I ought to mention somewhere how much I love The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, books, movies, what have you. One year, my younger daughter asked for a Wickie Witch doll for Christmas in a letter to Santa. She got it!
Why do I love these stories so much?
When I was about five or six, I went to see the movie in a theater, one of those kiddie matinee specials. Although it was old by then, to me it was magic. When it started off in black and white, I could not believe the world was so dull...I knew nothing about Kansas at the time, but I do believe that was probably the most accurate depiction of the state possible. Then, suddenly, Dorothy opens that door and the world is in beautiful, vibrant color! Knocked my socks off because I knew nothing about the story before seeing the movie...nothing, as hard as that might be for young people to understand as the movie is on television frequently now.
But back then, NO.
So I was transported to the movie Oz right along with Dorothy.
And the magic got to me, deep into my heart and soul.
In second grade, our teacher put on the play...I tried my hardest for Dorothy, sang tryouts along with the girl who did get the part up until the end. Her mother, bless her, was willing to do the costume, curl her kid's hair, do whatever, buy ruby slippers while mine never volunteered for that stuff, don't know why. We were always supposed to make it on our own, and we did.
Disappointed as I was not to be Dorothy, I was given the plum...I was to be the Cowardly Lion. I had all the laughs, all the drama and all the kids remembered me for years afterwards. So, it wasn't too much of a disappointment.
Then I found a Little Golden Book about the Wizard in Oz. Got it, didn't understand that it wasn't about the movie story. A few years later, I found Ozma of Oz in the 6th grade library. Because it was old and falling apart, I got to keep it.
In high school, a boyfriend found several Oz books at the local farmers' market. I started a collection and have about twelve of the original stories, including the original Wizard book with the different illustrator, WW Denslow. All the rest are Jno.R. Neill...he gave Oz the freakiness it needed...not too scary, not too fairytale. Just right!
Since then, I got four reprints, including one of Ozma, which had been thrown away by my mother years ago, in pieces. My husband bought me the pop-up book. Someone gave me four blown glass tree ornaments.
But every year when I hear the opening strains of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I look for Judy Garland and Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley, eager to see if they melt Margaret Hamilton and win the day.
They always do.