Monday, September 7, 2009

Thought this might interest you...

I woke up early this morning to return some emails before meeting a dear friend for coffee. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that I had received an email from Ms. Betty Aberlin...Lady Aberlin from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood!

If you've read the About Me section of this site, you know that this Ugga Mugga blog was named in honor of my son's favorite character from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Daniel Striped Tiger. Him and Lady Aberlin would affectionately rub noses (Eskimo kiss) while saying "ugga mugga" in the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

So this morning I opened my inbox and saw an email with the subject line "thought this might interest you...." from "Betty Aberlin." In the email, Ms. Aberlin directed me to The Neighborhood Archive: a collection of all things Mister Rogers. The specific post she linked to was a collection of Daniel Tiger observations and details, in which she posted a reply explaining the origin of Daniel Tiger and her use of "ugga mugga." Here it is:
"my first boyfriend's mother, Bessie, had told me that 'ugga-mugga' was a catchphrase from the roaring twenties. I brought it, and the Eskimo kiss, to Daniel's clock, and at first Fred did not like the expression of affection. I had been raised with Kukla, Fran & Ollie, and Fran often expressed her love for Kukla and Ollie by touching them. This made them more real to me. Daniel, who came more and more to embody the earliest of the Early Childhood Development stages, was very real to me, and very dear. Since Fred was not physically demonstrative, and did not want me to be touchy-feeley with the puppets, I was able to honor Bessie, to bring my profound fondness for Daniel, and my grateful appreciation of Fred into the 4 syllables of "nonsense". It was always hard to say goodbye to Daniel, and the "ugga-mugga" became a loving ritual for us.

Since Daniel was a growing tame tiger, and his new stripes sometimes itched, Lady Aberlin sometimes scratched the new stripe....

and I believe that 'by his stripes we are healed' pertained to Daniel, and his unguarded vulnerability, truthfulness, and humble candor. He is a precious soul, as all children, young and old, are.

thanks from

Betty Aberlin"
I quickly replied to Ms. Aberlin thanking her for taking the time to contact me and doing my best to humbly explain just how much her, Mr. Fred Rogers and ficticious Daniel Tiger mean to me. She quickly replied once again. As you can imagine, it was a memorable day for me!

I hope you enjoy learning the origin of this blog's title as much as I did. And as I said in my email to Ms. Aberlin, "Who would have guessed that all of these years later that simple conversation where she (Bessie) mentioned 'ugga mugga' would touch so many? It's proof that even the smallest gesture can have a huge impact...from a mighty acorn..."

So choose your words and actions carefully...who knows what or whom they will inspire!

Visit The Neighborhood Archives ( for much, much more interesting Mister Roger's insights!


  1. This is lovely. These characters mean a lot to me as well, and I love hearing that it's because they meant a lot to their creators as well.


  3. Same here... My 2yr old now comes up to me and does ugga mugga... He must of really thought it was something special since he copied it from Daniel Tigers Neighborhood

  4. So happy children and their parents are connecting this way! I started and named this blog after my son's obsession with the original Daniel Tiger many moons ago. He is now nearly 9 years old. Snuggle your little ones, pull them onto your lap, and enjoy their smallness, for tomorrow they'll be another day older. Ugga Mugga!

  5. That is really cool. A friend of mine told me it was "I love you' in German. And started using it with my family. For Christmas my family put it on a necklace for me. We also just found out my friend's father got it from Mr. Rodgers. Great story!

    1. I love you in German is "ich liebe dich" but I still think ugga Mughal is very adorable

  6. My daughter and I say it to each other everynight before she goes to sleep I love hearing her say that. :)

  7. Lady Aberlin and Daniel Tiger were both my favorites when I was little. I'm disappointed there is no Lady Aberlin on Daniel Tiger's neighborhood, although I and my 4 yr old daughter love the new show.

  8. Wow!! Love this post. I didn't even know what my toddler was doing when he said, 'Ugga Mugga', so I Googled it and came across your post. Thanks so much for this. Funny what our kids can teach us.

  9. My daughter is 4 years old today. She started saying "Ugga mugga" and rubbing noses this week when she was happy about something I did for her or with her. Melts my heart! Thank you for sharing this background!

  10. I am so glad you posted this!! I remember Ugga Mugga and I loved Daniel Tiger and Mr Rogers as a kid (I'm 37 now). I have used the term Ugga Mugga with all three of my own children when we do an "eskimo kiss". This is one of my sweetest memories as a child and so nice to see that "Lady Aberlin" took time out to tell you the story behind it.

  11. I was a faithful watcher of Mr. Rogers...can't say I remember the "ugga mugga" myself. My 3 year old daughter loves watching Daniel the Tiger and started saying "mucka mucka" and rubbing my nose. This has become a major thing for her and I and I am so happy to find out where it came from and how loving it is!!

  12. Thank you so much my daughter is almost a year old and we watch daniel tigers neighborhood and it reminded me so much of a show as a kid so i finally remeber the trolly off of mr rogers neighborhood and was telling my husband that i know there is a connection to the two and sure enough! Also my daugher at almost a year old will give mommy eskimo kisses this is something i have done with her since she was born! It was something i have always thought was the coolest thing...well recently my husband started saying ugga mugga to my daughter and i was just curious what it meant and here i am lol!