= News of Beloved Host’s Death Breaks in Neighborhood of Make-Believe =
Fred Rogers, beloved host of the PBS children’s television program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, died today at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after a brief battle with stomach cancer. He was 74 years old.
There was only one person in the world like him.
Mr. McFeely, of the “Speedy Delivery Messenger Service”, carried the sad news to the people of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe earlier this morning.
This was one delivery he wasn’t too happy to be “speedy” about.
Reactions from the neighbors were swift and, often, quite touching.
When told of Roger’s death, Daniel Striped Tiger bowed his head and gently rubbed his paws together. He was quoted as saying, “Ugga-mugga, I’m in complete shock.”
Mr. McFeely went next to the big oak tree. After a brief moment of reflection, Owl X intoned, “This is so not nifty-galifty. In fact, dear sir, I cannot muster a thought of one other thing that is less nifty-galifty, in my humble opinion.”
On the branch in her tree house, Henrietta Pussycat mewed inconsolably. “Dead meow meow? Meow how meow?”
A visiting Hula Mouse added, “Ay no! Es malo. Es muy malo!” as his hula-hoop fell to the ground.
McFeely then made his way to the castle.
King Friday XIII, being the consummate ruler, showed no sign of emotion upon hearing, but decreed that, henceforth, every day in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe would now be “Fred Rogers Day” by official proclamation.
He added that a press release, detailing the castle’s official reaction to the news, would be made available later in the week.
The castle’s Cooke Edgar softly sang, “When your heart can cry another’s sadness, then your heart is full of love…” after McFeely broke the news to him. Then, Edgar said he planned to prepare a ten-course meal and consume the entire thing himself as a way to console his broken heart.
According to a castle spokesperson, Queen Sara Saturday was now unavailable for comment because after hearing the news, she had to be sedated by a staff doctor.
At the Museum-Go-Round, Lady Elaine Fairchilde said, “I knew something was up, toots! But I never imagined it was this!” She then turned off the rotating collection in Roger’s honor.
“What will I do with the ‘Sad’ that I feel?” she asked McFeely.
As news of Rogers’ death spread throughout the rest of the neighborhood, residents began to plan a memorial service scheduled for next week in front of the Clock.
Dr. Duckbill Platypus has offered to hold “grief counseling” sessions for any neighbors who want to talk about their sad feelings.
Yes, today Fred Rogers – or just plain “Mr. Rogers” to the millions who grew up in his TV living room – embarked on his final trolley ride. It was his first out of the neighborhood, where he had lived for 36 years.
But he will remain, like a fond childhood memory, in our hearts because, as he himself once said, “If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
Many of the some nine hundred episodes of Rogers’ often groundbreaking show will continue to be broadcast on PBS.