Calvinism in Chagrin Falls

Calvinism in Chagrin Falls

Chagrin Falls, OH is a small town east of Cleveland. Rob grew up in Moreland Hills, which is the next town west of Chagrin Falls. We now live in Bainbridge, which is the town just east of Chagrin Falls.

Chagrin Falls has one main street that is in the shape of a Y. The waterfall can be seen off that street. Right above the waterfall is a little shop called the Popcorn Shop.


When I first moved to Chagrin Falls, I was pulled over by the police right in front of the popcorn shop for going the wrong way on a one-way outlet. Had no idea. A little further down from the popcorn shop, Rob was pulled over for doing a U-turn in the middle of the night when there were no cars . . . except apparently the policeman. Thankfully, the policeman recognized our last name and knew Rob’s dad who was a deputy sheriff with a search and rescue dog. So, rather than getting a ticket, we chatted about search and rescue dogs. Yes, very small town.

When Rob was young, he took theater classes at Chagrin Valley Little Theater where our kids take them now. Our daughter’s picture hung in the hardware store across from the popcorn shop, a store whose owners feel no need to impress their guests with aesthetic appeal. I love it for that reason because that is my style. And a few storefronts to the left of the Popcorn shop is Fireside Book Store, a three story bookstore that sells new and used books.

Soon after leaving the military, we rented a small house within walking distance from the main street. After having moved so many times in the military, I never wanted to move again so we took our time looking for a house and Chagrin Falls became our temporary home and I adored it.

It is located snugly in the snowbelt so it gets a lot of snow, snow that falls like fairy tale snow and often very good for snowmen and snow forts. One night, it snowed so much and the temperature was eerily mild, that I allowed the kids who were all under 10 to stay up late playing in it. Having spent our first years of marriage in the south, I really loved the four seasons so I knew I wanted to stay due east of Cleveland where we would get a lot of snow. We eventually found a house in an adjacent town to Chagrin Falls, called Bainbridge.

Bainbridge doesn’t have a cute street of shops so we still consider Chagrin Falls our town too. We have spent many hours wandering, shopping, antiquing, dining . . .. Someone told me it is the town that It’s A Wonderful Life was based on but if that were true, there would be evidence in the town boasting about it and I haven’t seen any. It has another claim to fame that I think is even cooler . . . it is featured in my favorite comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes.

On the back of one of Calvin and Hobbe’s treasury collections, Calvin has morphed into a giant, trouncing through a cute little town and carrying . . . the Popcorn Shop! Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, grew up in Chagrin Falls.

If you have never read Calvin and Hobbes . . . you must.

Really . . . it is a world treasure.

If you have kids, so many fascinating conversations can arise from reading Calvin and Hobbes . . . discussing the men behind the characters’ names, John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes and of course, the teacher whose name is Wormwood, named after C.S. Lewis’s antogonist in Screwtape Letters, . . .


. . . so simply insightful . . . I remember thinking how weird it was to see my teachers out and about as though they had real lives. Calvin mentions predestination, objective truth, authority . . . so much to explore . . . and then there’s that . . . the exploring . . . Calvin’s love and enjoyment of the outdoors, his creativity in play, his wild emotions provide so many opportunities for children to feel inspired and even understood.

You can point out how Watterson’s art evolved through the strips and how it was constrained by the requirements of the newspapers and how that may have helped and/or hindered the artwork.

Then, Watterson’s decisions with regard to licensing and trademarking . . . decisions that likely cost him millions of dollars. Many highly regard Bill Watterson for having protected his art even if sad that there aren’t any official Hobbes stuffed animals. Watterson honored Calvin even more than some Calvinists honor Jesus . . . ponder that in your quiet time.

The videos below introduce Bill Watterson and his iconic comic strip further. In both videos, Exploring Calvin and Hobbes is mentioned. I provided an affiliate link for it. Lower in this blog post, affiliate links for all of the Calvin and Hobbes collections are listed in their order of publication.


Below is a documentary titled Dear Mr. Watterson. The first video is an interview with the creator of the documentary.


This is a trailer for the documentary and then affiliate link to the documentary . . .

Springboard for conversations about trademarks can be found here. And/or you could discuss artistic integrity.

My kids all read some Calvin and Hobbes. I’m not sure any of them read them all like Rob did but we had our own little Calvin in the house to entertain us . . . this is Aiden . . . spitting image, don’t you think?

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Always finding creative ways to get the work done . . . .


Rob said he fell in the love with Calvin after reading page 23 in the first book, Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin is hitting nails into the coffee table and his mom runs in and asks “What are you DOING to the coffee table?” Calvin stops, looks at the nails and then looks at his mom and says, “Is this some sort of trick question or what?”

The following are affiliate links for the collections in published order . . . the first book is simply Calvin and Hobbes . . . it would be a great place to start.


This is the last Calvin and Hobbe’s collection containing the last strip . . . notice all the snow? That’s east of Cleveland fairy tale snow.


These are affiliate links for treasury collections in published order . . .


If you would like hardback copies, this an affiliate link for them . . . so worth it.


Anna made this for Rob for Christmas.

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I’d love to know your favorite memory of Calvin and Hobbes . . .

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