Saturday, November 20, 2010
QWERTY in Oz
In 1985, Thompson's niece, Dorothy Maryott, decided it was time to part with a few of her aunt's things and she donated RPT's typewriter to the Ozmapolitan Convention to be auctioned off. This preposterous collectible had to be mine! MINE!
I had read in The Baum Bugle how pioneering Oz collector C. Warren Hollister owned the pencil that L. Frank Baum had used to write The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I thought to myself ... Hah! This will be my Baumian pencil stub! But I knew there would be some bidding competition - perhaps even from Warren Hollister himself! I began my pre-auction negotiations.
Most of the folks that I viewed as "competition" saw my youthful eagerness and said they'd give me a clear shot. But, DRAT! Warren Hollister had the notion that it would indeed be a good companion piece for his pencil stub.
I must add that this is not RPT's typewriter from when she was writing her early Oz books. It was her typewriter from the early 1950s until her death in 1976. But it was the typewriter she used to write Yankee in Oz and The Enchanted Island of Oz.
After the auction, I heard that Dorothy Maryott wanted to talk to the young man that had bought her aunt's typewriter. She found me a bit later that afternoon and congratulated me on my win. Then she said that she had something she thought I might like to have to go with the typewriter.
She pulled a small bit of folded blue fabric from her handbag. She had withheld it from the auction - unsure if she really felt like parting with it. But after she saw my youthful excitement at winning, she decided that maybe I should have it after all.
It was decorated with an applique showing Humpty Bumpty, the camel from what would be Thompson's final Oz book. I happily accepted the dustcover as a gift.
And that is how I came to own RPT's typewriter and sign off today's blog post with it, too.