Thursday, October 13, 2011
Sad Little Oz Boy
I returned home full of courage and very Ozzed up. My childhood love of Oz shifted into high-gear. I began to eat, sleep, and breathe Oz - whether it was pleading for an advance on my allowance to buy a another first edition or requesting an Oz map on my birthday cake. And it wasn't enough to buy every Oz book in sight and turn my bedroom into the Royal Oz Museum of Greater Albuquerque, I wanted the entire family to be Ozzy. I suggested to Mom we needed a custom license plate for our car. For some reason mom agreed.
As you can see, I picked my favorite character's name. But also because I knew the custom plates in New Mexico were blue and of course were rectangle-shaped. The day it arrived I rushed out to the car to bolt it on. It got a lot of attention! People would honk and wave, they'd also give our car a wide berth. It took several weeks for us to realize that "Woozy" had a very different meaning to the average schmo on the streets of Albuquerque than it did to me (and my Ozzy family). But the car remained Woozy until we sold it several years later.
In 1978 we returned to the Winkie Convention with our Woozy mobile. And to make it even Ozzier, I made an Oz flag to go on the radio antenna. It came out exactly as I'd wanted except that I didn't know how to embroider an "Oz" in the center - so I left it off. When it was finished I carefully folded it and put it in the glove compartment so we wouldn't forget it. After we entered Yosemite and were about five miles from the Wawona Hotel where the Winkies met back then I had mom pull the car over. I got out, attached the flag to the antenna, and we sailed on in to the Wawona, Oz colors flying.
Mom is gone now; but I still have the license plate and Oz flag. I don't like to admit it, but it seems pretty obvious to me now that I used Oz to replace the family that was dissolving before my eyes. It quite probably saved my life.