Over the Rainbow #Monday Musical Memory

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.During this month in 1939, my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, was released. When I saw it for the first time as a fifth-grader in 1973, the ending made me cry. I was so relieved that Dorothy finally made it home to Auntie Em and Uncle Henry after her harrowing adventures in Oz.

I was then cast as Dorothy in a school production. At the time, I’d been mainstreamed from the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind to the Miles Exploratory Learning Center. This facility employed an open classroom concept. Students could learn what they wanted by moving to different stations that offered math, science, art, and other subjects. Unlike many schools, they weren’t required to sit at desks all day and follow a strict curriculum.

Our production of The Wizard of Oz had no script. With the help of the music and drama teacher,  we planned what would happen in the play, and our story pretty much followed the plot of the movie. We held auditions and built our own sets. Some of the parents made costumes. I wore a long red dress that my mother had bought me several years earlier.

With no lines to memorize, we made them up as we went along, based on what we’d heard characters say in the movie. We even sang the songs that were sung in the movie, with piano accompaniment. Each performance was a little different, but it was fun. Now, I’ll sing for you the song I sang as Dorothy, accompanying myself on piano.

over the rainbow

How about you? What was your favorite movie? Were you ever in a theatrical production based on it?

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By the way, if you live in Sheridan, Wyoming, I’ll be signing copies of my new novel, The Red Dress, on Saturday, August 24th, from 1-3 p.m. at Sheridan Stationery Books & Gallery, located at 206 North Main Street. See below for more information about the book.

 

New! The Red Dress: A Novel

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

 

My Other Books

 

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to purchase My Ideal Partner from Smashwords absolutely free!

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

My Other Links

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Dad and Wanda

Dad didn’t like cats. Mother attracted them like a magnet so needless to say, we had several of them when I was growing up. The first feeline I remember was a stray we called Mother Cat, even though she didn’t have a litter. We were living in Tucson, Arizona, and I was about eight. Mother Cat was gray with tiger stripes.

Soon after Mother Cat arrived, another stray showed up at our door, very pregnant. Mother took pity on her, named her Rosemary, and the cat had three kittens in my baby brother’s closet. Mother thought two of the kittens were males and one female so she named the boys Howard and James and the girl Wanda. When we later took them to the vet for the first time, we found out that Howard and James were also females, but the names had stuck by then.

James died, and Mother Cat walked off one day and never returned. Mother took Rosemary to the local humane society. Through the years, Howard and Wanda stuck with us. Howard was gray with tiger stripes like Mother Cat, and Wanda was white with black spots.

When Wanda was old enough to understand relationships between humans and feelines, she picked up on Dad’s dislike of cats and decided she didn’t like him, either. The following poem which appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders is written from Wanda’s point of view. It illustrates how she expressed her dislike of my father. For a rare treat, click below to hear me read it. This link will be available for a limited time.

FROM YOUR FORMER FEELINE HOUSEMATE

 

I’m the one she put to sleep

when life’s pain was too great.

You told her you didn’t like me.

Maybe it was a guy thing,

but the feeling was mutual.

 

She insisted on calling me Wanda,

thought I could be a witch

so as far as you were concerned, I was.

 

I peed in your shoes at night

then stood by in the morning when you put them on.

The look on your face was priceless.

You swore and threatened to throw me twenty feet.

Believe me, if I could have,

I would have done the same to you,

right out the second story bedroom window,

then stood on the sill and watched you fall.

 

When you brought that big, red dog home,

I hated you even more.

I could no longer pee in your shoes

because the dog slept next to the bed

so I peed on your favorite love seat.

Imagine your shock

when you sat down with the latest issue of The New Yorker

to discover a wet cushion.

 

After many years,

we’re reunited in the hereafter,

you, her, me, and that big, red dog.

Oh well, I’ll have to make the best of it.

Hmmm, I need to pee.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver