the magic of Oz

May 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

This year for my birthday, my dad gave me the perfect gift: 27 vintage Wizard of Oz books he bought for me from a woman looking to part with them. She had initially contacted my uncle to see if he knew anyone who might be interested. His first response was no, but then he thought again and called my dad.

When I was little, my dad read many of the Wizard of Oz books out loud to my brother and me. I can vividly remember Friday and Saturday nights at Dad’s place, lying around in the living room listening to him read. I can still hear the voices my dad gave the characters and have such wonderful memories of those nights. I loved knowing that my dad had also read them as a little boy, and I have a couple of my Grammy’s old Oz books with illustrations she had colored in as a little girl.

Most people probably know of the original story from the book or movie – the one about Dorothy and her little dog too and their adventures in Oz after being swept off by a Midwest tornado. But that is only the beginning: L. Frank Baum wrote 14 Oz books, and Ruth Plumly Thompson was chosen by the family after Baum’s death to continue the story with 19 more. The Land of Oz was always my favorite. It’s about Tip, a young boy who lives with a mean witch Mombi until he tricks her out of her magical “Powder of Life”, sprinkles it on his new best friend Jack Pumpkinhead and sets off on a magical trip of his own to Oz. There he discovers that he is actually the lost Princess Ozma of Oz – I love that part!

It’s been fun to watch the love of Oz books continue as my husband has been reading them to my girls the past few years. Last year, while on vacation in Italy, the best night of our whole trip was the one curled up in our little rental house in Tuscany making pasta and reading Oz. It’s the one night of the trip the girls can’t stop talking about. It makes me so happy to have this little thing as part of my family history. Knowing that my daughters are reading and enjoying something that also brought such joy to me and my dad and my grandmother gives me such a warm feeling. And now my very cool collection of Oz books is a constant reminder. In 2003, my dad gave a copy of The Wizard of Oz to my oldest daughter when she turned one. In the front of the book he wrote: “There’s magic in here. My mom found it. Your mom found it. I found it. You will find it.” I love that!

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