Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Childhood Joy in the Sun

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to volunteer to help out COSI for the festivities when the OSU studios were moving to share space with them. Part of the family days included storytimes by a few librarians like me. The big, fancy event the night before, however, included one of my heroes, Caroll Spinney, who created Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. I got to speak with him at that event, but the next day noticed that he and his wife actually observed about 10 minutes of my storytime! I was thrilled out of my gourd!

The ladies who were my contacts at COSI knew what a crazy fan I was and told him I'd love to talk to him again, so they waited around a bit. I told him what a huge influence Sesame Street had on my life, my creativity and even my career because they always thought about what children really needed so that they'd be motivated to pay attention to the parts that would be informational. It is so entertaining that children don't even realize they're learning. I also told him that we sing the song "I Love Trash" (one of Oscar's hits) at our house, and he said "Let's sing it together now". This first picture was taken when we were singing together. You can see that I totally became a kid again with him (I know, not a stretch to imagine).

Imagine playing the most recognizable character in the world (Big Bird) and never being recognized on the streets. He is an amazingly down-to-earth and kind man, just the way you hope he'd be. I will never forget that brush with fame, that day when my hero took time to make me feel special by singing with me . . . in public . . . about trash.

Do you have a favorite song from your childhood? I have hundreds, but the bright, beautiful day outside makes me think of this one:

Sunny Day!
composed by Joe Raposo

Sunny Day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street

Come and play
Everything's A-OK
Friendly neighbors there
That's where we meet

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street

It's a magic carpet ride
Every door will open wide
To Happy people like you--
Happy people like
What a beautiful

Sunny Day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame street...

How to get to Sesame Street

How to get to...


Jim Brochowski said...

Wow! This literally gave me goose bumps.

I had no idea Cat.

I was never a big fan of Sesame Street until the twins were born. K still loves it to this day. Last week, she convinced D that they would go do something when the commercial came on. But of course, since they were watching Sesame Street there were no commercials and K enjoyed the thrill of watching one of her fav all time shows with her little sister. ;-)

I have had Oscar the Grouch on my key chain since my kids were born to remind me that life is supposed to be fun, and the part where you're a kid is that important, or something like that.

Great post. Thanks for sharing your brush with fame.

DrLori71 said...

Jim tweeted about this post so that's how I ended up here.

That is an amazing story! I love Sesame Street! My first son watched it often. My second son didn't watch it as much...he preferred Spongebob (mainly because that's what son #1 was watching). We did take the kids to Sesame Place in PA and they had a great time.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Julie said...

How geeky am I that before I read the post or what it was about I saw the pic and thought, "Hey that's Big Bird naked!" Yes, I actually recognized the little tiny pic of Spinney.

I absolutely love that he offered to sing with you in public and that you took him up on it. What a great world this would be if we followed our joy more often

I had no idea you were doing stuff at COSI. Who were your contacts there? I've got peeps there!

knitsb said...

Very awesome!!!! Another reason I like you so much Cat. YOU'RE an inspiration to people!

LynneF said...

What a cool experience for you! I love the Sunny Day song - if I had an iPod I'd put it on there. I prefer the original version with regular kids singing it rather than the more recent permutations with Elmo and new arrangements, etc. Do you have the DVD set of SS Old School? My sister got it for me for Christmas last year and I've enjoyed watching it with the girls and introducing them to Mr. Hooper and life without Elmo.

Tennnnnnnn... coconut creammmmmmm... pies!!!!!!!!!!!! 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1!

Cat said...

Life without Elmo . . . ah, they were simpler times. I don't have that set, and I'm sure Si would scoff at them right now. That's not to say I won't look for them for myself! I do find favorite tunes on Youtube alot.

Cheryl said...

I missed this post somehow. WOW. That must have been great. Man I love Sesame Street and love watching with the kiddos now...."on my way to where the air is sweet" LOVE. AND Mr Rogers. I swear thes lines make me teary EVERY time -- "It's such a good feeling, a feeling you know that I'll be back when the day is near and I'll have more ideas for you. And you'll have things you'd like to talk about. I will too."

Cat said...

It makes me sad that I never got to meet Dr. Fred Rogers while he was here on earth, but I know that he is with God, and I plan to spend some good times with him in the presence of our Lord when I get there. I will have things I'd like to talk to him about. What an amazing legacy he left us.