Yesterday, I stumbled across the HBO documentary about Sesame Street and my heart was full. For those of you like me, who were born in the 70’s, Sesame Street was a huge part of my life. Watching the documentary about why it resonated and the purposeful manner in which it was created, added to my love of the show. Those characters, both real life and puppets, remain in my psyche today and it was so nice to revisit them in such a meaningful way. And the documentary really emphasizes something we are purposefully advocating today – representation matters.
Even though there were few South Asians on the show, there were many Black and Latino characters, and as a child, those were the characters I loved. Gordon, Maria, Susan, Luis – they were comforting to watch. People had accents, like in my world and there were different skin tones, just like in my family.
My childhood was pretty structured. There was a period of time, where my mom was going to school and my father was working nights. He took care of me during the day. As an engineer by training and in personality, our days were pretty regimented. We had 1 car growing up and my mom attended the Humber College campus on Lakeshore in Etobicoke and we lived in Mississauga. My dad and I would drop off my mom at school and then my dad would take me to a park – down by the lake, High Park, the forks of the Credit Valley – you name it, my dad took us. And it was a brisk walk – not play time only. Exercise would make me strong, was the belief. But when I tired out, my dad would prop me onto his shoulders and continue his walk. Unfortunately, I was pretty mischievous as a child and in the winter, while on his shoulders, I loved to pull his hat over his eyes. Caused me giggles. I never felt safer than when I was up on my dad’s shoulders. We would then return home for a big breakfast, and then the day proceeded to schedule. Bath time, Mr. Dress Up and Sesame Street on TV, lunch and then nap time. I was always learning something in the afternoon – drawing, math, English, music – you name it. Then it was time for the switch – mom came home and dad left for his job as a security guard. Like most immigrants, it took time for him to finally receive an engineering job.
And watching the documentary, took me back to that time in my life, where my dad was a big part of my life and where our bond really grew. He really took care of me and would do my hair (for the 70’s – a big deal) and introduced me to the world and expand my horizons. I am blessed to have those days and memories to look upon. And just as explained in the documentary, he would sometimes watch Sesame Street with me, and I enjoyed that the best, because it felt like another shared experience.
And now, with the 3 kids of my own, when they have down time, they love to chill out and hang out with my husband and I. Whether it is watching a movie, cooking or playing games – they like it better when it is with us and when I reflect on my childhood like I did last night, I appreciate why, even more.
And watching the Sesame Street documentary – I felt really fortunate that I had those role models on TV growing up – they made a difference to my life. Ask any of us from that era and we know the number counting song, can sing about Rubber Ducky and understand the pain of feeling different being “green”. Thank you Sesame Street for providing such a great foundation and example which has so positively influenced the world today and especially myself – it makes a difference!
But that’s just one Diva’s view.
#Sesame Street #HBO #representation matters