Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Christmas in July

A friend gave me these two books recently that she found at a relative’s yard sale. To say I was happy is an understatement along the lines of saying most politicians are a little corrupt. I have collected Peanuts memorabilia since I was 6 or 7 years old. I wish I still had all the things I had as a kid but much of it was thrown out or broken or misplaced over the years and many moves. The one thing I still have is my collection of several dozen of these paperback books. They were published by Fawcett and were reprints of daily and Sunday strips that had already been collected in larger, more expensive books. This was a budget alternative to have all the Peanuts strips in your possession. They collected all the daily strips from 1952-1988 when publishing was stopped.

One of my fondest childhood memories is after church on Sunday afternoon, my mom and sister and I going to the Bookland on Edgar Street in York to look around. My first stop was the humor section to look for a new Peanuts collection. If all they had were old ones I was palpably disappointed. If there was a new one I didn’t have it was like Christmas morning. If we hadn’t been there in a while and there were 2 new books, I became Homer Simpson drooling over a box of donuts.

The rest of my Sunday afternoon would be spent on the floor reading through the cartoon strips contained in the books. They didn’t take long to go through so I would re-read them several times until my favorites were memorized.

Back to the books my friend gave me. I took them home figuring I already had them in my collection. I certainly don’t have all the volumes that were published but I have several dozen. What were the odds she had found one or two I didn’t have? So I took them over to the book shelf that holds my treasured Peanuts books. One by one I went through my titles. When I was done I had 2 brand new books to read. I didn’t have either one in my collection. It was Christmas morning on a July afternoon and my cat wanted to know why I was so excited about something that clearly had nothing to do with her.

People ask me why I like Peanuts and there are several reasons. First and foremost they make me laugh. I know not everyone thinks they’re funny but they consistently give me at least a chuckle. Being a writer myself I am in awe of Charles Schulz’s use of language and loving words I was always excited to learn a new one. I still remember learning the word perspicacity from Linus when talking about his teacher.

Everyone can relate to Snoopy and his cool demeanor. His ability to morph into anything from a World War I flying ace to a vulture sitting in a tree would make any kid jealous. It works on adults too who have boring jobs and need to pretend to make it through the day. But one of the big reasons I love the Peanuts is I can relate to Charlie Brown. I’m wishy-washy just like him, loved sports but wasn’t that good at them like Charlie and as a kid nothing ever seemed to go right for me. Now that I’m older and my hairline has receded and my bald spot grows exponentially larger every day I’m starting to resemble Charlie Brown as well.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to lie on the couch and read my books.

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