My mom’s name was Dorothy. And, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, she faced many challenges in her life. But, somehow she also managed to have grand adventures and befriend some pretty wacky people along the way. She even had a small dog that she took with her everywhere.
Mom was a “card-carrying” drama queen (she actually had a degree in drama from the UW). If the world was a stage, my mom was the diva leading lady. She wore sparkly harem pants and long flowing scarves and was quite sure that if she hadn’t married and had three kids, she most certainly would have been a star. To our constant embarrassment, she refused to conform to the social rules of this world. To HER embarrassment, she had three shy and introverted kids who had no aspirations to follow in her dramatic footsteps. This frustrated her terribly.
So, she waited until we grew up and turned her attention to the grandkids instead. It irked her no end that none of us named any of our children after her. Whenever any of us was expecting she would say, “Dorothy is a lovely name for a girl.” And, we would ignore her and name our kids after the quieter people we admired.
Grandma Dorothy loved her grandkids passionately. They had free reign in her closet full of funky clothes and they loved playing dress-up at her house. But, as much as they adored their wacky grandma, none of the grandkids shared her interest in being quite that dramatic either.
My mother passed away before any of my grandkids were born. But, the other day my granddaughter (named after her shy Norwegian Great-Grandmother on the other side of the family) came to the door in bright red sparkle shoes. Her hair was braided and she announced calmly, “I am wearing ruby slippers and my name is Dorothy.” As we drove to the coffee shop she kept reminding me, “Remember to call me Dorothy.”
“Dorothy” was the center of attention as she teetered into the coffee shop on her ruby slippers. She was on an adventure and she didn’t care who knew it. Silver haired ladies came up to her and commented on her pretty shoes. “Thank you, my name is Dorothy,” she’d reply. And then, she’d twirl a bit and move her shoes so the ladies could see them sparkle. She was completely unfazed at being the center of attention.
The highlight of her day came when an older lady approached her and without prompting said, “You look lovely today, Dorothy.” My little granddaughter twirled and looked at me as if to say: “See, I told you I was a Dorothy.”
I smiled back at her. I could see how much joy her antics had given the coffee buyers. I never saw the joy my mother brought to people. I was too busy being embarrassed.
Her given name may not be Dorothy, but my granddaughter is a Dorothy through and through. And, I delight in her sense of style and her dramatic flair. Oh, how proud my mom would have been!
Mom, you finally got a little “Dorothy” and she is unique and wonderful – just like you were.
Do you have a “Dorothy” in your life? We want to see the pictures!