Just looking at the lyrics of Over the Rainbow makes me well up and feel all mushy. When I was a kid, I felt lucky to see The Wizard of Oz on TV once a year, on Easter. It was such a strange and fantastical movie. The monkeys and witch were terrifying, but Dorothy and her friends made me stick with it. Personally, I was most fascinated with Glinda, who could float into the most tragic situation and be Dorothy's guide to escape the darkness and evil, and of course, find her way back home.
The song is made for every dreamer, and everyone else who pretends not to be a dreamer. The lyrics are so full of longing and escape from the harsh reality of any situation we're in. Longing for greatness, just around the corner. Hope for all that is good, to win. It brings us together when we hear it, as we relate to the pain and suffering that the lyrics imply. Still, we hope. We hope for peace and love to prevail. We hope for the world to change with our optimism. We hope for the world to make sense to us and be the way we imagine it is meant to be.
This is how the song unites us. The dreamer in me makes my heart ache, but also makes me move forward in difficult situations. Anything is possible. If you dream it and believe it, it will happen. Insert your favorite optimistic quote here.
The thread of this song continued in my life from the time that I was a preschooler, glued to the TV screen. I always loved the old musicals and would dress up and act out the scenes of the leading ladies. Skip ahead a few years, and I remember practicing this song in my 20s, when I was briefly exploring a career as a singer. And later, watching my beautiful little preschooler act out the whole movie, The Wizard of Oz, while watching it on VHS, over, and over, and over. She was infatuated with Dorothy and Scarecrow, and has Scarecrow, Witch and Dorothy costumes that I made for her at that age. Jump ahead to her middle school years, where she played Dorothy (in mom-made costume,) and on to high school, where she once again, played Dorothy her senior year. That same year, that high school production was my first venture as costume designer, and as a volunteer, for the entire production, of The Wizard of Oz. I won North Shore Music Theatre's Spotlight Award for Best Costume Designer. This was life-changing. Two years after that, I left my career as an educator of children to open The Costume Room.
Each time I prepare the Wizard of Oz costumes for another group, all of these memories come back to me. I then imagine the excitement and anticipation of the actors as they are waiting to see their costumes, and put them on for the first time. I imagine the legacy of each costume that is now woven into its existence as it gains more experience with each new actor. And the songs play on repeat in my head the whole time. This is my over the rainbow. This is my joy. It is just one part of my job that I am in love with. And it all began with the song, Over the Rainbow. Cue tears.