Thursday, August 19, 2010

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Liv loves The Wizard of Oz. She loves it to the point of obsession. When she first discovered the movie, somewhere around the time she was three, she put it in constant rotation. She cried and carried on when anyone wanted to watch anything else. I told her about how back in my day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we only got to watch it once a year. Her reaction clearly demonstrated that she felt that this was tantamount to abuse.

She had the movie. She had the soundtrack. And she had the ruby slippers. Oh boy, did she have the ruby slippers. She had ruby slippers through at least three size changes. I think she may have worn her ruby slippers to bed.

She didn't stop there, either. My mom made her a (spot on!) Dorothy dress for Halloween one year. She wanted to wear it every day. When I told her she couldn't wear it EVERY day, because I had to WASH it sometimes, tantrums of epic proportions ensued. Memaw to the rescue. She didn't make her another full on costume, but she made her two little blue gingham jumpers. So now my daughter could dress like Dorothy every day. And did. When the weather got cold, making it necessary to cover her bare legs, more tantrums occurred. "Dorothy does not wear tights! Dorothy wears blue socks!" I told her she could wear blue socks over her tights, but that wasn't authentic enough. I finally found some flesh colored tights in toddler sizes and she reluctantly acquiesced. She still shot me the stink eye when she had to put them on, but at least her little legs were covered.

She yelled at me one day for having been so thoughtless as to name her Olivia, when clearly she should have been named Dorothy. She asked if there was anything we could do to change it and make it right.

She had a blue gingham comforter and my sister painted a mural of The Emerald City on her wall. Above her bed we wrote, "There's no place like home." We had the playbill from the local Childrens' Theater Company's production of The Wizard of Oz framed. She had the Barbie's and the Madame Alexander's as well as every other toy available. She had music boxes and snow globes and figurines. If this makes her sound spoiled, rest assured, she was not. She was just so obsessed - she really had little else. It made her pretty easy to buy gifts for, because she absolutely did not mind duplicates.

Once she became old enough to read - she'd ditched the costumes by this point, but the room decor remained - she started obtaining copies of the book. She had several - picture books and abridged versions and unabridged versions and pop-up books and annotated versions. Tom read an original version to us as a family between Harry Potter books one year. Do you know I'd never actually read it before that? Once she learned that the ruby slippers were really supposed to be silver - well - let's just say there was a minor crisis of faith and leave it at that.

Somewhere in that time period Tom and I read Wicked. We didn't exactly become obsessed (Giving your suburban home a steampunk makeover isn't unusual, right? Right?), but we did squeeeee every time Gregory Maguire released a new book. When the musical came out, there were large displays in Barnes and Noble (a frequent haunt of cool folks like us) and Liv was immediately intrigued. "This is about The Wizard of Oz?" Tom and I explained the basic premise, and she was in. We bought her the soundtrack and it got heavy rotation. The show, however, was a little out of our financial reach.

It toured once and we had to miss it. That was a rough month.

Liv became old enough to read Wicked. And she did. Several times. She informed me that the name Elphaba (the Wicked Witch, if you've been living under a rock and didn't know) came from L. Frank Baum's initials. Try to pronounce LFB and see what you get. I hadn't known that. If you hadn't known it either, you learned it from Liv, not me.

I loved watching her grow - watching her follow her own yellow brick road, if you'll indulge me. From the little girl in the ruby slippers to the young lady discussing the politics of Wicked; watching her go from black and white to vivid color to muted hues.

Last night? We finally took her to see Wicked. It was a good show. Changes were made from the book (which I read once and Tom read twice and Liv read countless times) but we all agreed that they worked. The music and showmanship were amazing. Far better than that, though, was the look I saw on my daughter's face every time I glanced her way. It was like the culmination of a lifelong dream for her. My baby girl was experiencing pure, uncut joy.

Maybe I should've let her buy three T-shirts instead of just one. I'm going to have to wash it SOME time.

13 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

What a great post! I love that Olivia was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz.

elastamom.com said...

This is a really sweet story. And I had to laugh because I tell my kids the same thing... "When I was little, we only got to watch it once a year!" :)

Mammatalk said...

What a heartwarming tale! My girls are obsessed with Cinderella. Too bad there isn't a good novel to go with that. I so look forward to my girls growing and learning to read and watching plays with me. Can't wait to go down that yellow brick road! Enjoy!

Vivienne said...

What a great post! I haven't seen Wicked either and now I want to more than ever. I love that Liv has had a love that has matured right along with her.

Was it Thanksgiving or Easter when WofOz used to air? That and the Sound of Music were the big deal movies of my childhood and they corresponded to those holidays.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I want to hang out with Liv (you too obviously but I want to talk The Wizard of Oz with Liv). I loved the movie growing up (still do) and learned that Baum once lived in a town next to us and was thrilled.

I don't remember the first time I watched the movie but I remember the second viewing because when it started I sighed/cried, "I thought it was in color" then nearly cried again when the door is opened to Munchkinland and the colors are so alive.

I have a book with some political interpretations of The Wizard of Oz and while interesting sometimes I just want it to be the movie I adore. I also have a board game from the 1920s that's fabulous.

mzbehavin said...

"Watching her go from black and white, to vivid color and muted hues"......

Oh, Tammy...... Tammy, Tammy, Tammy.........

That is possibly the MOST BEAUTIFUL turn of phrase it has ever been my pleasure to read......

The most eloquent speech of a mother watching her baby girl grow.......

Tears in the eyes, lump in the throat....... nuff said

Except I, too, had the fascination for "The Wizard Of Oz" so the rest of this wonderful poost???? totally cool..... off to find "Wicked"...

Sir Hook of Warrick aka "David K Wells" said...

Wicked is SOOO much better for me than the original Wizard! My wife and I have seen the play several times from New York, London, Chicago and St. Louis.

Recently our County Summer Musical did it here in Newburgh, IN.

Glad Liv is a fan!

Joanna Jenkins said...

I smiled through this entire post Tammy and will again every time I see a little girl in red shoes. But what I really like is that your kids read books and that you take them to the theater. I loved Wicked. Glad Liv did too.
xo jj

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王怡迪 said...

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MiMi said...

Aww, that is so cool, frined!! I heard the show was really good.
Have you read Son of a Witch yet???

Gibby said...

This gave me goosebumps! What a fantastic journey to experience with her. I love when everything falls into place and perfection happens.

P.S. I also did not know about LFB. Learn something new everyday...

Sandy said...

That's a great story. I'm sure when a kid becomes that obsessed with something it's tough on the parents but I think it shows a piece of their character. And I don't agree that you should have named her Dorothy. I LOVE the name Olivia and would have given my daughter that name (had there been a daughter!)