Today we spent the entire day at the old stomping grounds of one of Charles Schulz. If you have never been to the Charles M. Schulz museum in Santa Rosa, CA, you should make plans to check it out soon. This place is a diamond in the rough. The building is beautiful and the galleries are an artist’s dream. While there we got to hang out with Jeannie Schulz and guest children’s book author/illustrator team Steven and Carmela D’Amico of the Ella the Elephant series.
Our day began with a tour of the original strip gallery that changes every quarter. While we were there the topic was pop culture and the strips had us laughing out loud. The comfy couches in the room invited you to sit and flip through scrapbooks of photos and newspaper articles about the life of Charles Schulz. And in the adjoining room were featured other cartoonists who inspired and knew “Sparky” personally.
The highlight of my day was seeing Jeannie again. She had come to speak at Wake Forest University here in NC a couple of years ago, where we met in an elevator as we were both late to her talk. I didn’t even know who she was until we walked into the room and everyone started applauding. Jeannie is the most down to earth, kind and genuine person I know. During her talk that night I learned she was a pilot (and inspired some of Snoopy’s Red Baron flights) and we hit it off instantly. Since then we’ve stayed in touch and she has kept my dream of flying someday alive.
While we waited for Steven and Carmela to finish up a book signing, Jeannie invited us to head over to the studio and see where Charles actually worked (and where she currently works). Walking into the studio was like walking into a toy lover’s paradise. Snoopy was everywhere. Model planes were everywhere. The furnishings in the studio itself were mostly moved over to the museum, but standing there where Sparky worked was awe inspiring. My favorite room was that of one of the licensing agents who worked exclusively with licensing Snoopy to toy companies, clothing designers and more. Her office was crammed with samples sent from these companies. I decided right then and there that if I ever had to work a day job, I would want one in an office as bright, cheery and fun as that one. And of course, I bought myself a giant stuffed Snoopy from the gift shop.
After our tour and their book signing, Steven, Carmela, Olivia (their little girl), Jeannie, I enjoyed root beer floats at the ice rink next door to the museum for a couple of hours. It was magical to be sitting in a place Charles enjoyed so much and Jeannie clearly loved to share with others!