For those you who know me well, my favorite movie of all time is the The Wizard of Oz. I collected memorabilia for many years. I attended so many Oz Fests in Chesterton and picked up some lifelong friends as a bonus. I thought you would appreciate this story.
Many years ago while collecting I made myself a replica of the ruby slippers. When I decided to sell off my collection when we bought our home, I kept a few things, one being this stunning pair of sequined pumps that are direct replicas of the ones that Judy wore in the film. I was fascinated with their story and learned so much from reading “The Ruby Slippers of Oz”, by Rhys Thomas. It traces the shoes from being made to where the 7 pairs of pumps went over the years. Great read. In the back of the book is an architectural rendering of the shoes. Sizes, measurements etc, which I used to construct my replicas. They’ve been on a shelf in our den for years, gathering dust. I used them for a few events and even had them displayed in my studio for the celebration of the 65th Anniversary of the film.
My dear friend Beth Tenney of the Anna Held Flower Shop next door to me in the building my studio is in asked to borrow them this past Halloween, as she did very Wizard of Oz –esque Witchy Window in her shop, facing out to Bryn Mawr Avenue. It had a witches hat, a bike, Toto in a basket, crystal ball, etc and my shoes. A gentleman came in her shop a few weeks ago and could not stop talking about the shoes. He seemed to know a lot (but sounded like few facts were not correct after Beth told me what he said) but he seemed to think these were really THE shoes. Beth assured him they were from a collection of a friend of hers, at he made himself. Again, he just kept going on and on about how much they resemble the real ones. Beth told him what a stickler I am for detail, and again, he just could not stop about them. Beth said she ended the conversation or she would still be there. I asked her if she wanted to take them out of the window in fear that they might get stolen. “No” she replied.
Fast forward a week or so. Beth comes into my studio (on a Friday while prepping for a huge wedding) and asks if I could come over about the ruby slippers. Up to my eyeballs in final wedding details, I said I’m really busy can’t it wait” “, which she replied “No, the police are here and they need to speak with you”.
Apparently, someone called the police and reported that they found the ruby slippers missing from the Minnesota Museum (They were indeed stolen awhile back) and they were in this Chicago Flower Shop’s window in the Edgewater Neighborhood. I explained that they were mine and I made them. That wasn’t enough. The person calling the report told them the shoes could be identified by markings inside the shoe, so they asked to examine them. I then went on to tell them the differences between mine and there ones. (no felt on the bottom, lined in yellow, marking on the side of the inside, not on the sole, fact the reporter didn’t list, or didn’t know) to insure they were NOT the real deal. I told the nice police guys that I am sorry they had to waste their time on something like this are not doing something more valuable. He said they have to follow up on anything like this. They took my information, and mentioned a detective might call for more info/questions.
As Beth says, her shop could be sit com. What an episode this would make. And it’s all true.