Benefield: When it comes to Snoopy all systems have always been go

T-shirts, briefcases, sweatshirts, stuffed toys and all the Snoopy stuff that defined my childhood — and much more.|

I don’t remember growing up reading Peanuts, but I certainly remember the gear.

I liked Charlie Brown OK and I recall Lucy being pretty funny, but a quick survey of my childhood stuff points to my being a big fan of Snoopy.

It’s always a dog.

My profile picture on both Twitter and Instagram for years has been me in a super chic hand-me-down Snoopy T-shirt.

I had a bunch of Snoopy stuffed toys.

In my collection was the one in the striped train conductor outfit, replete with cap. I also had the Snoopy stuffed dog with the blue track suit with the handy hole in the rear for his tail.

Another key piece of my Snoopy collection was a blue and white plastic briefcase I was given by my parents, presumably for all the business meetings I was holding as a 5-year-old.

I loved that briefcase. I loved loading it with things that would make my business dealings with colleagues more successful, namely snacks.

I also used that briefcase in my one foray into the idea of running away from home, loading it with everything I’d need to survive the mean streets of Santa Rosa.

Namely snacks.

For a period I was big fan of a hand-me-down sweatshirt with Snoopy in an astronaut uniform and the message: “All Systems Are Go,” marketed in 1969 to mark NASA’s Apollo 10 mission, which was nicknamed Snoopy.

I remember not understanding what “all systems are go” meant but the sweatshirt came from my cool, older cousin Leslie so I was all in.

That episode must have resonated because our favorite local cartoon dog is again part of a NASA adventure.

Snoopy is set to take off as part of NASA’s Artemis I launch targeted sometime around Nov. 14.

An unmanned flight, Snoopy will be one of the sole riders on a weeks-long mission that is scheduled to orbit the moon more than once, and fly farther and faster than any previous human-rated aircraft.

And Snoopy will have a crucial role. He will serve as a zero gravity indicator during the flight.

Not bad for a stuffed dog from Santa Rosa.

Or is it St. Paul?

Snoopy’s creator Charles Schulz was born in Minneapolis and reared in St. Paul. He went to the same high school as my mother-in-law.

Hence the off and on family debate over the years over who can claim Schulz, St. Paul or Santa Rosa.

My (winning) argument is that one can’t choose where they are born and raised, but they can certainly choose where they put down stakes and live for decades.

And as we were raised to understand and know to be true, Santa Rosa is a chosen spot on earth.

Still, at some point, I broke up with Snoopy and took up with Garfield.

It’s the only time in my life that I have chosen a cat over a dog.

But I returned, in some small way, to Snoopy as an adult, gifting our kids the same stuffed dogs with train conductor ensemble that I had.

And the Vince Guaraldi Trio album makes into the holiday rotation each year.

As does a viewing of the incomparable “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

I have a different relationship with the Peanuts characters, and Snoopy, than I did as a kid, but the Christmas special still makes me weep.

As does the fact that my Snoopy shirt no longer fits.

You can reach Staff Columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 or On Twitter @benefield.

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