Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Under the Influence

“When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for having been there.” –Jim Henson

Forty years ago Sesame Street premiered on PBS on November 10, 1969. Just three weeks later, on December 7th, 1969 I was born.  I grew up watching Sesame Street every morning, The Muppets and then Disney on Sunday. (It was always a win when it was a cartoon, remember?)

On Sesame Street the characters seemed to always reflect different aspects of my personality. Sometimes I would be grouchy, like Oscar, and sometimes things just wouldn’t work out like I thought they would, and then I could relate to Grover, or sometimes I just didn’t understand or I was trying to figure things out and me and The Big Guy, (Big Bird) would have a connection.  I didn't realize it at the time but looking back, I can really see the influence.

As I got a bit older and The Muppet Show played I remember laughing and crying but also thinking at some of the performances. “The Rainbow Connection” and the “Buffalo Springfield Song”, which I only remembered as “Stop Children, what’s that sound…” but I still remember it to this day and although I didn’t understand it, it made me sad. Today, seeing The Muppet Show brings back memories of our green shag carpet and an orange “leather” couch, (hey, it was the 70’s) and mom making hot dogs (red ones of course) and putting French fries in a paper bag to salt and soak up the oil. Popping popcorn in a metal pot on the stove. Every Wednesday night hotdogs, almost every Sunday night, sausage and ham with homemade biscuits and applesauce, watching The Muppets and Disney, with my family, traditions, memories, and influences.


We are all under the influence of something, as children, it is what we are surrounded with that influences us. Kids today seem to look down on Sesame Street and The Muppets, or at least on the outside they do, but inside, I wonder if perhaps they long for that innocence, when your biggest challenge as a 4-year-old was learning your letters and getting along with your big sister.

Our children today are used to “higher levels” of entertainment, but I’ve seen some of those shows and the overwhelming theme in the programming seems to be getting away with as much as possible without getting caught and there is no honoring of parents, respecting of adults, or really respecting of themselves. I understand that “things are different now” and perhaps I’m turning into one of those adults who thinks everything was better “back in the day”. Not really, I like change and enjoy some of the advancements that we have made, like cell phones over bag phones, now that’s an improvement I can embrace and easier to carry.

What is influencing you now? What do you allow to have an influence on your life, on your children’s lives?  "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?" and maybe we can make “The Rainbow Connection” the lovers, the dreamers and me.

Thank you Big Bird, Grover, Kermit and Oscar, and thank you to my mom and dad, for all the memories and all the smiles, I’m thankful I got to be under your influence.

Go here to see the difference between Sesame Street then and now

Happy 40th Birthday Sesame Street!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks... Now I have Sesame Street theme song playing in my head