one of these things is not like the others

I happened to have Sesame Street on the brain for the past few days, on the surface of things, seemingly out of no where. But I know not seemingly. Never trust a fart*, never dismiss coincidence.

I caught a tossaway news blurb about today being the anniversary of the 1969 inaugural broadcast of Sesame Street. Later in the day, I got a voice mail message from my mom pointing out the same. Long before she entered the teaching profession into which she would pour three decades of dedication, the bulk of which was focused on the specific matter of development of reading skills among her young charges, she was honing her skills on a couple of test cases: my brother and me.

I don’t recall the event that was the first Sesame Street broadcast; precisely in the same manner that recollection of the moon landing—three months and change prior—escapes me fully (I turned three in the fall of 1969), both are to this day honored and momentous events, and for both I and my brother were deliberately seated before the tube to watch unfold.

Again, I don’t recall it. I just remember Sesame Street as one of those consistent, inherently decent backdrop-to-life forces, reinforcing my developing cognitive and linguistic skills, and instilling some fundamental lessons in how to treat others with kindness and respect. And how when you do that—look!—it returns to you.

Golden rule sort of stuff, by any other name. And I suspect that those early lessons have returned to mind over the past few days as it’s become pretty clear that when and where rubber meets road, there are a whole lot folks who profess adherence to the teachings of a certain unnamed dominant spiritual figure but who are woefully inept at putting those teachings into practice.

But a couple very small scale delights happened to pop up as I did my armchair due diligence on the matter of the Sesame Street anniversary.

The first is local:

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov 10, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Bob McGrath, who has entertained millions of children and parents alike for 38 years as “Bob” on Sesame Street, has been named grand marshal of the Comcast Oakland Holiday Parade, which will be held on Saturday, Dec. 6.
The parade, which is coined “America’s Children’s Parade” and contains some 90 entertaining units, will march down the streets of Oakland beginning at 2 p.m. beginning at 11th and Broadway, working its way up to 20th and Broadway, and then turning right to Lake Merritt.
I am in agony at the likelihood that I will be required to work that day; this parade will pass mere blocks away from my apartment. I’d like to wave to Bob.
And, secondly, there’s this, having occurred on the same November 1969 day as Sesame Street’s launch:
Today in Entertainment History

In 1969, “Sesame Street” made its debut on PBS.

Also in 1969, “Led Zeppelin 2” was certified gold

 

 

I love that. I don’t think that I can possibly adequately convey how much. Or why.

*ATTRIBUTION: per friend Gabrielle, the entire triad of advice conveyed to her some time back was: never pass by a urinal, never ignore an erection, never trust a fart.

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About dave bois

Freelance writer with a strong pull towards environmental matters (water issues especially) that remains fueled by my study of and early-career practice in geology and hydrology. Music, food, dogs, current/political events, and visual arts combine to command much of the portion of attention not ceded to ecological concerns. Also Monty Python. I've sold a few pieces of original art and have made cab fare home playing saxophone. Native Mainah

3 thoughts on “one of these things is not like the others

  1. Thanks for this fine tribute to a happy convergence of prescient preschool parental awareness and public television programming at its very best. (Today’s alliteration has been brought to you by the letter “p”.)

    In my humble opinion, Jim Henson ranks along side Chuck Jones on my personal short list of great creative minds of the twentieth century.

    When and where else could a kid sit in front of the tube for an hour and acquire reading, counting and socialization skills, all presented in manner that modeled humor, plurality and, as you pointed out, decency? And get to hear the show played out by Toots Thielemans? Truly, Sesame Street epitomizes public broadcasting at its finest.

    Please wave hello to Bob for me if you get the chance.

    …never pass by a urinal, never ignore an erection, never trust a fart.

    Ah, the things Mr. Hooper never told us.

  2. I’ve always adored Sesame Street. My nickname as a tween was, Ms. Snuffalupagus, because I had a tendency to lurk on the sidelines known only to a few, but heard of by many. I’m still the same way, but the Sesame Street reference is gone.

    Hooray for Hooper and for Grover the star of my favorite children’s book, “The Monster at the End of This Book”. Good stuff.

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