Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Wizard of Oz

NOTE: This was written several months ago. I think even before we met the boys.

When I was very young we were at some friend’s house. A movie about the Wizard of Oz was put in and we youngsters did not sit still and watch it. Everyone was very wiggly including me. I was at the most four years old. I was annoyed with the other children because I couldn’t hear what Dorothy was saying or the Lion or the Tin Man. I sat close to the television and pressed my ear against the speaker. I couldn’t see but at least I could hear. Eventually the travelers made it to the Emerald City. There were scary adventures and some happy times too, I don’t remember much about it. I do know though, that was the day I fell in love with the Land of Oz.
                Some years later a remake of the Wizard of Oz movie came out and it was very popular. McDonald's began including dolls of the characters in the happy meals. Every Wednesday on the way to piano lessons we would stop at a McDonald's that was right next to a green BP gas station. We didn’t normally buy happy meals but since Mom knew I liked the Wizard of Oz so much she bought me the happy meals and I collected the dolls. I got the Tin Man, Dorothy, a flying monkey, and Glinda the Good. I was disappointed that they stopped giving out the dolls before I could collect them all.

                I learned how to use the Internet when I was ten. Among many other things, my doings in the World Wide Web led me to a website with porcelain dolls made to be characters from the Land of Oz. I was eager to add as many as I could to my doll collection. I showed the website to Mom and told her I was going to save my money up for Glinda. She was wearing a beautiful pink dress and had soft curly brown hair. Mom didn’t discourage me from trying although she told me it would be difficult. On my eleventh birthday Mom and Dad gave me three Oz books. They were the most beautiful books I had ever seen then or since. The dust covers were brightly colored, the pages were gilded with imitation gold, and the picture on the dust cover was imprinted on the hard cloth binding. They gave me the original book that started it all; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and two more; The Patchwork Girl, and Tic-Toc of Oz.
                Then we moved to Missouri and all hell broke loose. Life was scary, difficult, and entirely disorienting. I rejected God. The only three things I clung to at that time were my siblings, books, and music. I didn’t even think about my parents. Dad was still in South Carolina working at the office before he could join us in Missouri. Mom was stuck on the phone or with emails that made her cry or she was gone and left us at the house while she went to a meeting. She would come back only to go to her room and cry some more. I was left to take care of Levi and Savannah. I could never make sense of anything; nothing was normal; everything was a nightmare. Keeping them together is what kept me together.
                I tried many things to keep close to my siblings. One of those things was to get out my wonderful books and read aloud to them. I chose Tic-Toc of Oz. Sometimes I had to force them into it. I don't know if it was helpful but I was doing the only thing I could think of. We would sit downstairs in Grandpa’s basement on the couch. I laid flat on my back on the striped fabric and held the book in the air. The sun would shine through the window and we could see the dust floating in the air. When I came to one of the beautiful pictures I would stop and show it to my little brother and sister. I don't know about them, but I was living in fiction, trying to escape the reality that was swallowing me alive. I am so glad L. Frank Baum wrote those wonderful stories.
                Every year since those first three books Mom and Dad bought me another Oz book for my birthday or Christmas. Soon they ran out of books to buy. There were a few left that I never owned myself but I got those from the library. Those books have held an honored position on my cluttered book shelf. (I realize often that honor was personified with piles of papers over top of them.) Sadly, I don’t get them anymore. I have not been able to replace any of them since the house burned down in 2011.
                Today I was in Levi’s room checking on him, I haven’t really lost that mother hen instinct from all those years ago. Of course my excuse for going to see him was to ask if he was finished with the book he was borrowing, but the real reason was because I like to see him. I like to hear Levi and Savannah laughing together or playing together with Jubal. I don’t often join them; I think they think I don’t care that much. When I came to Levi’s room he was studying and being responsible of course. I stood in the doorway next to the extra refrigerator, on its side a magnate clung portraying the yellow brick road, Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man. There was soft piano music coming from the CD player close by and as I looked at the happy picture all of those memories rushed in; from that first time watching the movie to putting up the facade and reading Tic-Toc to Savannah and Levi.
                It made me cry. I turned away so Levi wouldn’t see. I was broken inside then and those stories mean a lot to me. God has always watched out for me. He gave me those stories even though I refused to see from whom the blessing was coming from. God’s providence throughout my life is much more than a nudge in a general direction. He is with me even in the minutest of details!

               That my friends is what you call mind blowing.   Boom.

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