Remember when you could write a letter to a movie star, politician, or hero and get a response? My house is filled with framed letters to me from, amongst others, Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, James Stewart, futurist writer Isaac Asimov, Robert Goulet, the Lady-in-Waiting to Her Royal Highness, and Mr. Rogers himself. I wrote to him when my son was 2 years old, hoping he would write back. I thought a letter from him would be a nice remembrance for David, an avid fan of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," the pre-school television series that ran from 1968-2001. I love it when Mr. Rogers writes, "You are fortunate to have a mother who cares so much about what is important to you." With the two Mister Rogers films out in the past two years -- "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" (film, 2019) and "Won't You Be My Neighbor" (documentary, 2018) -- we especially prize this letter. It's like having something from the cool guy in town. One of my favorite Mr. Rogers quotes, and there were many, is: "All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That's one of the things that connects us as neighbors -- in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver." It's a good feeling to know that Fred Rogers was a "Television Friend" to us all.
Photo: Fran Collin Remember when you could say, "Geez, it's freezing out." Now, it's HOT!! It's mid-January and the temperature hit 66 this weekend. Global warming! No more winters with snowballs and hot cocoa from a thermos on a walk in the woods.
In my book, POUND RIDGE PAST, Pat Marshall Bartram is featured in the chapter "Barrels of Oil and Blocks of Ice" (page 40). She talks about life in Pound Ridge in the 1930s ... "In wintertime, we went ice skating, The big boys would clean off a whole section on the back side of the lake, drive their cars out on the ice, and go skating. We used to have real cold winters back then. By December 1st, we generally always had a snowman in the front yard ... We ice skated in December and January, but towards the end of February, Grandpa wouldn't allow us to go on the ice anymore." Now that's the kind of December and January weather I remember. To receive a copy of POUND RIDGE PAST, a book about life in Pound Ridge. New York from the 1920s -1970s, contact me at email@example.com.
At this time of year, I love sharing this wonderful anecdote on page 45 from my book, Pound Ridge Past(second edition).from Joseph D. Quillian, Jr., Pound Ridge Community Church pastor from 1946-1950. It's an excerpt from a letter written in 1973 to The Reverend T. Cecil Swackhamer. "I always remember with great warmth and a sense of lift-of-spirit the Christmas Eve services at Pound Ridge Church. The beautiful white church was always decorated with two Christmas trees on either side in the front, decorated with blue lights. Inside the church, there were numerous candles and beautiful crystal chandeliers. My wife Betty had (and has) a beautiful soprano voice, and Winston Sharples has a true and delicate tenor. The service consisted of the Christmas scriptures intermingled with solos and duets by Betty and Winston, with a brief sermon by me. The service always started at eleven o'clock and concluded at the stroke of midnight, at which time Carl Offen would go over to the Presbyterian Church* (for it was the only one that had a bell), and ring the church bell as the people left the service. Frequently, we would have a beautiful snowfall on Christmas Eve. Also, many people would have come to church from formal parties, and many were dressed in evening clothes." * Now Conant Hall