THE PEANUTS GANG — Pictured are Hamburg resident Kristi Neal’s Peanuts character decorations. A few weeks ago, Snoopy and Woodstock went missing. Neighbors are currently searching for those characters. Photo submitted by Neal.
HAMBURG — Christmas memories for 2013 have come and gone, but there are some that have prevailed, throughout the years.
The Peanuts© gang, created by Charles M. Schulz, has celebrated many major holidays in short comic films. “It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas” may be remembered by the meek tree Charlie Brown is adamant to show off, Snoopy’s prize-winning dog house decorations or the faint piano melodies of “Christmas Time Is Here.”
The Emmy Award-winning film has aired on national TV each year, since its 1965 debut.
“I’m a huge Peanuts fan,” Hamburg resident Kristi Neal said, adding that her entire classroom at Cattaraugus Elementary School, where she teaches first grade, is Peanuts-themed.
Approximately 10 years ago, Neal’s grandfather crafted her a set of wooden lawn decorations of the Peanuts characters, for the holiday season. Every Christmas, they stood as a collective, in her front yard.
This year, the beagle Snoopy and his bird sidekick Woodstock went missing, approximately five days prior to Christmas. The remaining characters include Charlie Brown, Sally, Linus, Lucy and a Christmas tree.
Due to high winds last winter, Neal said Charlie Brown and Linus went missing, briefly. Considering this as a possibility for Snoopy and Woodstock, she said she waited for the snow to melt, but had no success in finding the decorations; she added that she is “pretty certain someone has taken them.
“It’s very sad, because my grandfather did make them for me, because he used to cut wood and can’t do it any longer because of age,” she explained.
Neal said that her neighbors responded to the loss in a positive manner. “A lot of people in the neighborhood have made it a tradition, or so I’ve been told, to see the Charlie Brown characters,” Neal said. Neighbor Lorie Busch took the situation into her own hands and posted on local networking sites, to spread the word about the missing characters.
“Last night my friend/neighbor had Snoopy and Woodstock stolen from her yard. They had a lot of sentimental value as her Grampa made them ... any help would be greatly appreciated,” her post on The Sun’s Facebook page read.
Across the street from Neal’s town of Hamburg home is a snowmobile path. Neal reported that teenagers will hang out at the entrance and she added that she is half wondering if “it’s teenagers, being teenagers.”
The Snoopy cutout is approximately two feet tall, while Woodstock is just shy of a foot, according to Neal.
The local resident has asked that anyone with information about the lost characters call her directly, at 598-1752. Her friends, family members and neighbors will continue to search, and Neal said that she is grateful for those who are putting in an effort.
Local residents also rallied together for another Hamburg citizen whose holiday decorations went missing, this Christmas.
Kansas City, Mo. news source 41 Action News reported that Hamburg resident Bob Sturtevant’s decorations, including the Grinch and Scooby Doo, were removed from his lawn before Christmas.
More than 10 Santa Claus-dressed Western New Yorkers showed up at Sturtevant’s door, with more than $300 in holiday decorations, to help replace the lost figures.
Local students have volunteered to recreate the lost characters that Sturtevant had.
In the words of Linus, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”