As a baby boomer born in the late ’50s, the Wizard of Oz had debuted nineteen years earlier. With the development of television, CBS broadcast the movie annually as of 1959. I’m not sure at what age my mother felt it was an age appropriate movie for her daughters. In spite of the beauty of the ruby red slippers, there were witches and flying evil monkeys. Society was not inundated with games or shows desensitizing children regarding the taking of life. The only act of violence I remember was when JFK was shot; I was in kindergarten.
In spite of owning one black and white television, I remember being allowed to stay up late to discover and soon celebrate Oz’s example of good triumphing over evil. When we bought our first color television, it became a new and still exciting annual broadcast in our home.
After the birth of my daughter, I looked forward to sharing the adventures of Dorothy and her new friends. Almost every home owned a VCR and my mother was quick to make the movie available to show her granddaughters on sleep-overs. For my daughter’s first grade book project, she requested to be Dorothy with her stuffed Benji dog peeking from a picnic basket. I covered her tennis shoes in red sequin elastic ribbon.
Why am I sharing this piece of personal trivia? I wonder how much of those early messages of good vs. evil transcended my own resistance to accepting current trends of bullying and histrionics. Reality shows tend to emphasize negative interactions among circles of ‘friends.’ And I know Oz is the source of my love for ruby red stilettos and meeting new friends through life’s adventures.
In my own story of Ameera Unveiled, the main character finds herself in a quest to find her way home to a natural calling to dance. She seeks the help of her Wizard of Dance, Sybil Yocum. Leaving the love and safety of her own home, there is a bond created between strangers discovered on a glittery journey to Jamaica.
I feel blessed that so many readers have given me their own appreciation of Ameera and her desire to face her demons and obstacles. Last week, when my sister called and asked me to go to the 3-D version of The Wizard of Oz, I sat among a predominantly baby boomer crowd. Untiringly, we lip synced the words of the songs and simultaneously clapped as Dorothy whispered those famous words: “There’s no place like home.”
It struck a personal victory in my own heart that there is a universal story that people still want to believe in. As we each take our journey down the yellow brick road, with or without our ruby red slippers, most of us want to find a bond. Bonds that remain in spite of physical separation and time. Experiences that urge us to move forward and to never stop discovering our own personal enlightenment.