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Obituaries & Charlie Brown

I have what my family might call a strange habit. I enjoy reading obituaries. Since I’m a professional writer, it has always been my job to write the family obituaries. A well-written one provides us with a glimpse of history about a time as well as a person.


This week producer Lee Mendelson passed over. He created the Charlie Brown Christmas classic and wrote the opening song, “Christmas Time is Here.” As I read through his list of accomplishments, I couldn’t help but think of this role he played in my life.


In December 1969, now 50 years ago, I lay in a hospital bed dying of pneumonia and spinal meningitis. I have few memories of that time as I was passing back and forth between the world’s, but I distinctly remember Charlie Brown Christmas was on the TV and I could hear the famous songs playing. It was as if they were calling me back to this side of the veil. I can remember my mother fully covered in a green hospital gown with a mask over her face to protect me from any germs. All I could see where her eyes and they were so frightened. I had a tube in my left arm pumping my veins full of antibiotics. I was terribly cold even though my body burned with a temperature over 105 degrees.


“Christmas Time is Here” kept playing over and over in my head. There is a mournfulness in the song and the choir singing reminding me of how much I loved to sing. To this day, Christmas music is one of my favorite parts of the holiday. I believe that’s because we can always play a song and feel better. Your cookie decorating party might cause a fight, or a parent might be drunk but a beautiful song can fill you heart with lightness and make us hopeful that better times are ahead.