More Oz Than a Car Can Hold

Day Two:  I’m off to Appleton, Wisconsin.  Although the Oz Club pulled loads of material out of Fred Meyer’s storage decades ago, he had wanted some publications on hand to send to his correspondents.  His sister Nancy and her daughter Catherine still have boxes and shelves of Club publications in a storage unit. I’ve known for a couple years that they would like to see the Club take it and get it back into circulation. This trip was my chance.  

Nancy is looking great! And I would love to know who made this ceramic Ozma for her brother, lIWOC secretary Fred Meyer.

I was a couple hours into catching up with Nancy and Catherine when they proposed we move to the library.  Nancy’s Oz collection, much of it what remains from Fred, was a delight to see.

There was original Bill Eubank art that I hope Sarah Crotzer can use in the Baum Bugle, and two fun pieces Nancy wanted me to have. One, an unsigned figurine of Ozma someone made Fred, and the other a fun tin globe to which the map of Oz had been applied.  I was grateful and delighted, of course. 

As Catherine is telling me there’s a matching Glinda figurine at an antique mall booth she manages, and I’m taking pictures of Bill’s art, Nancy slipped out and came back with one of Fred’s treasures. I remembered it from an old show-and-tell session. Ruth Plumly Thompson had given him her monogrammed silver dinner bell, the inspiration of the one that Jinnicky carries in her Oz books.  He kept ringing it, Fred had said, but the magic must only work in Oz because no one showed up with trays of treats.  We shared the story reminiscing about Fred until Nancy said she wanted me to have it.  I was speechless. I am still speechless. I will treasure it always. 

Ruth Thompson’s dinner bell. The signed Christmas card it’s on was a gift from Patrick Maund. It’s the only autograph of Ruth’s in my collection.

Time was passing and I had yet to really load the publications they wanted me to take. Catherine also was selling me a dresser she’d made that featured a Denslow image of the Cowardly Lion. We put it in first, pulling the drawers out to stack on top. 

Thrilled to buy this from Catherine! She does creative surface treatments to furniture and was inspired by a poster to create this dresser.

At her storage unit we then filled the base of the dresser and every remaining nook and cranny around it. Bugles and Bugles and Bugles. Club publications we’ve since reformatted to be consistent with Reilly & Lee Oz books, so we no longer offer them in this format in our online store. An armload of Eric Shanower graphic novels. An armload of the Fricke/Scarfone/Stillman 50th anniversary MGM book. Bags with the miniature version of Musical Fantasies of L. Frank Baum. I’d open a small box and find enameled Oz flag pins. It was just a vast supply of materials the Club now can give away to promote membership at festivals, to use as prizes, or to give attendees at Club conventions.

I’d barely made a dent, but the car was full.  I  couldn’t express my gratitude to them enough, and those of you reading it will just have to imagine what a delight it is to have the coffers filled with material we can use to promote the Club.

With Catherine’s encouragement to drive back through Appleton the next day to see the Glinda figurine when the antique mall was open, I headed north to Wausaukee, anticipation mounting, on what would be the second half of my second day.

That stop, at the Land of Oz Museum, will be my next President’s Corner blog entry.  


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