Monday, February 11, 2008


The title of this entry is the same title recently posted by my brother, Qaptain Qwerty where QQ wrote about a few new things he learned while playing Yahoo!Games Daily Crosswords. QQ also referenced a book by Robert Fulghum's "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" which is also one of my favorite books.

This entry is about the Peanuts Comic Books and some of my favorite characters. I am sure I am not the only reader who share many traits with the characters in the Peanuts gang. When my family was completing U.S. Citizenship applications, we discussed adding an American first name as well as keeping our Vietnamese first name as middle name. My parents and brother TL decided to keep their given Vietnamese names. My sister CH chose a name of a British queen. I made a sign that read "Welcome to St. Louis, Your Majesty" as I greeted CH at the airport when she visited St. Louis a few years ago.

My brother VL selected an American name from a character in the Peanuts. The name fits VL perfectedly as in real life, VL is smart, reserve, fun-loving with gentle manners and a kind heart yet at times stood up for himself when necessary, just like Linus often defuses his older sister, Lucy's temper with clever logical comments or genuine affections. VL also suggested that I should take the name Lucy as I was also such a crabby and bossy person! No, I did not slug VL for his outrageous suggestion.

Like Lucy Van Pelt, I was the first born. While Lucy wanted a little sister, generally treats her younger brother Linus like dirt and made no secret that she would rather be an only child, I have always wished that I had an older brother. I never had much thought of being the only child or whether I should have a sister or a brother. In future entries, I will provide details about as a baby I was also a fuss-budget and one time sent the entire family into a panic trying to figure out why I was crying hysterically. Like Lucy, I was a bully. From the stories told by my mother, I used to beat up other kids, mostly boys, specifically a cousin whom I later fell madly in love with. (More about this in the next entry entitled First Love). I had only one doll but I broke the neck of the doll after playing with it, probably setting up a wrestling or boxing match. I had no interest whenever my female cousins tried to get me to play house, cooking or setting up doll houses.

Unlike Lucy, I adored my little brother VL. I had fond memories of driving around the neighborhood in a tricycle with VL sitting in the back seat. I still remembered the time when I felt so rejected because I wanted to hold VL but he would not let me. My Dad told me to wait until VL was tired of walking, then he would need me to carry him. I don't remember we ever fought or exchanged verbal arguments. I never stole the crayons from my little brother. Actually it was the other way around. One time I came home from school with a bag of cookies. I put it down on the kitchen table. After I washed my hands, as I came back for my cookies, VL took the liberty and already distributed the cookies to others in the house. No, I did not slug VL for his generosity with my cookies.

Another time was when Mother left VL alone in front of the house with a large tin can full of cookies. A group of older kids came by, started taking the cookies while VL looked on without making a sound or protesting. Talk about sharing spirits in such young age!

The drawing of Sally Brown crying reminded me of the stories Mother is still telling even to this day about how difficult I was as a child. Mother said that I was such a pain that the barber and the dentist asked Mother not to take me there. Mother said that I used to scream from the top of my lung as the barber raised his scissors ready to cut my hair. One time after a bloody scream, I kicked the dentist so hard, causing him to almost knock down the tray of instruments. There was a male neighbor two doors down from our first home in Cau Nhi Thien Duong (Double Paradise Bridge) who always hugging and kissing my female cousins who also lived next door to us. The first time this neighbor put out his arms about to hug me, I let out a loud scream that he never tried again. The man had the nerve to complain to Mother that I was such an unlikable (kho ua) child. I wonder how many people would recognize that this kind of behavior by an adult male towards little girls could have been child molestation.

The Peanuts were the first American comic books we saw at Jackson Heights Branch library and immediately fell in love with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, Sally and the gang. (My brother VL corrected me as I previously wrote that we went to Elmhurst library which is way over on the other side of Broadway. This is the reason why I love blogging, more than just recording what took place but helping us stay connected.) We enjoyed so much that we took all the copies and the librarian had to tell us that each person could only check out ten copies at one time. So we divided the books and checked out as many copies as we were allowed for that day. We started to use words such as Blockhead, Good Grief!, Sweet Babboo, and excuse such as The sun got into my eyes or when being challenged, "I give you five reasons" trying to threaten the other with a fist like Lucy. My brother VL gave me a copy of Peanuts A Golden Celebration - The Art and the Story of the World's Best-Loved Comic Strip. Over the years I also acquired a dozen or more different copies. No matter how many times I read the strip Peanuts, I still giggle or have a good laugh when looking at the drawings. All I Really Need to Know I learned from the Peanuts to be like Charlie Brown and his endless determination and hope that one day his team will win a baseball game with him pitching, that Lucy will not pull the football away to allow Charlie to kick the football and to remember that he is a lovable person no matter what others said.

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