Monday, July 25, 2022

I'm All Eyes!

One thing that had been hampering the completion of my book was a much-needed research trip to New York City. My husband Eric and I had been hoping to travel east a couple years ago, after I had finally gotten down to the actual writing of text. Then Covid hit, libraries shut down, travel became unsafe, and my access to much critical research was cut off.

This past March, Covid infections hit a low point and the research facilities I needed to visit had all reopened. Eric and I were anxious for a road trip (any trip!) after two years of world lock-down. Eric said, "Let's go!" And after purchasing a new car, we took off on a three-week, cross-country road trip from Portland, Oregon, to New York City and back.

Eric and I spent many hours each day examining photos, scrapbooks, correspondence, legal documents, clippings, costume sketches, scripts, sheet music, posters, and more. 

The alarming image below shows how I felt for much of the week. It seems that I, too, "enjoy a little trip to town now and then," just like Mr. Pyeye ogling the Snow Queen and her Sprites.

Clipping from The Standard, May 27, 1904.

Much of our time was spent at the New York Public Library, but we also had a wonderful day at the Shubert Archive and visited two private collections. 

In the evenings, with libraries closed, we got the chance to visit several friends, saw the new production of Company (which I really liked), and spent our last free afternoon walking through Central Park, going to the zoo, and afterward walking across town to see Wizard of Oz producer Fred Hamlin's home at 305 West 71st Street, which he bought with profits from the show in August 1903. 

Home of Wizard of Oz producer Fred R. Hamlin.

Then we decided that as long as we were already on the east coast, we would add a few days to the trip and drive down to Washington, DC, and spend a couple days at the Library of Congress.

The research vacation was great! I got virtually everything I needed and more. Much more. Thanks to smart phones, the days of traveling with camera and macro lens and standing over a photocopier for days on end are pretty much behind us. Over the course of a week, I took slightly over seven thousand photos.

So, seven thousand new pictures . . . a picture is worth a thousand words . . . so that means seven million more words to write! Don't worry, my book isn't going to be that long!

Copyright © 2022 David Maxine. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Lavender Blue, Dilly, Dilly

I am most sorry for the long time between blog posts, but much exciting work has been going on behind the scenes regarding my 1903 Wizard of Oz book project. I'll share more about that next post. 

But in the spring and early summer, my energies are also split between work on the book and work in the garden. Lately, the 1903 Wizard of Oz has found its way into the garden, too.

You might recall a blog post from early February about Luther Wyckoff, who played Imogene, the frolicsome heifer, on Broadway for a few weeks and then for two full seasons with Company No. 2. Wyckoff had begun his association with the show as a member of the male chorus in the summer of 1902 before putting on hooves as Imogene.

Now, as mentioned in the earlier post, Wyckoff abandoned the stage after his two-plus years as Imogene and in the ensuing years began in-depth research into growing lavender in the Pacific Northwest. He went on to develop his own two cultivars, "Wyckoff White" and "Wyckoff Blue," which were selected and are still used by Yardley of London—makers of the famous soap.

Upon learning all this, my husband Eric asked the inevitable question, "Are you gonna start growing Wyckoff lavender in the garden?" Of course, the answer was "Yes."

I began my search and had little luck finding it available for order online. But I placed a request at my local nursery and a couple weeks ago my "Wyckoff Lavender" arrived.

The plants are not particularly large, but they'll get bigger. So, there is now "Oz Collection" growing in the backyard. What will I do with the lavender, you ask? Well, some might go into cooking, but perhaps I should create some 1903 Wizard of Oz collectibles . . . anyone want a small Imogene the Cow sachet stuffed with "Wyckoff" lavender blossoms?

Copyright © 2022 David Maxine. All rights reserved.