I just read that Jerry Nelson, the voice of Sesame Street’s Count, died.

Obviously I didn’t know him personally, and I’m sure that, had I not read about his death, I wouldn’t notice the difference the next time I catch an episode of Sesame Street. So while it’s always sad when someone dies, I have to be honest and say that I’m not all that torn up.

I am, however, thinking about how ingrained the Muppets are in my life. Whether I’m thinking of my own childhood or now the raising of my daughter, it’s interesting to see how big a part those funny puppets have played.

It’s a well-known fact that I love TV and books, but aside from the pure entertainment they give me, I love them for another reason. I believe TV, books and movies often serve as a cultural glue, holding our families and friendships and memories together in a way little else can.

  • I think of the way my mom – (fine! and I) – can’t seem to hear the word “llama” without singing “Me and My Llama” from Sesame Street.
  • I think of watching The Muppet Show in the living room with my brother and my parents – and then taking my daughter to see last year’s Muppet Movie, with my parents.
  • I think of how many of my family’s inside jokes are actually Muppet-related. That might seem kind of weird, but it’s who we are!
  • I think of the three years I spent with Smitty in high school French class, singing our French numbers to the tune of a Sesame Street song.
  • I think of how much fun my husband, daughter and I had on vacation last year, when we visited Sesame Place – or as Annalyn calls it, Elmo World.
  • I think of how tickled my daughter and husband get, sneaking up on each other and saying, “Mahna Mahna!

And I think maybe it is a little sad to say goodbye to one of Sesame Street’s beloved voices after all. And I’m thankful for these characters that, strangely enough, have been – and continue to be – one of the ties that bind us.

Did you watch the Muppets or Sesame Street growing up? Which Muppet is your – or your kids’ – favorite?

This post contains an affiliate link. But don’t let that slow you down. The Muppet Movie is hilarious and heart-warming and totally on my own Amazon wish list!

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