Sonia Manzano has announced that she is retiring from Sesame Street and, after 45 years, the show is going on without Maria.
That news makes me a little wistful about the passage of time, naturally. Maria showed up on the Street in 1971, five years before I was born. As a little kid, Maria was my favorite of the human characters on the show. Sonia Manzano is just so charming and talented, and in addition to teaching me how to count to 10 in Spanish and all about Latino Christmas traditions, she's also probably the reason why I always find myself so powerfully drawn to Latinas. I had the kind of crush you have on a woman when you're way too young to understand what the infatuation means. So the way I processed that as a kid was that I really wished Maria could be my mother. Kids.
In celebration of her time with Sesame Street, the show has put up a very nice album of photos of Manzano from her four and a half decades with the show. Everyone whose childhood was touched by Maria will remember her. She has a memoir coming out later this year, Becoming Maria, which I can't wait to read.