by Jennifer Naze
When Dorothy was four years old she had a roguish smile, big brown eyes, and wore a blue ribbon in her hair while living in Grand Rapids. One summer day, Dorothy and her mother, Mrs. Albert Stickley, went for a walk in Macatawa Park close to their summer cottage and spotted brightly colored flowers in the yard of the “Swan” cottage. The four year old Dorothy entered the yard and started picking flowers for a bouquet. Just before leaving the yard with her flowers, a voice from the tree tops said, “hello there.” A startled Dorothy stared up at a tall, mustached man coming down a ladder from a tree platform.
After assuring Dorothy that the flowers were there to be picked and attract small guests to wander over and visit Frank L. Baum asked, “what’s your name?” The little girl answered, ”Dorothy.” Then Baum said, “my little girl is named Dorothy too and from now on she is going to wear a blue ribbon in her hair just like yours.”
Mrs. Jacobs told a reporter in 1939 during an interview that Mr. and Mrs. Baum loved children and their cottage was furnished to attract them. She then recalled how she loved rocking in a swan chair while listening to the adventures of Dorothy and her friends in Oz. Mrs. Jacobs also mentioned how she often asked to meet Baum’s Dorothy, but he would always distract her with more tales about Dorothy’s friends, Oz and other adventures. When the little girl grew up, it was only then she realized that the Dorothy in Oz was a make-believe little girl.
Dorothy Jacobs was excited to see Judy Garland (changed her name from Francis Ethel Gumm), whose mother was Ethel Milne of Michigamme, play the wide eyed Dorothy, blue ribbon in her hair and all on screen in Grand Rapids, the city of her birth and close to where she met her friend Frank L. Baum.
So now when you watch the classic movie Wizard of Oz you can think of Dorothy Martindale Jacobs, a wife and mother from Watersmeet, friend of Frank L. Baum and the real Dorothy of Oz.