Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The end of the affair

At the New York Observer, Nicholson Baker on David Michaelis's Charles Schulz biography
After an affair in his 50’s with a woman of 25, Schulz had Snoopy say, “Can a person really be in love with two different snowflakes at the same time?” Schulz’s wife, Joyce, was, by many accounts, a difficult woman—belittling and bossy in ways that resembled Lucy in the comic strip. She built an ice arena, and managed the Peanuts Visitor’s Center. She and Schulz squabbled a lot.

The affair happened this way: One day a young businesswoman named Tracey came to visit. Tracey was flirtatiously admiring of the crew-cutted, professorial Schulz, and Schulz was very taken with her gold-green eyes and her perfect little nose. They skated together and had a snack at the Warm Puppy, the restaurant at the Peanuts ice rink, and eventually they had an affair. Schulz was a “red-blooded American man,” she said later. He wrote her letters extolling the greenness of her eyes and the perfect shape of her nose. But he didn’t leave Joyce.

Eventually Tracey got tired of waiting. She had other suitors. Schulz wrote her more letters about her eyes and her nose, but Tracey, by then, knew that Schulz wasn’t the people-loving Will Rogers she had thought he was—that he was in fact massively egocentric and impossible to make happy and that she really couldn’t spend her life with him. He proposed to her as they sat in a restaurant by the water. She didn’t answer. His eye flitted to a large sailboat sliding by, and he said, “If you married me, you could have anything you want. I make four thousand dollars a day.” Her heart fell, and that was the end of the affair.

2 comments:

  1. Pretty much impossible to have read a lot of _Peanuts_ and to cling to the notion that Schulz was conventionally "well-adjusted" (or a quiet American).

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