Thursday, August 25, 2011


When I was six, I walked down the block, around the corner, and into the little hometown movie theater in the still-light of a Summer day.    Though the grown-ups sitting on the porch after supper had lauded the movie as “real good” and “you’ll like it,” nobody seemed to want to stir from their post-supper swing-and-toothpick relaxing, so I just took my dime and marched off.

The usual newsreels, previews, cartoon time were interesting, and then when the music began, all the people and land the-same-color-as-our-old-family-pictures didn’t impress me much, for ALL my previous movies had been in black and white.

The tornado got it a bit exciting, and the house-spinning spun me into the story, and back down with the same bump that lifted the little girl from the bed.

And then---when Dorothy opened That Door---that magical, heart-stopping door into the colors and music and charming small folk halfway ‘twixt fairy and flower--it was as if my own little khaki sunsuit were transformed into pink petticoats and my drab rag-curls into shining ringlets.   I was THERE.

I didn’t know WHERE, exactly, for I’d never seen color on a screen before, but it was so drinkable, so sweetly flavorful, like Mrs. White’s pink lemonade at their yearly party, I just gulped it down in great greedy mouthfuls, and anytime I’ve seen it since, I just sit down and drink it in.

I’d TIVOed it way back in May, and yesterday, with the sunshine streaming down the stairs, and us just in, hot and dusty from the yard---we got something cold to drink, a good cold washrag each for faces and arms and legs, and sat down together---her in her Snow White dress and dusty bare feet, and me in the tatty old shorts I’d just swept the patio in.

“Now watch this,” I said, “it will be kinda brown for a few minutes, then it will be BEAUTIFUL!!”

And we did watch, marveling together at HER first peek through the door.    And to her, so accustomed to a finger-touch into magical Princess kingdoms and bright cheery worlds---still it was magic.     After we’d cooled off a bit, she eased over into my lap, and then we stretched out onto the chair and ottoman, like ladies on a chaise.   She lay down on her back on my front, head on my bosom, with her feet way over on the stool, and we watched that entire movie.  

She’d turn a bit and ask a question, and or I’d murmur a comment, then she’d spin back into her mesmerized posture.    I provided the gentle comfort of an arm-around as the hokey monkeys flew and those OHHH-EEE—OHHHH fellas marched, and it was just the loveliest sharing of a childhood memory I can imagine.

No phones or doorbells or delivery people interrupted us---not for one moment while we enjoyed.   It was just the perfect First Watching.

The only thing that could have been added to that Perfect Moment was the knowing that she could just make her way home safely after dark, like I did.


Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

This was such a fun film to watch! We bought our first color television set in the 1960's when the children were all young. The Wizard of Oz was one of the first movies that showed on it and my children were totally transfixed.
My eldest son is now 56 years old and his favorite song is Somewhere Over the Rainbow!
When his first son was born I made a quilt with a rainbow and embroidered that song on it..with the blue birds flying over the rainbow. It was so pretty.
Thanks for the memories!!

Kim S. said...

How lucky you are to remember your first viewing of Oz! And to be able to mark Sweetpea's first viewing here. I don't remember my FIRST, but I remember seeing the magic over and over again every year. What an occasion it was every year - we'd see ads about it for a few weeks - even in the newspaper. The evening would be set aside - popcorn, Co'colas and NO telephone calls allowed.

You need to tell Sweetpea that there is a wonderful book that y'all can read. As a matter of fact, there is a whole series of books - you can visit with those old friends to your hearts content. And if she should ever visit her Aunt Kim and Uncle Mike, I have a whole Oz room, chockful of books and pictures and figures and even ruby slippers! That and the Fairy Door should be a draw!

Bev said...

Perfect perfect it Rachel!

sparrowgrass said...

The best movie ever made, without a doubt!!

I don't remember the first time I saw it--it was a yearly spring ritual on television, complete with Mom's homemade pizza, eaten IN THE LIVING ROOM! The only time, pretty much, that anything was eaten in there.

We had a black and white TV when I was growing up, so I knew the whole thing as an old black and white movie, like the Maltese Falcon, or Them. Then, my freshman year at college, I went to a screening of the Wizard of Oz at the student center.

I am sure I did gasp when that little house door opened and Dorothy walked out into that strange flower garden--I had no idea!

And I could never, ever figure out why she wanted to go back to Kansas. Still can't, to be honest.

C'est moi Claudette said...

Hi Racheld
I also remember my first time in the theatre watching the Wizard of Oz. It truly was magical, but I also remember how sad I was that she couldn't get back home. I was young then and couldn't imagine not seeing my parents again. But all was ok, like it is today.
We all have magic slippers on, and most do not know how to use them. It is magical when you know how.
You always have such lovely comments over at Jeanne's blog. I had to come and say hello from Canada.
I'm glad you are enjoying her posts about their visit. Have you met Jeanne yet? She's the most loving, caring person I've ever known. I love her to pieces, that's her saying, lol. She's a doll and I'm so so lucky to call her my dear friend.
Have a great week Racheld.
Love Claudie

Justabeachkat said...

What a wonderful memory she will have of watching it with you. It truly is a magical movie. I still love to watch it.


Tonja said...

Oh, this brings me such memories. Don't remember ever seeing it in the theater,only on TV. We were very involved in our church all my life. Not fanatics, but church was happening on Sun morn and Sun night and Wed night...and if it was happening...we were to be there! The Wizard of OZ only came on onSunday nights. And, that was the ONLY time in my childhood that I remember being able to stay home from church church for something other than the plague! Daddy would stay with Joy and I. We would get ready and be all set up on the floor with snacks and everything. Joy always cried at the flying monkeys...ALWAYS!

Thanks for reminding me. I'm sure your little one will never forget where she was and who she was with when she first saw the magic@

Beverly said...

Ah, such a sweet memory, and such a special time to share the sweetness together.

I remember when it was televised once a year, and it was always on a Sunday evening. I used to beg to stay home and skip Training Union so I could experience the magic again. And, I still love it.

Kate said...

My dad still maintains that the entire WORLD was in black and white until that moment.

I like to think that, too. Every time I watch it.

ALSO: there is a book called "the Keeping Days" which ... you'd love. It's basically in the style of a journal, kept by a young girl. She only writes in it on "keeping days," or days which contain something particular or special. Like sitting in the middle of a ring of lilac bushes at a grown-up party, and she listened in on conversations. I'll try to find the author's name for you. Sigh.
--kate in MI

racheld said...

I'm so glad to hear all the personal feelings about the movie, which was just such an impressive moment in my childhood.

I hope you'll look in next week, when I'll be trying to post Sweetpea's Synopsis of her one viewing---we sat on Caro's bed last Monday morning, and she told us the story, with a few questions from me which she answered with astonishingly apropos answers. I have to talk it over with Caro tomorrow while she's off work, for I know I've forgotten a lot of it.