Back in the olden days, long ago, when there was no cable, dish, satellite, Tivo; no DVD, no VHS, no VCR to play said VHS, there was broadcast television. Yes, my children, there was a time when you could only watch what was on at the time. You could not pick and choose--HD or regular--but simply wait for the show you wanted to occur.
Friday nights were The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. Sunday evenings--The Wonderful World of Disney. Every day, we perused the TV listing that came in the newspaper and hoped for a surprise. Would they show a cartoon on Disney? Would a movie we liked--maybe The Sound of Music--actually come on the TV?
The answer was usually no. But there was a movie, my young ones, that the networks prized, holding it back until there was a captive audience. That movie was The Wizard of Oz.
Usually on Easter Sunday, sometime around 7, the movie would come on. The network knew that the collapsed, sugar-rushed children would be mollified by the movie--that parents would turn that show on faster than you could say tranquilizer. My parents even let us watch it as we at the Easter ham! at the table! The television right there with us as we ate our meal. No praying or celebrating for us. It was all about Dorothy.
I liked Dorthy because she was in a pickle. The neighbor "witch" hated her dog. Her family life was beset with work and strife, and she didn't really fit in with her Aunt and Uncle. Lord knows what had happened with her parents. She was an orphan in a good dress, a girl who could sing even as the Depression and Dust Bowl over took the country.
After watching the movie a few times, I started reading the books. Here's one: The Emerald City of Oz. Inscribed within is: 1966. Merry Christmas to Jessica from Grandmother and Grandfather.
The Tin Woodman of Oz is a first edition (1918) and belonged to David Randall, a relative I am truly unfamiliar with, except the last name.
The Lost Princess of Oz is likewise from my grandparents, given to me in 1966 as well, but for my birthday.
These books went way past Dorothy and into the fantasy world of Oz. I didn't know about Oz and Dorothy's story being an allegory for American politics. I just loved the weird world I could go into. I checked out all the Oz books, reading them and the ones I owned over and over again. Maybe one of the reasons I've dipped into world building in my own novels is because of Baum and his own wild world. He showed me that "reality" and "fantasy" could mesh, that the skin between the two worlds is permeable. That magic--despite economic and environmental crises--can happen.
I saved the books for my children, but neither of them found the stories as compelling, and they remain with me today for those grandchildren I might have. Probably, they will be with me when someone has to shovel me out of my house, Oz with me until the end.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org