Sunday, July 1, 2012

...a friend

Twenty one years ago today, the Down Syndrome community lost a champion. Michael Landon was the spokesman for the National Down Syndrome Congress when our Annie was born. We first met Michael in Washington, D.C. at the NDSC convention when Annie was fourteen months old.

 How he could light up a room! He would step out of the elevator and you could tell he was genuinely happy to see his "special" friends.

He graciously signed autographs, gave hugs and posed for family photos. He was generous with his time, funny and so very kind.

The next time we saw Michael was at the NDSC convention the following year in Cincinnati. He remembered us, and when he saw us said, "Let's do it like we did last time." But Annie was not having any of it. She wouldn't go to him for the picture. So, instead of holding Annie...he put his arms around Mr. Mugwump...and me. My grandmother would swoon!

Not long after that day, he was gone.

To many, this fine man is known as Little Joe from Bonanza, Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie, and Jonathan Smith from Highway to Heaven. To those of us who were fortunate enough to have met him through NDSC, he was a friend...and he loved our kids.

Enjoy the day,


  1. What a wonderful post. I always admired Michael Landon, and of course had a crush on him. lol! Such a great man.

  2. Robyn ~
    What a great tribute!
    Hugs :)

  3. Hi Robyn,
    It is always wonderful to hear that those people you so admire ARE REAL and GENUINE!! I admired Michael Landon too and would be right there with Grandma!! *swoon*
    Thank you for sharing your sweet story and thank you too for always leaving me such encouraging comments!! You are so very special!!
    Warm Hugs and Sweet Moments of "Rests" to you today~~

  4. I always liked Michael too and enjoyed his shows. So wonderful, Robyn, to see he was a great person in real life too. Thanks for sharing this wonderful tribute. Hugs, Lori

  5. how old is annie now? I work for an agency that supports developmentally handicapped adults in all ways and my way is to help run a book store with 4 of our clients and my main girl is the same as your annie. she is funny and wise. She could really run the store if I wasn't there and reminds me all the time that she could.she just did track and field for special olympics I think 3 golds and a bronze. I am richer for knowing my folks. Michael knew he was richer for all the people he gave a voice to.

  6. I enjoyed reading your post Robyn.
    How nice it must have been, to have been aquainted with Michael Landon through such a wonderful cause.
    I sure had a crush on him back then, good to know that he was a genuine person.


  7. Robyn, I had to read that twice, when you said 20 years. Wow - 20 years that he has been gone. I didn't know that he was involved with NDSC. 3 of the little ones in our classroom are Downs kids and I couldn't love them more. The lone little girl calls me "Frank" (wish you could hear her say it!) instead of Mrs. Frank- she is the absolute cutest, most lovable child and also has a very determined attitude. If I had a "do- over" for college I would go the MH route to work more with downs kids. I love celebrating when we accomplish zippers, snaps,writing their name unaided, etc! Thanks for sharing your photos of "Pa". ~Ann

  8. Wonderful post. My SIL is developmentally delayed and she is a treasure. She has one of the quickest wits going and wisdom I wish I had. I treasure her. Thanks for sharing this story.

  9. Such a wonderful post. Michael was one of my all~time favorites to watch. Love that he made a difference! Your photos are certainly a treasure :)

  10. Very touching post Robyn, It is so hard to believe Michael has been gone that long...we all lost someone very special the day passed away. I still watch Little House on the Prairie every chance I get!! Beautiful pictures of you all!! Tina

  11. What a lovely post Robyn. I have always been a fan of Michael Landon and have always believed he was a caring, compassionate human being. Your post verified this, thank you. Happy Fourth of July, Julie.

  12. What a great post and how fortunate you and your family are to have been a friend of Michael. He was a great and compassionate man and I admired him very much. I love to watch Little House on the Prairie and anything he produced. JB

  13. Another wonderful post, Robyn - although it shocked me as well that it has been that long that he passed. He is still a part of our household every day I have to say....Even if we're not actively "watching" it, Little House and Bonanza are on at their designated times. He was truly an the very best of ways. Great photos! Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin