[In] 1969, [Charles Schulz] funded the construction of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, aka “Snoopy’s Home Ice,” aka the “Coolest Place in Santa Rosa.”
The arena is still there, still going strong after more than 50 years.These days, it sits beside an even more impressive contribution to the region, the Charles M. Schulz Museum. Opened in 2002 and dedicated entirely to the artist’s life and work, the museum is a more impressive — bigger and more comprehensive — institution than I’d imagined as I planned my visit, foolishly allotting myself not nearly enough time to take it in. It’s the kind of place you go thinking you’ll dip in and look around for an hour and end up spending two and wishing you could stay longer.
… But what finally motivated me to drive the 100 miles north from my East Bay home was a pair of exhibits looking at Peanuts’ portrayal of its female characters: the inimitable Lucy, Sally, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Violet and more. Reading the comic again as as an adult, now as a mother to a young daughter, Peanuts’ treatment of gender has struck me again and again.