Searching For John-John

You know how you’ll be watching a Culture Club video on YouTube, and someone in the comments will inevitably dump all over current pop culture and say that everything “back in their day” was better?

80s better

A true voice of authority

Yeah, I’m not going to do that.

But I kind of am.

You see, Wee Cee is more interested in watching vintage Sesame Street than watching the new stuff on TV. That’s not to say that the new stuff isn’t compelling or worth its weight in graham crackers, but when you have a toddler, you end up watching what they like. Luckily for my husband and me, Cee prefers the stuff that we grew up on.

Namely, John-John.

Courtesy Children's Television Workshop

Brought to you by the Children’s Television Workshop. And the letter A for awesome.

John-John was a three year old who appeared on Sesame Street when the show was in its own toddlerhood in the early 70′s. He talked with Herry Monster, Grover, Bert, and Sherlock Hemlock about counting, feelings, and friendship. The skits are heartwarming and tender, so much so that this is not the first time I’ve brought him up.

I talk a lot about how important it is to me and B to raise Cee in an intimate, safe place, and I believe that that’s one of the reasons why the John-John sketches appeal to us all so much. In the skits, John-John and the Muppets create a space where a child can be a child and a Muppet can be a Muppet. Cee learns about up and down, and I learn a little about teaching my child to feel entitled to her emotions. Just like that, Sesame Street is still teaching me things, 30 years later. It’s pretty much the best. We’ll forgive the whole Katy Perry/ Elmo snafu.

There’s just something about John-John. His innocence wasn’t staged, and the emotions he expressed are as pure as they come. His joy and unabashed adorability made me wonder where he is now and what he would have to say about his experience on Sesame Street. I’d love to ask him what factors he thinks contributed to his childhood kindness and empathy, and what it was like to have a physical, real connection with Sesame Street as a child. I’d love to thank him for being who he was.

Then it occurred to me that there is no reason that I cannot tell and ask him these things. He’s a real person. He’s not trapped in a TV or my computer.

So I googled him to try to track down an email, which, as you might imagine, was a little hard considering his name is John Williams. However, using the Muppet Wiki*, I learned that Mr. Williams joined the Air Force as a young man and even made an appearance in uniform on the 20th anniversary special of Sesame Street. He married, had two children of his own, studied to be an accountant, and aspired to be a Tejano singer in San Antonio. The paper trail kind of peters out past 1998, though.

*Yes, that is a thing; the world is amazing so don’t write it off just yet.

So I’m taking to the blog. Do you know John Williams III? Do you know someone who knows him? Do you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows him? You get it. Connect with me on Facebook orTwitter or email me at thewaitingblog(at)gmail(dot)com. Help me find John-John!

Please pass this post along because I’d love to tell Mr. Williams all that he means to my family and me. We’re lucky to live in a time when the world is made smaller by social media, and I hope to put it to good use finding and thanking him for being Cee’s favorite non-puppeted Sesame pal. (In case you wondered, Cookie Monster is her favorite Muppet. She calls him by name: Coo-KAH!)

I’ll keep you all updated on any developments I have in finding our favorite Sesame kid!



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