Saturday, September 20, 2008

The WIDEST Day of All

I don't think I've ever written here about my passion for the life and work of Charles Schulz. Well, it's time I did that because yesterday was the most amazing day, right up there with the birth of my boys, as far as memorable experiences go.

To frame the event you must know that I've read practically every book ever written about Charles Schulz and have admired the humor, insight, and creative genius of the Peanuts comic strip for as long as I can remember. I know everything about Schulz and the characters he created because I love them. I knew that I'd grown to love the person of Charles Schulz when I broke down and cried upon hearing of his death back in 2000. It was the first and only time I remember becoming so emotional over the death of someone famous as if I'd known them personally.

I've wanted to visit Santa Rosa, CA for as long as I can remember because I knew that Schulz lived and worked there. I knew that you could find him in the Redwood Empire Ice Arena where he ate breakfast and lunch every day, and I knew that his studio was within walking distance of the rink. I'd also known that plans were in the works before his death to open a museum in honor of the man and his work. I even wrote and was turned down for a grant from the Fund for Teachers organization last year in an attempt to visit Santa Rosa and the museum and be able to enrich the lives of my students by sharing my passion with them. Simply stated, I've been a serious student of Charles Schulz and his work for years and years.

For now, I'll just say that due to the generosity of a friend, I was able to fulfill my life's dream of visiting Santa Rosa and the Charles Schulz Museu
m yesterday. It was INCREDIBLE. I cried tears of joy off and on during the entire visit. I could hardly believe that I was there. The entire experience was a complete surprise. I told my friend that I literally could not have been more excited if he'd announced yesterday morning that I was going to spend the day in Florence, Italy.

Welcome to the Charles Schulz Museum.

I took this picture for a friend of mine, and I'm going to let him figure out who he is. *wink*

This is the education room where classes are held and where adults and children can create artwork in response to their experiences.

One of the most moving pieces of the permanent exhibit for me was the recreation of "Sparky's Studio" where Schulz created the comic strip every day. Most of the artifacts in this space are the pieces of furniture, pictures, pens, curios, and the actual books contained in his personal library that surrounded him each day as he worked. I was, again, moved to tears as I entered this space. I wrote down many titles from his library that I intend to read.

These pictures were all taken outside the Ice Arena where I ate lunch at the Warm Puppy Cafe'.

The day was absolutely FUN. It was difficult for me to drag myself away and I did so, again, with tears of joy over the fact that I'd been able to experience something I'd been looking forward to doing for so long.

And then, it was as if God looked down and said, "you know, Pam is so completely happy and grateful and so incredibly full of joy, I think what I'll do is just take that up a notch and let her know without a doubt that I'm right here watching and that I like what I see." I can't even write this now without sitting here bawling my eyes out.

A lady approached me in the parking lot and said, "I just want to let you know that it's meant a great deal to me to see you having fun here today. I was having a business lunch with my stepson at the Warm Puppy and we couldn't help but notice how much you've enjoyed yourself. I'm Jean Schulz."


I gasped. And the tears came again. Tears of indescribable joy. And she extended her arms to me and hugged me. And then, the wife of the man who's philosophy, art, attitude, and, theology have impacted not only me but an entire WORLD, stood in that parking lot and talked with me about her husband, his life, some of his motivations, and about the characters he created. She talked about a particular strip where Charlie Brown and Sally are having a conversation about days. Sally asks Charlie if the days are getting longer or shorter. Charlie's reply was to say that days are not long or short but narrow and wide. Jean went on to say that she loved that concept because there are days that do feel narrow, as if they are closing in on you. And then, there are other days that are wide and are giving you room to expand.

THANK YOU, Jean Schulz, for giving me the WIDEST day of all.

Today's experience was an example of God's infinite grace bestowed so abundantly on me.


kurt_t said...

Wow. Now I want to go to the Charles Schultz Museum!

Bonjour Matey! said...

Oh my gosh. I'm so happy for you. That is so cool!

Mark and Patrick said...

How ASWESOME Pam...what a blessing and a half! I can't imagine how you are feeling.

Kat said...

HUGE blessing grows "huger" because you shared it with us! Thankyou, Pam! LOVE the idea of 'widest' days.

Inheritor of Heaven said...

That is cool. He grew up in St. Paul, MN and there are tons of those peanuts character sculptures all over town, my kids grade school even had one. I love seeing the theme of each one in regards to where they are placed. I am sure the museum was very fun indeed.

Carol said...

This post give me hope that in my future there will be that much joy. Thanks for a wonderful entry.

grace said...

Carol: You know what...I've thought about you so much....and you encourage me to live my life in ways that give you hope.

There IS hope, even when we don't see it or feel it. I trust it. I know that you do as well.


love you! [[[[[hugs]]]]]

tdub68 said...


I give up.

Who'd ya take the picture for?!!


Thanks for calling me to share the day's experience. I was overjoyed for you! (And so were the boys--both of them realized the significance of "Jean Schultz!")

grace said...

same person i had you taking pictures of me for when i was in g-town.