After 44 years Sonia Manzano, who played the character Maria on PBS’ “Sesame Street”, is bidding the show good-bye.
Considering she has been a part of the show for as long as I’ve been alive, I spent a large part of my childhood watching Maria living and working among the rest of the “street” gang. She was the one who always seemed to be there for Big Bird whenever he needed help or a shoulder to cry on. Oscar’s nickname for her was “Skinny”. She was one of television’s first Latina actresses. On “Sesame Street” as Maria she not only befriended many muppets, but also many other human residents of the “Street”. In the very early days she appeared to be hooked up with the character David. When Sonia became pregnant in real life they worked in a relationship and marriage to Luis, a character who worked in the fix-it shop. The two developed their relationship over the care of a kitten and after they were married, they went camping during their honeymoon.
Not only did Sonia act on “Sesame Street”, she also did writing for the show, winning 15 Emmy awards in the process. Through her talents she taught countless children everything from letters and numbers to Spanish. With her leaving it is almost like losing a piece of my childhood.
Although it has been many years since I’ve actually watched the show, the memories of “Sesame Street” and of Sonia Manzano’s character Maria, will always remain.