reconnection on Facebook, tagging friend David Newell and I in the post.
My NEW FRIEND MR. MCFEELY and I continued chatting into the wee hours discussing Fred Rogers’ wife’s attendance at Florida State, and the influence his show had on several generations of my family. I shared the photo of our meeting at the Kids Club event so many years ago, and he even offered to send an autographed photo home to mom!
A few weeks later, I checked my mailbox at the station to find this:
And returned to our department meeting to open the package with my team of fellow lovers of all things Fred Rogers. Enclosed we found a copy of Rogers’ illustrated children’s book, “Good Weather or Not”, “dear Mister Rogers, does it ever rain in your neighborhood?”, “Mister Rogers’ Playbook”, and a letter and autographed photo of Mr. McFeely himself.
This year, a moment of validation from my childhood came full circle by making itself known in my post-grad professional life, and giving me a reassuring smile and a nod. To people like Jill Hubbs and David Newell, the heroes of this blog post and so much more, I couldn’t say it better than the man himself:
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
― Fred Rogers
Hannah Power, Education & Outreach Specialist