In the mid-90s I was living in Santa Rosa and, because I was young and clueless, decided on whim to go visit Charles Schulz at his home in Santa Rosa.
Yes, THAT, Charles Schulz. Cultural icon. Creator of Peanuts and the mischievous and lovable (and secret agent — -shhhh!), Snoopy.
I knocked on his door and after a few moments, there he was Mr. Schulz — -creator of the Peanuts. I quickly introduced myself and told him I was a big fan of Snoopy and Woodstock and before I knew it, he invited me in his house for lunch.
I met his lovely wife, Jean, his scruffy dog (who was not named Snoopy) and was even more shocked when he asked me to call him Sparky, not “Mr. Schulz.”
The funny thing is that we didn’t really end up talking about about Peanuts, but instead our conversation drifted into a discussion of cultural anthropology, Wallace Stegner and current events.
Sparky (it still doesn’t seem right to call a cultural icon by his nickname!) couldn’t have been nicer to this idiot college kid who randomly showed up on his doorstep.
In real life, Charles Schulz was just as kind, understanding and genuine he characters he drew for over half a century. Thank you, Sparky (and Jean!) for your kindness on that day and for 65 years of Peanuts!