January 13, 2013

What became of life for grown-up 'Peanuts' characters?

If you’re at all like me, you don’t always read this column, and when you do, it’s not until after you’re finished with the nearby Sunday comics section.

There, even 13 years after the death of Charles Schulz, you can still be amused and charmed by the antics of Charlie Brown and friends.

For my entire life, the “Peanuts” gang has been around, and seemingly part of the family. Not a year goes by without an obligatory viewing of the Christmas and Halloween specials, and one of these days I will talk my family into an authentic Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Dinner.

“Peanuts,” however, first appeared in newspapers more than 60 years ago. In that time, a few characters aged a few years, but no one ever got past 8 years old. I, for one, have always wondered what happened when all those characters — now senior citizens — grew up.

Fortunately, the memoirs of Rerun, the youngest van Pelt child — “Living in the Shadow of the Blanket” — are soon to be released, and he has allowed me to print some of the revelations for curious fans.

Schroeder, the piano-playing wunderkind, dropped out of Juilliard to play keyboards for Creedence Clearwater Revival. He struggled with substance abuse — and once punched out both the Captain and Tennille in a bar fight — but he has a plaque at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Linus van Pelt has led an eclectic but successful life. He attended Stanford and briefly dated Condoleezza Rice, though they broke up over political differences. Inventing microwave popcorn made him a wealthy man, but he dropped from society, spending nearly a decade as a Buddhist monk, meditating in a sincere pumpkin patch at the foot of Mt. Makalu. He returned to his millions in 1997 and lives in peaceful retirement in Boca Raton.

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