Sixteen years ago this month, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz died. As a child of about seven to nine years old, I was fanatic about the Peanuts comic strip. I had many books, puzzles, figurines, a plush Snoopy and Woodstock, a dixie cup dispenser; so much from an already enormous mass of the comic’s decades of merchandise. My grandma, uncle, and aunt were gracious in adding to my collection, gifting Peanuts stuff they had from the ’60s and ’70s. Lots of freetime was spent reading and pencilling drawings focused on Snoopy and the gang, or variations thereof. I even enjoyed listening to my friend’s dad’s loaned vinyl, The Royal Guardsmen’s Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron.
In 1988, I wrote to Schulz, but don’t remember what was reflected on the paper. Likely, there were simple illustrations and unabashed praise. In January of 1989, I received a letter back, presented by my dad, and was ecstatic. Though the response was not personal, nor written or signed by Schulz, it was appreciated and displayed proudly in my bedroom. Through the years, my good ol’ Charlie Brown and co. collection has been given away, damaged, or stored, but the letter remains protected.
During the months of 1989, my attention had rapidly turned to more mature comics. The change was initiated early on by Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and was irreversible when I discovered Batman and Bloom County. My Snoopy phase offically ceased when I boxed up my collection following a phone call with a friend and introspection regarding new discoveries and interests. However, I still fondly recall the joy reading and collecting Peanuts offered me as a child, even if I was a bit obsessive.
Mr. Schulz will always be remembered for the happiness his art gave me and millions of others, and as one of many stepping stones in my life’s evolution. Thank you greatly, sir!