Yes, Virginia, there is a Charlie Brown!  I don’t know if a lot of people know this, or whether I’m the last one, but Charlie Brown of the Peanuts comic strip is an actual person.  I learned this at Mass last Sunday.  The priest was talking about humility and he gave Charlie Brown as one example.

Charlie Brown is a real person, a very good friend of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.  They met at Art Instruction, Inc. in Minneapolis, where they both worked as instructors.  They struck a lifelong friendship.  One time, Charles asked Charlie if he could use his name in a cartoon he was creating. And no, Charlie does not physically resemble his cartoon alter ego.

After leaving Art Instruction, Inc., Charlie became Director of a juvenile detention center in Minneapolis, where he was quite well-loved.  Peanuts went on to gain international fame, but Charlie never once told anybody that he was THE Charlie Brown of the comic strip.

I liked how the priest ended the story:  “Imagine, for 20 years, the children who went to the detention center came looking for Charlie Brown, never knowing that they were indeed getting THE REAL CHARLIE BROWN.”

Read more about Charlie Brown, the person.