Charlie Brown Never Found His Little Red-Haired Girl, but We Did
Donna Johnson Wold’s hair, which was once, in her own words, “violently red,” has long since faded to the white you’d expect of an 86-year-old grandmother.
Having lived her whole life in Minneapolis, Wold now resides in a nursing home, where she has recently been undergoing physical therapy. Every day, her husband, Al, drives five miles to visit her so the two of them can sit in the sunshine together and reminisce.
One of Mrs. Wold’s fondest memories happens to be of a relationship she had with another man more than half a century ago. She still has a few reminders of him and that time: a scrawled-upon 1950 desk diary, a music box, and a large collection of decades’ worth of Peanuts comic strips, cut out from the pages of The Minneapolis Star Tribune, many of which revolve around a pretty redhead.
The strips have a special significance for Mrs. Wold. Around the peak of its popularity, Peanuts was published in 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries in 21 languages with a readership of 355 million. And yet, every now and then, it was a secret romantic correspondence, imbued with a hidden meaning only truly understood by its creator and one other person.
“It was the story of his life and mine,” Mrs. Wold says.