This week starts the 37th season of Sesame Street, the place I used to visit every afternoon in my childhood days. As part of this new season, the folks at the Children's Television Workshop are introducing a new character, Abby Cadabby, a fairy in training. Her big round eyes and her purply pink pigtails are adorable and she waves around her magic "training" wand causing all sorts of things to turn into pumpkins unexpectedly. Recently moving from Fairyside Queens, this 3-year old is scared about meeting new people and friends, but her friends on Sesame Street are there to help her adjust to her new environment.
Sesame Street takes a lot of heat from folks because of the apparent underlying liberal messages but, as a grown-up, I owe a lot to Sesame Street. You see, as an only child, many times, the television was my way to learn how to interact with others. My Mom monitored my viewing, but she'd let me watch Sesame Street unaccompanied, and she'd join me for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood right after. I learned numbers, letters, and all about far off lands from my hour with the folks on Sesame Street. And, I was a viewer when only Big Bird could see Snuffy and Mr. Hooper was still alive. As an older person, I was glad they addressed Mr. Hooper's death and explained to children where he went. I couldn't wait to hear, "Today is brought to you by the Letter B."
So, welcome, Little Miss Abby. I hope you bring joy to lots of little apprehensive children who are scared to start school alone, frightened by having no friends, or simply absorb your method of making friends. Maybe they, too, will be willing to reach out and make new friends.