On November 10, 1969 a ground breaking show named Sesame Street debut. Since yesterday was the birthday of the woman who dreamed the show and brought the show to reality and in the process changed children’s television forever, I thought we would all like to know a little more about Joan Ganz Cooney.

Joan Ganz was born on November 30, 1929, in Phoenix, Arizona. She was raised in a conventional, upper-class household, and attended North High School, Dominican College and the University of Arizona. Though she was initially drawn to the world of theater, at her family’s insistence she pursued a degree in education and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1951.

After college, Ganz developed an interest in journalism and began her career in media as a newspaper reporter for the Arizona Republic. By 1954, she moved to New York City and worked as a publicist for various networks over the next decade. She got her first opportunity to create television programming as a documentary producer for public television in 1962 and won her first Emmy Award, for Poverty, Anti-Poverty, and the Poor. She married her first husband, Timothy Cooney, two years later.

While Cooney enjoyed her work, she found that she wanted to be able to make more of a difference in people’s lives and began to think about the possibilities of using television as a teaching medium. After conducting a formal study on the subject, she used her findings to help convince others of television’s potential for children, and—with financial assistance from the Carnegie Corporation, the U.S. Department of Education and the Ford Foundation—she established the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) in 1968. With her vision beginning to take shape, Cooney immediately set to work producing its first series, the perennial favorite Sesame Street.

Taking inspiration from the style of television commercials, the show had a quick pace intended to hold children’s interest and featured a variety of educational segments in each episode. Along with its multiracial cast of actors, it also featured a number of puppet characters, known as the Muppets, which were created by the late Jim Henson. Sesame Street premiered on the Public Broadcasting System in November 1969 and has remained on the air ever since. Watched by millions around the world it is one of the best-known and best-loved children’s television shows in history. During its nearly half-century run, Sesame Street has earned more than 150 Emmy Awards,

Underlining Cooney and the CTW’s commitment to educational children’s television, in October 1971 The Electric Company premiered on public television. Geared toward primary school children, the show used comedy sketches, appearances from comic book heroes and a variety of other segments to teach important reading skills and featured Morgan FreemanRita Moreno and Bill Cosby among its original cast members.

Cooney also played a role in the creation of other programs, such as the science-based program 3-2-1 Contact (which ran from 1980 to 1988) and the math series Square One TV (which ran from 1987 to 1992). After divorcing her first husband in 1975, she married businessman Peter G. Peterson in 1980.

In 1990, Cooney relinquished her role as president of the CTW but has remained involved as chair of its executive committee. Now renamed the Sesame Workshop, it continues to thrive in its mission to “help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.” For her part, Cooney remains actively involved with the development of Sesame Street as well as the strategic planning of the organization.

For her creative vision, drive and revolutionary work in children’s television programming, Cooney has been bestowed countless honors. In 1989, she received an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 1995 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998 and received a National Endowment for the Humanities Award in 2006. Cooney has also been awarded countless honorary degrees and in 2007 founded the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a nonprofit dedicated to children’s education and literacy.

 Please feel free to add a link to your post about an inspirational woman in your life in the comments section.



Bernadette at http://www.HaddonMusings.com

Jacqueline at http://www.Acookingpotandtwistedtales.com

Joan at http://www.familyparentingandbeyoned.wordpress.com

Oneta at http://www.onetahayes.com

This is my week and since it is Women’s History Month, I bring you a quote from one of the most progressive women of the 1970’s, Billie Jean King.

Don’t let anyone define you. You define yourself.

Billie Jean King


There once was a boy

named Bobby.

Who said women champs

were folly.

Along came a girl

named Billie.

Who said Bobby was silly.

Billie hit such a volley,

she left Bobby kneeling,

looking up at his

glass ceiling.


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I invite you to come and join me on this pilgrimage to change the world through thankfulness.  Perhaps if enough of us join together we can change the negative climate that exists and is overtaking our planet. Together we can move our fellow citizens of to a better, higher and finer place.

This week finds me thinking about my youngest son, Stephen.  All of my sons hold their own special place in my heart and Stephen’s place is the baby.  Obviously, from what I just said he is my youngest child.  From the very start Steve’s easy smile and sweet temperament made him very easy to be loved by me and by everyone else who met him.  With Steve I marked all the endings of a mother’s journey – no more sweet baby smell, no more walks in a stroller, no more short pants, no more preschool art projects, no more Santa Claus, etc and etc.  And I marked all the last beginnings – first grade, little league, singing in a choir, first dance, middle school, driver’s license, high school graduation.  I am thankful that Steve and I shared all those fleeting, enchanting moments.  And I am very thankful to have the opportunity to visit Steve this week.  I have missed him.

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Bernadette at http://www.HaddonMusings.com

Jacqueline at http://www.Acookingpotandtwistedtales.com

Joan at http://www.familyparentingandbeyoned.wordpress.com

This is Joan’s first week as host and has presented a wonderful quote from James Baldwin:

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

This quote reminded me of the following song lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein for South Pacific.  When I was raising my children I always referred back to them.

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Rogers and Hammerstein

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Last Thursday evening Dom and I had the unusual pleasure of babysitting our grandchildren on a “school night”.  We did all the things grandparents do to try and make a school night visit special.  We made pizza, had strawberry shortcake, and rented a movie.  We even allowed them to play in Dom’s 20 year old sport’s car that is stored in the garage.


The next morning started with a laugh from a very a very early breakfast conversation.  Dom had left for the gym which is what he does every day.  Lucas asked me why Pop Pop goes to the gym every day.  I replied that Pop Pop likes to stay fit because a long time ago he was fat and he decided he would never be fat again.  I said, ” Lucas you should ask Pop Pop to show you his picture from those days when he was fat.”

Well Lucas looked at me in horror and replied, “I don’t think so MeMe.”  “I think that would be too disturbing for me to see.”

I think I am still chuckling over the thought of Dom’s old pictures being rated PG.

Like old Art Linkletter used to say, “kids say the darndest things”.

Wishing you loads of innocent chuckles this week,





Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Marcel Proust

I was invited to a birthday party on Saturday.  It was a surprise birthday party for my friend, Linda.  I have known Linda for a very long time.  We met when we each were carrying our first child.  These sons will soon turn 40.  It amazes me the amount of time I have been friends with Linda.

We have shared some very fun and funny experiences and we have shared some very tragic.  We have raised our children in the same town and our husbands have the same profession.  But I couldn’t help but wonder are these the things that have made us friends all these years?  What is it about someone that makes them a friend and keeps them a friend.

Oh, I know the usual answers – caring, good listening, trust, generosity, etc.  These are all very important ingredients of friendship but I still felt that there was some intangible reason that I hadn’t figured out.  Then I came across this quote from Proust.  It revealed to me the intangible reason – friends simply make you happy and therefore you want to keep them in your life.

So, Happy Birthday Linda.  Your friendship for these 40 odd years has simply made me happy.  Thanks for the happiness and helping the garden of my soul to bloom.

Wishing my readers a week filled with opportunities for your soul to bloom.