Fergus Falls man has made memories all around the globe
In the comics, Charlie Brown has high hopes, but fails at nearly everything he does. He is known by some as the “great American un-success story.” But there is another Charlie Brown with a much different story. He lives in Fergus Falls and his life story is one of pure adventure. Charlie Brown traveled far from his birth place in Pelican Rapids, in 1925. He stayed close to home for a couple years, teaching at Evansville and Perham. But the majority of his teaching career was spent at various Air Force bases throughout Europe and Asia. Charlies’ journey took him to Ramey AFB in Peurto Rico; Zaragoza, Spain; Ankara, Turkey; Laken Heath base in England; Bitburg, Germany; Izmir Turkey; and Okadena, Okinawa. Asked which area he liked the best, Charlie responded, “I liked all of them for different reasons. Turkey had excellent hunting; England had wonderful golf courses; and the climate was good in Okinawa.” Charlie’s son Douglas graduated from high school in Turkey and is now residing in Mexico as an independent computer contractor. His son, David, graduated in England and teaches in Kuwait with his wife and two children. “My granddaughter just received a full four-year scholarship to the University in Germany,” said the proud grandpa. “When he was 15, Douglas and I were on a wild boar hunt in the mountains of Turkey. Doug shot a 440 pound boar (after it was fully dressed out) We usually went every available weekend and when the weather was favorable.” While in England, Charlie attended six British Openers. He watched the great golf pros like Jack Nickolas, Arnie Palmer and Lee Treveino. “I also saw former president Eisenhower play golf in Puerto Rico,” explained Charlie. “He had two caddies; one carried his clubs and the other found the balls that went off course. He often doctored them up a little as he replaced them on the green.” When asked if he had seen any royalty when he was in England, Charlie nonchallantly replied, “I went to church with Queen Elizabeth one day in 1976 while she was visiting her estate in Sandringham. I was visiting a friend who rented a home on her estate.” The retired school teacher fondly remembers many of his travels throughout Europe. “We often gathered interesting pieces of furniture on our travels. We have a wooden screen from India and two grandfather clocks from England. We traveled twice to Israel.” Charlie is proud of the achievements of many of his students. “I had a Chinese student in Okinawa and she applied to seven of the top colleges. She was accepted at all of them and chose M.I.T.” “One time I had the Danish ambassador’s son and the Korean ambassador’s son in class. They were lab partners and needed help. I told them when you have Korean and Danish students in an American school in Turkey, do you have to wonder why you need help!” “We never had any trouble with race relations in our schools. I coached soccer in England and had two kids from Mexico on our team. They both scored a goal. That night after the lights were out, one kid said, “Guess you know us ‘wetbacks’ won the game for you today.’” The political scene varied from one area to another. “Some days we had to stay indoors while living in Turkey as they were often demonstrating in the streets about some government problem. Driving sometime posed a problem with the left-hand, right-hand lane changes. England, Pakistan, Australia and Japan have left-hand driving stated Charlie. In 2009, Charlie’s wife Maxine died six months before their 60th wedding anniversary. She had worked as a secretary to one of the colonel’s in the military and as the registrar for the University of Maryland’s overseas school program. Charlie has returned to his roots in Minnesota. He still owns a cabin on Lake Lida near Fergus Falls. He enjoys playing whist at the senior center and often wanders downstairs to the library for a British mystery.