Meet Charlie Brown’s Little Red-Haired Girl
He is me. Charlie Brown is the he I am talking about. I believe he is probably you as well. I'm sure we've all felt like Charlie Brown at some point in our lives. Charlie Brown is the tragic hero of Charles Schulz legendary comic strip Peanuts.
Charlie Brown is just like us. We all wonder where we fit in this world. We all want our chance to kick the football. We all have fallen flat when the ball was pulled away at the last moment. And, we've all had that one distant love affair that we never quite actually had.
I want to focus on the love affair part. If you recall Charlie's love interest was a " little red-haired girl". Charlie often pined for her to come sit and have lunch with him as he watched from across the playground. He longed for a dance with her. He longed for the touch of her hand and the sound of his name on her lips. Alas, in the comic strip it never happened. In real life it did.
In the story Darryn references a relationship between a young art instructor and beautiful receptionist with bright red hair. The year was 1950. The art instructor was known as "Sparky" to his friends. The receptionist was 21 year old Donna Mae Johnson.
The young art instructor would often leave cartoon doodles on the receptionist calendar. She took a fancy to the young man and his sense of humor. A romance was born. If you haven't guessed the young man is Charles Schulz.
Darryn's story tells it much better than I ever could. There was a relationship but alas it was not meant to be. Obviously the yearning, the feelings, the unrequited flame of passion was never extinguished. Because in November of 1961 in the comic strip Peanuts the story line featured Charlie Brown longing for the attention of a certain red-haired girl.
The new Peanuts movie that is theaters now does something that the comic strip never did. We actually get to meet the "little red-haired girl". Up until the movie she had only been pictured as a silhouette in a 1998 comic strip.
I am not sure I am okay with that. I don't know that I want to see her in the light of day. I think we all have our own "little red-haired girl". The character represented for all of us that special kind of love that can only live inside the heart of the hopeless romantic. Without a face and a name she could be that special love for all of us. Charlie Brown could say out loud what we dared to only whisper in our hearts. I could use his voice to soothe my aching soul.
Who knew that all the time I was reading about Charlie and the "little red-haired girl" I was actually reading a true life love story? The characters were certainly real. The passion and the emotion was certainly real. The names were just changed in my mind so I could be Charlie Brown and dream across a playground for what my heart has yearned the most for, a certain little red-haired girl to sit beside me.