Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I love you Charlie

As a life long fan of Charles M. Schultz & his beloved Peanuts characters,I had to visit the Charles M. Schultz museum located in Santa Rosa, CA. I finally got the chance last May. As I approached the museum, the Charlie Brown Christmas theme blared out from outside speakers. On the inside, cheery, enthusiastic workers in bright yellow shirts greeted every visitor. I asked the ticket seller what it was like to work there. "It's great that we get paid to be here," he replied. "No kidding!" I thought. And this response echoed on. “Best job ever”, the volunteer docent ticket replied to my inquiry. In her 70's, she told us she'd been a fan for years and was an honor for her to volunteer there.

In the video cove, I watched a short movie about the museum and Charles M. Schultz's life. The inspiration for the museum came from Charles M. Schultz’s wife and friend who wanted a place to house Schultz's work for everyone to experience. His wife even transferred his office so his fans could experience how her husband worked every day.

Thinking about his wife's affection for his work makes me teary-eyed. I have a certain sensitivity. I can feel the feelings around me. Once walking down the street, happily, I became overwhelmed with sadness. I turned my head, looked over, and saw a young woman sitting on a tree stand, crying.

Whether it’s a gift or a curse, I can tap into emotions. I think it makes me a stronger writer and possibly a better humanitarian. Because of this “sensitivity” I don’t venture to places lightly. A sport’s bar can be toxic to me. Not that I dislike sports, just the anger that can erupt around when a goal isn't scored. Such emotions hurt my inner being. As I passed by the exhibits I became overwhelmed with tears. But these were happy tears. I realized it was because there was so much love in the museum. Everyone who came to the museum, young & old shared this love and filled up the museums walls. And this filled up my inner being with happiness.

Upstairs were the relics of Schultz’s life: His early drawings; His World War II uniform; His first printed cartoons - all the things that made him the artist he was. In another room was where his wife moved his office. He had a giant desk, of course. Opposite that were glass-cased bookshelves filled with books upon books ranging from Dickens to Fitzgerald (I’m going by memory, I can’t remember them all). He had a bust of Beethoven, of course, and Mozart.

Ruminating on what he chose to surround himself by, I felt Schultz's cared deeply about the world and this influenced his work daily. I loved his cartoons as a kid. I didn't realize the irony in his work until I was an adult. Regardless, I felt the love. Perhaps he had the "sensitivity" too and channeled it into his work.

Everyone has their own reason to be drawn to his work. For me, it's his humanity and great spirit as an artist. And that's why I love Charlie. And I truly appreciate the rarity of place to have so much love in it that I became overwhelmed with joyful tears.

1 comment:

Amber said...

Thank you for explaining so beautifully what this is like.