Rediscovering Sparky’s France Sketches

It is wonderful and amazing how things come out of the woodwork—especially when it is one of Sparky’s drawings!

I called an old friend, Nancy, and suggested she and her husband, Raul, come to see the new exhibition of Sparky’s drawings at the Museum. They accompanied us when we went to France on our second trip in 1978 to film Sparky’s return to the area where he was stationed in 1945 near the end of World War II.

Image of Chateau Malvoisine“Oh,” she said, “do you want Sparky’s drawing of the Château that we have?” I was dumbfounded because, of course, I had no recollection, all these years later, that Sparky had given them one of the drawings.

It was too late for the exhibition, but fortunately we have scanned the drawing and you can see it here. This is a drawing of Château Malvoisin where Sparky’s squad spent six weeks after arriving in France in January 1945. The Château is near Le Héron, a little village 16 miles east of Rouen in northern France.

During this trip, Nancy, Raul, Sparky, and I stayed at the Paris flat of Connie Boucher, a friend of ours and president of Determined Productions, Inc. (side note: you can read more about our stay in Paris by reading the “Remembering Sparky’s France” blog entry. One of my favorite stories from this trip is when Nancy and Raul went out for a short walk in beautiful Paris before dinner. We waited and waited for them to return, and almost two hours later they showed up. Even with a large map they had become lost. Nancy said, “I kept telling him we had to go this way,” as she pointed to the map. “But he insisted it was the other direction.” “How did you finally figure it out?” I asked. “I finally just turned the map upside down and then he was willing to go the direction I told him.” (What a great Linus answer, I thought!)

Despite getting lost and holding up dinner, Nancy and Raul were good traveling companions, and they joined us again on a trip in 1980. We stayed a few days in Cap d’Antibes where Sparky and I attended a friend’s wedding.  Sparky did this drawing of the lovely Hôtel du Cap, which he then gave to Nancy and Raul. And I am happy to be able to share it with you now.

Image of Charles M. Schulz drawing of the Hotel du Cap

Image of the Hotel du Cap

Sparky’s sketch on the left and a photograph of Hôtel du Cap on the right.

Sparky and I had been hosting the three couples who accompanied us for a few days at the hotel, when the day before our departure, I noticed for the first time a sign on the dresser saying “We do not take credit cards.” This created a major panic, as we had counted on using our credit card to pay the hotel bill and didn’t have enough cash. We explained the dilemma to our friends and we collectively went to town and cashed all our travelers’ checks in order to bail ourselves out of the hotel.  (It was 1978, remember, and ATMs didn’t exist, but my French friends remind me that it might have been worse today as there still aren’t many ATMs in France, and each bank favors its own customers and might not have given us cash.)

Image of Charles M. Schulz counting the last few centimes left in his pocket

Image of Charles and Jeannie Schulz outside Hôtel du Cap.

Sparky counting the last few centimes left in his pocket, and us  with our travel companions outside Hôtel du Cap.

—Jean Schulz

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