Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

Did you watch Fred Rogers?  Did you sing along with him, perhaps as you sat with your very young children and watched him put on his cardigan and sing "... won't you be my neighbor."

Fred Rogers grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  He was born in 1928. ( A year later, Arnold Palmer was born in the same small town.)  Latrobe is a railroad town, 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.  There were good jobs in the railroad days, jobs we now call "family wage jobs".  A main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad ran through Latrobe.  The short haul Ligonier line ran along the Loyalhanna Creek through a deep mountain gorge and then on a spur to several coal mines.

No doubt, Latrobe was a neighborhood.  Coal hauling, railroad repairs, engineering, smithing, taking in laundry and preparing meals.  The population was under 10,000.  People knew each other's name.  Your neighbor knows your name.  Your neighbor gives you a hand.  Your neighbor waves in passing.

We have come to live in a neighborhood.  Kids on bikes.  An ice cream truck playing familiar nickelodeon tunes.  Cats in the sun washing and sleeping.   Mr. Rogers urged his young audience to be a neighbor by sharing, protecting, respecting.  Latrobe is proud of this native son - for good reason.

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