Friday night I was invited to have dinner with Carole Hart because it has become clear I have a slight obsession with the book she co-created, Free To Be You and Me. The 35th Anniversary Edition has new artwork by local artist and children's book author Peter H. Reynolds and he graciously invited me to join them at a local Japanese restaurant. I promised not to break into any Free to Be songs.
She told the story of how Marlo Thomas brought her a set of tales to counter the traditional ones currently read to children. She encouraged Marlo to find stories that were even more challenging to the stereotypes of the day - that girls had to be pretty and boys couldn't cry. That only girls played with dolls and couldn't be athletic.
But what made me nearly fall over was hearing her talk about starting Sesame Street. She was one of the original writers for the show and won an Emmy in 1970. This woman, and her late husband who wrote the lyrics for the Sesame Street theme song, had an incredible impact on my life and those of millions of children. I was sitting across a sushi boat with a woman who has truly made a difference in the world.
And it took all my power not to cry.
Sweeping 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 do you handle meeting an icon?