Charles Schulz died Feb. 12, 2000. This column ran March 3, 2000. There is no connection between this column and today’s I Swear Crossword.
We’ve been saying goodbye to the creator of “Peanuts.” Others, especially columnists and cartoonists, have likewise been saying farewell.
“Luann” (by Greg Evans) spotted Charlie Brown’s kite in the tree, saw a football sailing, and found Snoopy’s typewriter.
Many have written me to share their emotions and reflections on “Peanuts.” I shared some of that last week. I have one more missive to print. From a friend requesting anonymity:
“I have a special place for ‘Peanuts’ in my heart. Especially Charlie Brown.
“In the 4th grade I was a budding author and playwright. I wrote short stories and plays. Most were copied from things like ‘Star Trek’ or ‘Peanuts.’
“I participated in a production of ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.’ Sponsored by my teacher and cousin, Bobbie Ann, who has since passed away.
“I played Charlie Brown. It’s my claim to fame back home.
“When I see old friends from school, they say to me: ‘All I got was a rock.’ Some folks still call me Charlie Brown when they see me.”
I paused, pondering what it would be like to have people call you Charlie Brown well into your 30’s. The good news is, it didn’t happen to me. But to my friend, who continues:
“Charlie Brown never grew up and, as far as we know, he never experimented with drugs or alcohol to assuage his feelings of inferiority or depression. I expect he would’ve been a prime candidate for AA at some point later in his life.
“Lucy would’ve probably smoked Marlboros. And laid in tanning beds until her skin turned into leather. A permanent-brown Lucy would scarcely be visible at the slots in Vegas. Or Tunica.
“Linus, I imagine, would’ve been successful in whatever field he chose. But in an odd sort of way, if you know what I mean.
“As to Snoopy – well, I’ll always see my old friend Warren playing Snoopy in our school program. Warren went on to captain a B-52 bomber. And so I see Snoopy enlisting in the Air Force. And making a bombing run from Barksdale Air Force Base to Iraq and back during the Gulf War.
“Peppermint Patty would have made her tomboy qualities work for her. I see her getting a good education and escaping blue-collar anonymity, which she would have feared greatly during adolescence. She and Chuck (Charlie Brown) never married.
“Charlie’s sister probably became a teacher.
“Charlie’s teacher never won Teacher of the Year, but was remembered fondly by everyone.”
Here the character sketches of the adult “Peanuts” gang abruptly halted.
“I loved ‘Peanuts.’ I’m sad Schulz died, though glad he died well.
“I got more than a rock during the run of our play. It was such a hit, we performed it many times from the 4th through the 6th grade – a three year run!
“I bet that ol’ Great Pumpkin is still out there, probably with Bobbie Ann. And Charles Schulz.”
Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.