I grew up in Kansas, y’all. The supposed land of wheat, tornadoes and boring topography. The land in which Dorothy Gale, heroine of the classic novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, hails from. And because it is WIZARD OF OZ WEEK on the blog, I wanted to share with you my personal experience growing up with this book and movie hanging over my head. Throughout the week, I will be offering my thoughts on the book and the movie, but for today, I present to you my love/hate relationship with the aftermath of the movie.
I grew up in the beautiful small town of Wamego, a town in which my family still resides. A town which has great historical meaning, as it contains a Dutch mill, the only remaining working stone windmill in the state of Kansas. A town with widely known festivals, such as the spring Tulip Festival and 4th of July festivities. A town which offers a beautifully renovated historical theater containing paintings and artifacts from the 1893 World’s Fair. A town which seems to be obsessed with The Wizard of Oz. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you The OZ Museum, Toto’s Tacoz, the OZ Winery and OZtoberfest. No joking, folks, all of these wonderful attractions are in my hometown. For fear of receiving another berating email from a Wamego citizen questioning my loyalty and contributions to the city, I will stop the sarcasm now. And for fear of my loyalty and contributions to the city being questioned, I present to you proof that I did, in fact, contribute.
Yep, that’s me at age 10, dressed as a poppy (as in, the field of poppies that put Dorothy and her friends to sleep), ready to wow my fellow citizens with my ability to sway in the wind and look flowery. More props should go to my mother, who spent hours (not kidding you, at least an hour after each performance) removing that darn makeup. And if you should further question my love for The Wizard of Oz, here’s more proof:
And yes, those cute little munchkins (pun intended) are my wonderful baby brothers. Not only did I suffer through a hula-hoop inspired costume as a poppy, I also stunned the crowd with my ability to look like a little person. I am still bitter about the fact that I was the only one who followed instructions and stuffed my dress in order to look larger. Bitter, I tell you. In all honesty, though, I had a freakin’ blast in my performance of The Wizard of Oz. As you will read later this week, I absolutely adore the film and the book was a great inspiration for this musical and theatrical masterpiece.
However (and this is a big however, guys), if one more person asks if I have a dog named Toto or an aunt named Em when they find out I was born and raised in Kansas, I might explode. If one more person assumes that we live in basements in Kansas for fear of constant tornadoes, I might cry at their naivete. And if one more Oz-inspired attraction is added to Wamego, I’ll. . . I’ll. . . I’ll still absolutely love my hometown and the wonderful things it has to offer.