Mysterious happenings and Charlie Brown | Mark’s Remarks

Long ago, I taught third grade in a dingy, smelly room with faded, dreamsicle orange paint on the walls.  For an accent color, the painters chose battleship gray. Perhaps the colors had been acceptable in the 1950s when my classroom was first painted. Perhaps I am inadvertently insulting someone who carefully chose those colors after much research. I just never thought an elementary school classroom should have such colors.

I spent nine years in that little classroom. I got used to the smell (caused by the dirty carpeting) and learned to cope with the colors. I hung up some colorful stuff. I had the kids paint pictures and decorate the walls.

One day as I was most likely shopping for things a bachelor needs (yes, I was a bachelor back then), I perused the clearance aisle and found several rolls of contact paper with Snoopy on them.  Most teachers check out the clearance aisle.  Not knowing exactly what I’d use the contact paper for, I snatched up all they had and purchased them.

When I got back to my classroom, I had a  brilliant idea. I would cover the battleship gray borders of my bulletin boards with this contact paper. Then, I’d never need to change the border.  If I was careful, I might even get by with not changing bulletin boards much at all.  You see, changing bulletin boards and having a cool classroom was important at the time.  I doubt it made me a better teacher, but appearances were far more important then than they are now.

After that, I realized how easy it was to draw Snoopy.  You slap his likeness on the overhead projector, trace him on white posterboard and you’re done. He is white. You don’t need to color him. Again, brilliant.

Now, I had always been a fan of Charlie Brown. I was never a fanatic, though. My whole relationship with Snoopy and Charlie Brown started with that discount contact paper and my lazy tracing idea.

After that, my students started bringing me all kinds of Peanuts stuff.  I practically have a museum in my classroom after all these years. I’ve grown to become more of a fan over the years due to the enthusiasm of my students and I now find that I wouldn’t part with any of that stuff.  Fanatic, I suppose, I now am indeed.

I have made sure my students watched the Peanuts holiday specials every year, letting them  know when the shows would be on network television.  I mean, really, you can’t get the full effect unless you watch on television. What would Charlie Brown be without those Dolley Madison commercials, after all?

The other day, I was Googling so I could tell my students what time and what date the Thanksgiving show would be on. By the way, it’s on this Wednesday on ABC.  Don’t miss it. I hope you get this information in time, because what I’m about to tell you will intrigue you. You will definitely want to tune in.

Did you know there are some unexplained things that go on during “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving?”

I learned telephones appear out of nowhere. Watch the scene where Chuck calls his grandmother. It’s a little spooky.

There are plenty of other strange happenings.  During the now famous toast-pretzel-popcorn meal, pink ice-cream sundaes seem to appear and disappear. Chairs are rearranged before our eyes. Marcie, who often mimics her friend Peppermint Patty and calls Charlie Brown “Chuck,” not only calls him by his real name, but also refers to him as “Charles.”

And what about Lucy? Oh yes, she’s there for the whole football kicking gag, but did you ever notice Lucy does not appear for the rest of the show?  I mean, her own brother Linus jumps in the back of the station wagon at the end and heads to Grandma Brown’s house (or maybe it’s Mrs. Brown’s mother, I don’t know) with the rest of the gang. Yet, Lucy is absent. A forceful girl like Lucy misses out on such an outing?  Strange.

I won’t even discuss the absence of adults.

It was also odd that my students recently watched “The Great Pumpkin” and one of them noticed Sally and Linus did not get any candy due to their late night vigil to get a glimpse of the Pumpkin himself. Yet, in the Thanksgiving show, Sally complains that the holiday is upon her (meaning Thanksgiving) and she hasn’t even eaten all her candy yet. Hmm. Perhaps someone slipped her some on the sly. Unexplained.

Perhaps the worst happening is at the end. Snoopy brings out the turkey and pumpkin pie and sits down with his sidekick, Woodstock. They eat happily.  Did you ever think it strange that Woodstock scarfs down turkey? It makes some folks shudder, I’m sure.

Yes, some will say it was just sloppy animation. Charles Schultz was in a hurry to get the show drawn and whipped out in time. The writers forgot about Sally’s midnight rendevous with Linus in the pumpkin patch.  Lucy had an issue with her contract. Dolley Madison didn’t approve the ice cream sundaes.  On and on it goes.

I’m sorry, but I’ve been watching this holiday offering for years. I never knew such mystery accompanied it.

I plan to watch with a different outlook this year. The whole thing has been tainted a little, I’m afraid.

Now I’m starting to think about the Christmas show. I’m sure there’s some hidden meaning behind that weird dancing scene.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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