Charles Schulz and I Might’ve Drunk from the Same Water Fountain

Well, it’s that time of year again.

I’m dreaming about white water rafting through a river of mashed potatoes.

Soon, it’ll be snowing on Snoopy’s french toast.

And before we know it, Good Ol’ Charlie Brown will be scrubbing gravy stains off his zigzag shirt for his quest to find the perfect tree and true meaning of Christmas.

FreeI have two claims to fame that come to mind this time of year.

1.) I’m related to a Pilgrim who fell off the Mayflower but was rescued by a boat hook. I’ll write about that some other time.

2.) I was born and raised in Minnesota just like Mr. Charles M. Schulz, the shy, complex, self-deprecating genius behind Peanuts and the gang.

It’s true! For all I know, we touched the same door handle to the entrance of the State Capital, stepped on the same stone paver at the Como Zoo, sat in the same church pew in the St. Paul Cathedral. Heck, we might’ve even drunk from the same public water fountain!

Imagine drinking from the same water fountain as the guy who sculpted all those masterful conversations packed with existential depth. That legend who thought up the stories involving a depressive, but resilient globe-headed kid, a beagle who’s working on the great American novel, and a gang of precocious, blanket-carrying, piano-playing ragamuffins who live in a neighborhood where there’s:

  • an ice rink
  • a pumpkin patch
  • a baseball field
  • apparently not much adult supervision, except for at school with Mrs. Donovan and Miss Othmar who both sound like they’re talking with their mouths full of marshmallows
  • and a psychiatry booth on the corner where you can get life-changing advice, such as “Go home, and eat a jelly sandwich folded in half” for a nickel.

Genius. Pure genius.

Why do we love Schulz’ s Charlie Brown so much? Well, other than the fact that he’s loyal to his friends, his little sister, his self-deluded little dog, and his baseball team who leaves him standing alone on the mound in the torrential rain, many of us, in some part, can relate to the angst-ridden loner.

As a kid, it just felt good that I wasn’t the only one feeling unsure about myself and getting the “ball” pulled out from under me by the popular girls.

I still get a case of the Charlie Brown Blues from time to time, feeling inferior to others and like I’m making the same mistakes over and over. But unlike Charlie Brown, I’ve got a laugh track. Laughing at myself, my foibles, and lots of other silly things I notice throughout my day is, in part, what gets me through.

Sometimes, I laugh even when all I really want to do is crawl under the covers and weep. There’s a lot going on in the world right now that’s making me want to weep. But there’s also a lot going on that backs up my deep-down belief that goodness will always prevail.  

There’s another very important thing in my life of which poor Charlie Brown could use more—a cast of people who’ll watch my back when my kite gets stuck in a tree.

He’s got Linus, though. Thank goodness for Linus. Maybe one loyal Linus is all we need. Linus’ forgiving, loyal spirit, like the shepherd who watches over his flock, radiates that which Charlie Brown seeks—the true meaning of Christmas.

That’s not to say I have anything against mixing in a little Santa Claus and ho-ho-ho and mistletoe and presents to pretty girls (or to a certain midlife mom of three with holes in her socks who’s hoping to find some new fuzzy ones under the tree).

My Top 10 List of Brilliant Peanuts Quotes

On February 12, 2000,  Schulz died in his sleep from colon cancer. It was the night before the last of his nearly 18,000 Peanuts comic strips was published in the newspaper.

charlesschulzIn his honor and for a little holiday cheer that we could all use right about now, I’d like to leave you today with my Top 10 List of brilliant Peanuts Quotes, written by my fellow Minnesotan who empathized with the underdog, had the courage to share what he believed in, all while putting a big smile on millions of faces.

Talk about influence!

CLICK HERE: My Top 10 List of Brilliant Peanuts Quotes

Julie Jo Severson is  a former PR girl, now freelance writer, editor, and mom of two teens and a tween. This blog Carvings On A Desk is where she doodles about past, present, future clinking glasses and making peace.

About Julie Jo Severson

Julie Jo Severson, former PR girl, is now a freelance writer, journalist, editor, and lost-and-found attendant for two teens and a tween. This is where she doodles about past, present, future clinking glasses and making peace.

21 comments on “Charles Schulz and I Might’ve Drunk from the Same Water Fountain

  1. That’s so so cool that you were neighbors! I bet you DID drink from the same water fountain or touched the same door handle. What a fun post. And I love Charlie Brown Christmas movie. We watch it every year. Also – looking forward to the story about your ancestor getting rescued with a boat hook. Yikes! Like the anchor? Thank you for linking up! xo

  2. I love the quote you highlighted, oh yes, we all need to learn to laugh at ourselves. I’m taking the kids to see the Peanuts Movie tomorrow. I’m so excited that they’re excited. I was afraid it wouldn’t be modern enough for them, you know? They were very unimpressed with Rudolf. Broke my heart.

  3. Oh, I hope they like it. I’m sure they will! I took my 10-year-old to it yesterday, and she loved it. But I know what you mean, they don’t have as much appreciation for the oldies, but goodies, like we wish they would. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Thanks Nina! I needed a little comic relief. I could sit and watch old Charlie Brown specials all day. Yes, the Mayflower story is percolating! It might have to wait until next Thanksgiving at this point, though.

  4. When I was a child I was madly in love with Peanuts. I wrote Mr. Schulz a letter and he replied on his Snoopy stationary, personally addressed to me and signed. That letter is one of my most valuable possessions.

  5. I love that Sharon. I remember writing a letter to Donny Osmond, asking for a lock of his hair (I know, kind of creepy–but oh my gosh, did I ever have a huge crush!). I did get a form letter in reply, but sadly, no hair. . .

  6. I loved reading that…so fun, so insightful… When I was a kid, I remember clearly feeling so sorry for Charlie Brown that I would cry. I still feel bad for him. So I try to avoid that Christmas cartoon.

  7. What a lovely tribute to a man ahead of his time.

    (With all the crazy in the world right now, we could use some of his existential depth masked in a cartoon, couldn’t we?)

    So happy to find your blog, Julie.
    (And my California son applied to U of Minnesota. I might need some advice come September 2016 – ha!)

  8. Thank you Julie and for the nice message on Twitter. I hope that we’ll connect again. Good luck to your son with choosing a college. My husband and one of my sisters went to the U of M. Big place! But in a very fun town.

  9. My stuffed Snoopy was one of my favorites as a kid – I loved watching the Charlie Brown specials. My kids are quite as enthralled, which saddens me.

    I laughed at the seventh quote in your link…when I was reading one of my daughter’s college essays, I told her the same thing that Charlie Brown said. Don’t write “it goes without saying” – either say it or don’t!

  10. Oh what a fun post to read, Julie!! I surely have some serious Charlie Brown in me, and honestly all of these amazing characters and their unique traits too. Great quote you shared!! Laughing out ourselves is quite honestly one of the best things we can do sometimes… Lord knows I have laughed HARD and LONG and OFTEN.

    I used to LOVE watching all the specials on TV! You’ve reminded me to make sure to catch them all this year too…. classics like those never get old. 🙂

  11. Thanks Chris! I had a lot of fun writing this. I truly think Shulz is a genius. My Mom LOVES comics, which she calls the “funnies” and has kept a scrapbook of all her favorites. My oldest daughter started doing that, too. Who couldn’t use a 3-ring binder full of “Funnies”?

  12. —–AWWW,

    Sweet Charlie Brown.

    I just adore the Christmas Special and watch it every year! I love when Snoopy decorates his dog house.

    I dig that little, ugly Christmas tree. And I loooooooooove how the TRUE message is revealed.

    I agree, true genius!

    xx kiss from Minnesota.

  13. That’s awesome that you and Mr. Schulz were neighbors! I loved Peanuts when I was a kid and even more so now that I’m a adult and have a child of my own. I used to watch all the Charlie Brown specials just for the sake of entertainment, but as I grew up I learned so many more nuggets of wisdom from the Peanut gallery–like laugh at myself and treasure the value of friendship.

    Thanks so much for sharing this endearing piece with us on #SHINEbloghop. It’s a great reminder that the little things, even a comic strip turned tv special, turned movie, teaches us so much about life and others.

    Wishing you a great weekend 🙂

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