Losing a childhood hero

I let out a tear a few weeks ago.  

The actor who played Louis Rodriguez, Sesame Street’s fix-it shop owner for 44 years, starting in 1971, passed away. Emilio Delgado died at the age of 81, after a two-year battle with cancer. 

We didn’t watch much television as a young kid, but I was allowed to watch Sesame Street and Electric Company. I didn’t notice that Louis was a Latino or that he broke barriers. I simply loved that he was so calm. He was friendly to everyone who came to his shop, he didn’t get upset or angry, and he found a solution to every problem that someone brought to him. He became my favorite character, right up there with Big Bird.

I was sad about the state kid’s television even prior to hearing about Emilio/Luis’ death. I was sad because Arthur, the longest-running animated series, aired its final episode in February on PBS after 25 years. 

I was disappointed to think that the next generation of children won’t grow up watching the brown aardvark with glasses and his iconic yellow sweater. When so much of what is available to kids on television is mindless, I always found Marc Brown’s series to be child-friendly and entertaining. The series aired a total of 195 episodes highlighting the lives of Arthur, his family and friends in the fictional city of Elwood. Arthur explored real-world situations, teaching kids how to get along with others, be thoughtful and master the art of remaining calm in challenging family situations.

When my kids were little, I loved played with them on the floor and having the TV in the background. Of course, they were drawn to Thomas the Tank Engine & FriendsMadeline, and even Clifford, the Big Red Dog. And if you were to really twist my arm I would probably throw in Barney and Blues Clues.  

I loved that the shows were a safe place for my kids to go and to be entertained. I loved too that I could share that with them. 

Yes, I’ll miss Luis, but I’m glad that he taught me the value of peace and calm. Here’s hoping my kids got the same kind of lessons from their favorite characters. 

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