Friday, February 13, 2009

Snoopy Come Home

This Day In Boomer History
February 13, 2000
Charles Schulz's Final "Peanuts" Comic Strip Runs

Let's face it, "Peanuts" was the ultimate Boomer comic strip. It was even born when we were, first syndiacted in newspapers on October 2, 1950. Sure, I realize that comic characters are ageless (despite the Rugrats being "All Grown Up"), but in my mind Lucy, Schroeder, Violet and the crew were the ultimate in baby boomers. We grew up on them and - like them - a lot of us never really grew up.

Since I was born after they were, I've known the Peanuts gang all my life. I was born after James Dean died and before the character of Fonzie was created, but I always had Snoopy to define what cool was. Charlie Brown, of course, was the lovable loser, the guy who meant well but never seemed to reach his goal. (And haven't we all been there, done that?) I've known plenty of crabby fussbudgets like Lucy, and I still remember my own teacher's "Mwa Mwa Mwa" as I struggled to pay attention in geography class.

I'm a Linus, by the way. I think most people relate strongly with one of the Peanuts characters or another, and I've certainly felt an undeniable bond with Linus Van Pelt since my own childhood. It probably started simply enough - both of us were thumbsuckers into elementary school. But I could also relate to Linus' spiritual side. He was the peacemaker of the group, the one who stood up or backed down to Lucy (and knew when it was best to do either), the one who was a faithful friend to Charlie Brown, hanging with him on that wall when all the others ignored the Sunday comic's most unpopular guy.

We followed Peanuts even as we grew into adulthood. We still embrace our inner Snoopy or Lucy; we sit cross-legged on the family room floor while we introduce our children to the classic holiday specials, still laughing when Charlie Brown makes popcorn for Thanksgiving, or sympathizing with Sally when she realizes she blew her entire Halloween sitting with Linus in his "most sincere" pumpkin patch. (Yes, I score high on the sincerity meter, but not so much on common sense, too.)

It's hard to believe it's been nine years since Peanuts last graced our funny papers. Charles Schulz, the creator, the artist, the heart of the comic strip, passed away on February 12, 2000 - the day before the last panel ran. I think he knew his work was done. But the characters he created, the legacy of Peanuts, will live on in books, on videotape, and in the hearts of all of us who remember the funnies as the best part of the paper.

So who's your inner Peanuts character?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mary:
    My younger brother says I am definitely a Lucy. Maybe he's right. A little bossy, even though I'm a Pisces, too.