Nellie Doneva/Reporter-News Author Tim Madigan speaks at the Texas Author Series at the main branch of the Abilene Public Library Monday, May 11, 2015.
Nellie Doneva/Reporter-News People attend a talk by Tim Madigan
at the final presentation for the year of the Texas Author Series Monday, May 11, 2015.
ABILENE, Texas - A perfect spring day - upper 60s, slight breeze, blue skies - served as the perfect setup for Tim Madigan's introductory remarks Monday as guest speaker of the Texas Author Series.
"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood," Madigan
said, quoting the opening line of the theme song from the television show, "Mr.
Rogers' Neighborhood," which aired on PBS from 1968 to 2001.
was the final speaker for this year's author series, which is held each spring at the Abilene Public Library
A former reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Madigan has written several books, including, "I'm Proud of You: My Friendship With Fred Rogers."
Madigan's friendship with Rogers, founder and star of the television program, began in 1995 when Madigan was writing a newspaper series on how violence on television affects children.
During a conversation, Madigan
surprised Rogers with the question, "Would you be proud of me?
On July 1, 1996, Madigan
received the answer in a letter from Rogers.
"The only thing that mattered to him," Madigan
said, "was that I was in pain" and that the pain was now gone.
Rogers' responses to Madigan
were no different from his
responses to everyone he
called Rogers "one of history's great human beings" because of his
ability to focus solely on the person he
was talking to and being genuinely interested in that person's inner story.
wanted to know what lay at the core of the person he
was with, Madigan
said, and had a favorite saying,"anything mentionable is manageable.
Talking about a situation, no matter how painful, made it manageable.
related a story about attending a church service with Rogers in Pittsburgh, where Rogers lived until his death in 2003.
Most people were embarrassed and audibly sighed in relief when the woman finally sat down and shut up, Madigan
Her words didn't make sense to Rogers, Madigan
said, but they made sense to her and that was all that mattered to Rogers.
said, "is what human greatness looks like."