Listening last night with my hubster to Are We There Yet?, an episode of NPR’s On Point (we are big radio fans), it hit me that two of the most influential public television stations – WBUR/Boston (where On Point originates) & WQED/Pittsburgh – are rooted in wildly improbable beginnings. In a large-boned, effusive woman with a singular way of addressing her audience & a duck ~and~ a soft-spoken, kindly man who conversed with a king & kids.
Yes, it’s a bit of a flip from radio to television, but my mind managed it nicely, thank you.
Julia Child & Fred Rogers were beyond improbably, “Are you kidding me?” television stars. Speaking to them at a party, the term “paradigm shifter” would probably not have crossed your mind. Yet both were. And both took their respective television & affiliated radio stations into BIG time broadcasting.
That touches me deeply, inspires & gives hope. At this moment in time, I am excitedly diving into wondrous new projects, taking me in directions that have beckoned for years. (One of the great advantages about being 66 rather than 33 & certainly younger is the ever-present thought, “If not now, when?“)
It’s a good time for me to ponder Mr. Rogers & Mrs. Child.
Consider the incomparable Julia. Last year’s book, The Gourmands’ Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy, is a marvelous meander through post-war Paris & how a “ragtag band of passionate epicureans (with an assist from a certain Francophile First Lady) transformed American cooking.” Hands down, the greatest transforming factor was Julia Child, who entranced & inspired the masses to master the art of French cooking.
The current film about Fred Rogers vehemently underscores the amazing fact that this man not only had/has an astonishing impact on our American culture, but that he was successful from the very first, not in spite of, but due to his modest demeanor & soft-spoken ways.
Both Julia Child & Fred Rogers became the most super of super stars by just being themselves. WBUR & WQED, both of which achieved fame prominence power thanks to their marquee stars, were founded on a woman & a man committed to quality integrity authenticity.
Quality integrity authenticity – as improbable as it may sound in today’s slap-dash, short shelf life, helter skelter culture, those three qualities are still the basis for genuine, long-lasting, satisfying accomplishment.
My thanks to Mr. Rogers & Mrs. Child for the well-timed reminder to carve out my own path, to set whatever it is I serve on the table with confidence & verve, telling all & sundry, “Isn’t it lovely? It’s JUST the way I like it – dig in!”