DELANO, MN Most people who hear the name “Charlie Brown” might conjure up an image of a round-headed “Peanuts” comic strip character, but it’s the name 52-year-old Charlie Brown of Delano answers to every day.
“The only thing I’m missing on most of this stuff is the royalties,” he joked.
About eight years ago, Charlie was invited to Camp Snoopy at the Mall of America, along with all the other Charlie Browns in Minnesota.
“I think there are about 65 total, and 22 of us showed up,” he said.
One of the statues he liked at Camp Snoopy was of Charlie Brown covered in paint.
“That was the most comical one,” he said.
Camp Snoopy turned into Nickelodeon Universe in 2008, and the statue sold for about $6,000. Charlie said he would have liked to buy it, but wasn’t about to spend that much money.
Charlie was born in 1957, seven years after the Peanuts comic strip first appeared. By 1958, the strip was appearing in 355 US and 40 foreign papers, according to the Rewind the Fifties web site.
Peanuts creator Charles Schultz lived in St. Paul, but for Charlie, Delano is as big of a city as he’d like to live in.
“I’m as close to the Cities as I’m going to get,” Charlie said. “I don’t like crowds.”
On the weekends, Charlie and his wife, Carol, go to Lake Mille Lacs.
“We go up there pretty much every weekend,” Carol said.
In the winter, the couple enjoys ice fishing, and in the summer, they ride in their pontoon boat. Charlie also enjoys mowing lawn and tending to other outside chores on the property.
“He’s kind of a fanatic,” Carol laughed. “He really, really enjoys his yard work.”
During the week, Charlie drives truck for Yellow Freight in Burnsville, and Carol works for a group insurance agency in Minnetonka.
Charlie has been truck driving for 30 years, and typically goes from Minneapolis to Bismarck, SD. When he first began driving, however, he traveled coast to coast.
“It was certainly fun years ago when I was running all over the country,” he said.
Charlie also owns a stump grinding and removal business called Stump-Ez.
“That’s my little part-time hobby during the week,” he said. He mostly does residential work for the west metro area.
“I enjoy the work,” he said. “I get to meet quite a few people.”
In the winters, Charlie and Carol keep busy with snowmobiling. Charlie is a member of the Delano Snow Stormers, which is part of the Wright County Snowmobile Association.
Once a year, he goes to Idaho and Colorado to ride in the mountains.
“It’s really neat when you get above the clouds,” he said. “We basically do sightseeing.”
Carol also enjoys snowmobiling, but doesn’t do as much of the mountain riding.
“Our hobbies are very much the same,” she said. “We’re both very much alike.”
Charlie and Carol have four snowmobiles, made in 1963, 1970, 1999, and 2007.
“We have too many of them,” Charlie laughed. He used to go to snowmobile shows, but hasn’t made time for it recently.
Charlie and Carol have been married for 16 years. Carol has a daughter, Jennifer, son-in-law, Eric, and granddaughter, Ashley, who live across the street.
For Charlie, who grew up near Independence and graduated from Orono High School, “Delano is home.”