While I was busy “breaking” from TV last week, I was doing something I have not treated myself to in a long while. I was reading in the evening.
I read a couple of Kay Hooper’s fun mystery/paranormal books and of course a Dean Koontz epic. The last three days of my break (or evenings) I picked up “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire to read. I have been saving this book for some time — I wanted to see the stage play first.
Then I saw a photo that Australian pal David McMahon had taken of the marquee where “Wicked” was playing in Australia. He posted it in my email, and then it happened. My heart began to throb with the anticipation of finally breaking the spine on “Wicked “(and my word to myself). I was going to read it.
When we were youngsters, my cousins and I read voraciously; we read anything we could get our hands on. My uncle worked at a place where they made paper products and often brought home stacks of old comics and paperback books. He always took them to the little old house that stood empty-eyed and forlorn a few hundred feet from his house. He always told us when new comics had been placed within those old unpainted walls.
In the summer, dried tobacco was stored there, tied up in field sheets, waiting till time to go to market. Those aromatic bales of tobacco made for very comfortable reading spots . We would read comics and pass them back and forth, especially if they were good.
Betty and Veronica, Archie and Moose…and of course Jughead were absolute favorites. I first found Mr Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” in a box of those old comics. I can still see us sitting up on those big bales, chewing (and popping) gum as we became immersed in a comic. Giggles and hilarity ensued.
When we had a book, we would take turns reading aloud, the audience kicked back on makeshift sofas of tobacco, taking it all in. I learned to hate and despise the Wicked Witch of the West and idolize Glinda, the Good Witch of the South (or was it North? I barely remember).
When we were reading about TWWOTW, we shivered in delights of fear when the winged monkeys attacked the little band heading for Oz…we felt the cold when Glinda sent the snow to waken the sleeping victims of TWWOTW’s poppy fields (opium? In a children’s tale?)
We read that little book till it was ragged and frayed and learned what “dogeared” meant as we turned down the page where we would take up next day. Ah, the thrills of reading that followed me like a second skin into adulthood.
And now, I’m reading the adventures of Elphaba, the young green Miss before she became The Wicked Witch of the West, and all about her sister Nessarose, she of the barber-pole stockings and ruby slippers. I’m learning to appreciate how they came about, how family history turns on a look or a word.
I’ve learned to feel pity for TWWOTW, and admiration for her as well. I’ve learned that Glinda wasn’t always the sweet little fairy queen we once thought she was.
I learned you shouldn’t judge a book by its insides OR its cover! And if you haven’t read “Wicked”…oh, please! Do yourself the favor. I promise you won’t regret it.
Sandi McBride is a resident of Jefferson who blogs regularly and enjoys her garden and her furry and feathered friends. She is a wife and mother of two sons.