The Tin Man

Store tin man, Natick, MA. (c) DE Wolf 2015.

Store tin man, Natick, MA. (c) DE Wolf 2015.

Yesterday was a Saturday and I went for a morning walk at the mall. Regular readers of this blog will recognize that this is really a a thinly veiled excuse for a journey in search of espresso and, in this case, a blueberry scone at Nordstrom’s eBar. My IPhone is ever ready to be playful, and I took Figure 1 of a whimsical Tin Man in the children’s department.

Tin men carry childhood memories. I remember vividly visiting my grandmother in the Bronx as a child and just as the IRT emerged into the sunlight there was this tin man on a rooftop. My sister and I always watched for him. I have done some websearching for this rooftop woodsman, but so far have been unable to find him. Perhaps a reader will be able to illuminate me.

But, of course the greater memory was of the Tin man in “The Wizard of Oz.

The Tin man’s quest is to be human, which he equates with having a heart.

“When a man’s an empty kettle he should be on his mettle,
And yet I’m torn apart.
Just because I’m presumin’ that I could be kind-a-human,
If I only had heart.
I’d be tender – I’d be gentle and awful sentimental
Regarding Love and Art.
I’d be friends with the sparrows … and the boys who shoots the arrows
If I only had a heart.”

The Tin man is like the Little Mermaid, Ariel, who also wants to be human. Of course, in her case in the original what she is seeking is a human soul and through that soul the key to immortality But as for the Tin man I think that L. Frank Baum’s lesson is clearer. That being human come from deeds not birthright. You achieve having heart, you are not born with it.

Despite being a symbol of the possibilities of youthful imagination, this store Tin man isn’t meant to be profound just playful. Summer is waning. It is back to school time and for so many children there is a palpable excitement.

“I hear a beat, how sweet!
Just to register emotion, jealousy, devotion
And really feel the part
I could stay young and chipper
And I’d lock it with a zipper
If I only had a heart.”

This entry was posted in Personal Photographic Wanderings.