For decades, my mother collected paperbacks that contained a year’s worth of Peanuts newspaper strips. I seem to remember each new year’s book appearing on a rack near the greeting cards. One summer when I was a tween around 1980, I found a big stack of these Peanuts paperbacks in the storage room under the stairs to the basement, and started reading through the whole series, from the very first strips in the 50s.
I have a great sensory memory of bounding down the stairs after I came home from school and smelling the basement smell (humidity on concrete, and maybe sawdust or wood putty from my dad’s workroom). In that environment I could spend the next few hours, at least until dinner, doing whatever I wanted. It wasn’t always reading, of course. We had a wooded lot that adjoined other wooded lots, so… lots of trees to climb and trails to explore. But I also had stashes of Matchbox cars, Legos, and Mego Star Trek action figures.
I remember one day setting out my toys and getting bored rather quickly. What was wrong with me?
Around that time, I read this Peanuts strip, and I could feel Peppermint Patty’s sense of panic.
I don’t remember going into a state of existential panic. I do remember I spent more time reading and writing, and that around that time my parents bought a TI-99 4/A home computer.