You might call Terry Heath a super Snoopy groupie.
His collection of “Peanuts” memorabilia is so extensive that he recently spent time taking an official inventory of it.
“I put everything on a spreadsheet to get a count for insurance purposes, which will go on a flash drive and into a bank vault,” says Heath, of Liberty. “We have more than 200 Peanuts Christmas ornaments that cover a 7 1/2 foot tree and beyond.”
Heath alerted me to his trove after I asked readers to show us their holiday collections. Two-thirds of his “Peanuts” collection, he estimates, is yuletide-themed.
His collection began in 1977 when his parents gave him a Hallmark “Peanuts” tree ornament. It now includes stuffed animals, figurines, snow globes, ornaments, flags, inflatable yard decorations, pillows, blankets, clothing, two shower curtains — one for Christmas and one for the rest of the year — towels, magnets and potholders. Several years ago, Heath built a compost box for his yard that looks like Snoopy lying atop his dog house.
“We accept the term fanatic,” he says, referring to his wife, Ruth. “We don’t have kids because we’re just kids ourselves, and we wouldn’t be able to share our toys. It wasn’t necessarily anything we knew before we were together, but it was a pleasant surprise to learn while we were dating. I’m so happy I’m with someone who loves Snoopy as much as I do. It wouldn’t be the same if I was with someone who rolled her eyes.”
Other readers responded to my query with stories about their collections. An especially poignant one came from Anne Nelson, who collects St. Lucia dolls, cards, pictures and books.
She and her husband, David, met at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., in 1963. Both have Swedish ancestry.
“Swedes are rich in ethnic traditions, and one of them is the observance of Santa Lucia Day on December 13th,” Anne wrote. “According to tradition, Lucia took food to those in prison in her town in Italy. She wore candles in her hair to provide light in the dark cells.”
According to the Old Calendar, she notes, Dec. 13 was the darkest day in Sweden and marks the official beginning of the Christmas holiday.
“In December 1974 we faced our darkest day, when we suddenly lost our precious daughter, Molly, to an illness,” she continued. “A couple of years later brightness returned with the arrival of our adopted infant daughter. We chose to name her Lucia, ‘light in the darkness’! The holiday season was again joyful.”
Photos of collections submitted by readers are on 4C.