Clara wakes up happy. I know this is not a good way to start a story. I’m supposed to have the main character in distress or at least thinking about distress. But the thing is. Clara is happy.
She is so happy she wants to sing it to the world. And sing it to the world she is going to do. She has a recording contract.
Her gray eyes and her smile show just how happy she is. She had been with her manager all day the previous day choosing songs to take to her producer.
Clara is tired. She has gotten only a little sleep. Her excitement kept her awake most of the night. Her day has finally arrived and she is going to sing for the world.
It is early when she wakes.
Finally, you’re getting somewhere with the story. Clara is going to have an accident on the way to the studio, you’re saying.
Not true. Not true. Nothing is going to happen on the way to the studio. She is going to arrive and sing like the nightingale she was in a former life.
Once she is in the studio, her producer is not going to like the songs she has chosen.
Oh, no. He will like them just fine. You see, he’s in love with Clara. He’s in love with her voice. And he’s in love with her songs. In his mind, her songs are wonderful. They are about the life of her grandmother. She came to Israel when she was a teenager to escape the Holocaust. And escape she did. She came and worked on a kibbutz. The album will end with her grandmother’s garden. It will start off sad and end very happy.
It’s the story of Dorothy escaping to Oz and falling in love with Oz. No returning to Kansas for Dorothy. Dorothy is just fine with Oz and so is Toto. She loves Oz so much that she wants Auntie Em and her uncle to come and live with her. But it’s too late. The tornado took them and the government repossessed the farm. It wasn’t that good of afarm anyway.
The Wizard may have been a disappointment in Oz but everything is just hunky dory since Dorothy melted that witch. The munckins sang hip-hip-hooray. The citizens of Oz sang hip-hip-hooray. Even the horse of a different color sang hip-hip-hooray.
It was then that Dorothy met her Prince Charming. He was a shoe salesman. It’s amazing how many times these Cinderella stories revolve around feet.
After the war, Clara’s grandmother returned to Germany. She went to Auschwitz where her parents and her brother had died. Kansas was not the place she had loved as a young girl. So she returned to Israel and met her Prince Charming. Five kids they had. One of them was Clara’s mother. Her grandfather found in the Israel War of Independence. He fought against Nassar and his allies. While Clara’s grandmother made a home for her husband and her children.
She also made the most wonderful garden. And Clara is going to sing about that garden. That is the final song, “The Garden”. It begins with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It continues with the garden that was the Alhambra. And it ends with memories of Monet’s Garden, all metaphors for Clara’s grandmother’s garden. The last line of the last song, “Dorothy loved the Gardens of Oz.”