Handmade Matters, and Happy Birthday, Mr. Rogers

This morning with my coffee and morning news feed, I read an article about Fred Rogers. Today he would have been 87 years old. Happy Birthday, Mr. Rogers!

He is a character from my childhood. Even now I can still summon his voice in my head, and a sense of calm and childlike curiosity comes over me.

Setting: Meek family farmhouse, summer, mid-1970s. Every afternoon at 4 pm, the theme song from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS signaled the end of my daily “naptime.” (By the way, I protested naptime either loudly or silently daily.) FINALLY allowed to emerge from my room, I would settle in for a half hour with Mr. Rogers.

I was soaking in the themes of his work — personal value, worthiness, kindness, curiosity and love. But, I didn’t know all that when I was four years old. All I knew was that I loved to see him toss his shoes, and that he had a table with sand inside it. So cool.

Today’s Huff Post article shares the story behind the cardigans. These are the sweaters he would always change into when he arrived at the beginning of the program, and then return to the closet when it was time to go. (This red one is now in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.)

Turns out his mother knit the cardigans for him. In the video here, he explains how the sweaters are valuable to him because he remembers her when he wears them. He admires and shares the handiwork (which is excellent, by the way). And, he marvels at how she made them with just some needles, yarn and her own hands.

There is power in handmade things.

That goes for sweaters. And jewelry, too!