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'He Had a Spark' That Created a Link With All Children

 

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Tribune Review
AUTHOR: By Bill Zlatos
DATE: February 28, 2003


‘HE HAD A SPARK’ THAT CREATED A LINK WITH ALL CHILDREN
By Bill Zlatos

Fred Rogers’ gentle way with children knew no bounds – not even language or culture. Olivia Petruska, 14, of Aspinwall, was 5 and newly adopted from a Russian orphanage when she met Rogers, a friend of her mother. Olivia was attending a brunch with her mother, Marge Petruska, at the home of Bill and Marty Isler in Squirrel Hill.

Olivia had just left St. Petersburg two or three weeks earlier. Not knowing a single word of English, she played with the Islers’ English spaniels. Olivia was a lonely 35-pound girl with glasses.

Suddenly, Rogers knelt down next to her, making sure that her head towered over him. Then he crooned some of the songs from his television show, including “You Are Special...

-- Read this complete article at triblive.com

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