When I was a little girl The Wizard of Oz was my favorite movie. I used to wear red shoes that I called my Ruby Slippers and would say in my best witch voice "Take off those Ruby Slippers". I am not sure why it was my favorite, but I think part of the reason is when I was kid, before VCR's and DVD's, the only way you could see the movie was when it came on Thanksgiving weekend on tv. We were usually at my grandparents for Thanksgiving and we would all gather in the family room with Grandpa's popcorn and watch the movie again. Somewhere Over the Rainbow would come on the screen and I would dream of being Dorothy. I would get so excited when the munchkins would appear and I would hide my eyes when the Wicked Witch would come to scare everyone. I was so enthralled with the songs and the sets that I didn't realize until much later that the characters in Oz were the same as the ones in Kansas. I know, I know, I am a little slow on uptake.
When I went to DC for the first time as a kid I couldn't wait to get through the monuments so we could go to the Smithsonian Museum of American History to see the Ruby Slippers. I still go to see them. Every. Single. Time. Here I am the last time I went.
I was so excited when Liam auditioned for a part in Theatre Bristol's production when he was 11 years old. He received the role of The Mayor of Munchkinland. I couldn't have been prouder. He owned that part.
Seeing Wicked on Broadway was life changing. I had always loved the Wicked Witch of the West and knew there had to be more to the story. (People always think the pretty girl with blond hair and the sugary sweet voice can do no wrong, but it is generally the dark haired girl who is kind of awkward and brash that you want on your side. Right?! ) I took Liam and Owen to see the traveling show a few years ago. After the first song Owen proclaimed that it was the most amazing thing he had ever seen. When we hear Defying Gravity in the car we all sing, very loud. I make Defying Gravity my theme song when I need to make positive changes in my life. (yes, I have different theme songs for different times in my life as well as a supporting soundtrack. doesn't everyone?)
A few years ago we were able to go to The Autumn at Oz. In Beech Mountain, NC there is an old amusement park that is a replica of the movie. It is closed now, but once a year they have a festival where you can walk through the park on the yellow brick road and meet all the characters. We met up my parents and rented a chalet for the weekend. It was unseasonably cold, and by cold I mean crazy cold for North Carolina in October. There was snow and crazy cold wind, but we bundled up and went to Oz. I have to admit, it was magical. For a short time we were there. On our way to see the wizard.
So why do I love The Wizard of Oz so much? Well, it is a musical, and musical's have singing and dancing and of course Jazz Hands. But seriously, my memories of the movie aren't just the movie, they are family moments related to the story and it is such a great story with great lessons. Black and White Kansas is really dull compared to Oz with all it's colorful characters on the other side of the rainbow. Those colorful characters deep down are more like the black and white characters then you think at first. You already have inside you what you think it is that you most want, you just need to find it. In the words of Scarecrow- "Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking don't they". The great and powerful are really just people, just like us. The Wizard says "A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others". Dorothy learns that happiness doesn't come from a place, but comes from being with the ones you love. There is no place but home.