A story like this has never been told before. Many people have heard of the Wizard of Oz but no many know about the Wizard of Walls. The good news is you don’t have to get caught in a tornado to meet him. You just have to go into his shop but he is still a mystery to behold. One small boy and his family can attest to this.
His name is William “Will” Keller and he is seven years old. He has just moved from Windsor, Ontario to Calgary, Alberta. His father got this new job as an accountant at an oil and gas company that he has never heard of. His mother stays home with him but she makes these pretty pictures on the computer and sells them. His ten-year-old sister is in the fifth grade while he is in the second grade. Sadly, Will is suffering from night terrors that have started long before the move.
Will and his mom are walking down seventeenth avenue, southwest in that morning. They had stopped at this really neat donut shop called, “Jelly Modern Donuts.” He got a cinnamon bun that is really good. His mom wanted to cheer him up after his latest nightmare, so they are having donuts for breakfast. His favorite. As they are walking down the street, they come to this store called “Walls Alive.” He thinks that is a funny name for a store.
“Well Will.” His mom says perkily. “Let’s see what we can find here for your brand-new bedroom.”
“Okay Mommy.” Will shrugs. He doesn’t know what they will find in a boring old store. Plus, he is too tired to argue about it.
Once they are inside the store, the first thing they see is a mirror with a desk under it and colorful paper orchids in a vase beside it. His mom takes his hand and drags him over to it. She looks long and hard at it like it is the coolest thing in the world. All Will can do is just roll his eyes.
“Oh Will! Don’t you think Stacy would love this for her room?” His mom excitedly asks.
“I guess.” Will answers nonchalantly.
As his mother continues to look at the desk, Will turns around and sees the coolest wall paper he has ever seen. He finds himself drawn to it like it’s calling to him. It has a black background with all these wild plants in a rainbow of colors. It reminds him of camping. When he goes camping with family, it is always an adventure. There so many places to explore and neat things to see like the fresh raspberries they get to pick or the wild animals that come around. That is the time when Will is the happiest.
“You have a good eye, my young friend.” Says a friendly-looking old man with a grey curled mustache and beard wearing a red sweater vest over a crisp white shirt and tan pants.
“Thanks mister.” Will says.
“Please call me Meister.” He chuckles and smiles at the boy. “Now that I think about it, my name still sounds like mister.”
When Will gives him a little laugh back his Mom strides up to them. Nervously she pipes up “Hi.”
“Hello Miss.” Meister says politely and holds out his hand to her to shake. “Your son here has terrific taste. I can sense an adventurous spirit in him.”
“That he does.” She says in relief and shakes the man’s hand. “Sorry. I’m Kelly and this is my son Will.”
“It is good to meet you young Will.” He says as he kneels down in front of him. “I can tell that you are taken with that wall paper. What does it remind you of?”
“Camping.” He happily answers.
“Ah! I can see that.” Meister says. “Being in nature and amazing adventures. Tell me young man, do you collect insects?”
“I used to.” Will answers looking solemn. “But since I get these nightmares.”
“Um. Will.” Kelly interrupts him. “This nice man doesn’t need to know your troubles.”
“On the contrary. I am pleased if I can be of any assistance even if it’s just listening.” Meister says. “In fact, what if I told you that the right wallpaper can help get rid of those nasty dreams? Maybe even give you an adventure to remember?”
Will gives him a small smile and looks up with hopeful eyes to his mother. “Please Mom?”
With the mother’s apprehension written all over her face, Meister speaks up. “I promise you a good price. It’s actually two for one price today and as I saw you admire the vanity set with the orchids; I’ll give you a good price on that too.”
Kelly’s face lights up at that prospect of such a deal. “That sounds great! Do you deliver?”
The three of them walk to the counter and Meister goes to the other side of it while Will finds himself bored at hearing their conversation. However, he finds himself distracted by these desk ornaments between two little pine trees. It looks like something out of Harry Potter. He imagined that they were some kind of potion bottles but he wonders what for. Meister smiles at the curious Will as if he hears what is in the young lad’s mind.
“I see you found my magical customer counter, young sir.” Meister jovially points.
“It’s really magic?” Will runs over to him and his mother.
“Oh yes. It tells me which customers come in and which ones are happy with their product.” Meister explains. “You see, the blue liquid at the top tells me who is coming in and it will slide into the purple liquid when they leave. But it only turns purple when the customer gets what they need from my wall paper whether it is an amazing adventure or a relaxing vacation.”
“That’s so cool!” Will lightens up for the first time in days.
Kelly couldn’t help smiling herself. Clearly her son is taken in by this odd albeit proper man. “Thank you. I haven’t seen him smile like that for a long time.”
“My pleasure.” He says to Kelly. “Is there another wallpaper that tickles your fancy?”
“I really like that wallpaper with the peacocks, flowers, and leaves. Oh! It’s green.” She says.
“Excellent choice.” Meister comments. “I created that when I was at Versailles. I wanted to make a romantic French feel like Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.”
“You made these papers?” Kelly looks at him astounded.
“Yes.” He nods and leans over the counter. “I always try to find the unique and give it to others.”
“Cool!” Will smiles up at Meister.
With a chuckle from Meister, he stands back up and rings in the sales. “Alright Miss. I can send these to you for tomorrow. May I have the name, phone number, and address please?”
Nearly a week later, all the new wallpaper is up in the Keller household and Will is finally able to spend the night in his own room. Since he helped his mother put the wall paper up, Will has been eager to get aquatinted with his new room. Now all of his stuff is in there and he loves the wallpaper that still reminds him of camping.
After having his bath, brushing his teeth, and getting in his pajamas, Will runs into his room and gets out his favorite children’s book. “Where the Wild Things are” by Maurice Sendak. He crawls into bed and looks through it before he drifts off to sleep. That’s how Kelly found him, sound asleep with his favorite book open and lamp still on. She takes the book, turns off his lamp, and kisses him on his forehead. She walks back to the door and looks lovingly at her baby boy sleeping soundly.
Will opens his eyes and finds himself in his orange tent. Eagerly he crawls out of the tent and finds himself in the wilderness. A big, bright, beautiful forest just like the last one they went to about a month ago. All around him are wild berries that are just calling to be eaten and these wild colorful flowers just waiting to be sniffed. The whole air around him is fresh and warm like it is welcoming him into the fold.
With a joyful yelp, Will runs around the forest and plays the adventurer in all of his books and movies. As he jumps up and rolls on the ground, he sees that he is face to face with a young stag who hasn’t grown his horns yet. Will sits up and faces the deer. He is so beautiful and regal that Will could not take his eyes off of him. Slowly, Will reaches a hand to him and the little deer reaches his snout to meet him. Just like that, a bond is formed.
In the master bedroom is Kelly and her husband, Trevor. He is sound asleep while Kelly is reading her book. She looks to the finished papered wall and admires it. Meister is right. This place looks like a palace garden which is exactly what she is hoping for. With a contented sigh, Kelly turns out her light and settles into a deep slumber.
When she opens her eyes, she sees herself in a beautiful rose-colored Victorian Parisian gown. In front of her are two very large double doors that she has to push open. As soon as she does so she is greeted by an extravagant and romantic garden with large pink flowers and peacocks strutting everywhere. Gracefully, she descends down the stairs and breathes in the strong floral scents that surround her. She puts a hand on her hip to find a lacy fan tied to her dress. She slips it off, opens it up, and starts fanning herself that she imagines many princesses before her have done so.
Suddenly she feels a gentle, masculine hand take hers. Beside her she sees her husband Trevor only this time he is dressed as a French King with the white-powdered wig and all. He presses his lips to her knuckles, making her heart flutter like the little butterflies that are flying around them. A string quartet sounds beside them and her husband pulls her to him. He leads her into a gentle and romantic waltz around the garden. The strings of the violins fill the air to make every heart melt.
The next morning, Kelly wakes up happy and giggly. That was probably the best dream that she has ever had. Energetically, she pushes off the blanket and gets out of the bed without a care in the world. As soon as she leaves the bedroom, she can hear her whole family downstairs in the kitchen. They are laughing and joyfully talking as they wait for Trevor’s special pancakes. The rich comforting smells of breakfast makes its way to her nose and she knows that she can’t wait to get that first cup of coffee.
Once she reaches the kitchen, her heart swells to see the smiles of the people she loves the most. Her eyes immediately go straight to her Will. For the first time in too long, she sees him laughing and smiling with no dark circles under his eyes. Kelly could almost cry at that sight. To see her son happy and healthy again is a miracle.
“I had a dream that I was this princess from China.” Her daughter Stacy pipes up excitedly. “It was so pretty the way these pink flowers from the trees kept falling on me and I had this really pretty umbrella. I was dancing around one of their special castles and walking across these little bridges with little rivers.”
“Really?” Kelly asks as Trevor gives her fresh cup of coffee. “That sounds Japanese to me.”
“Maybe but it was sure pretty.” Stacy says. “I wonder if I’ll get tea there, next time.”
“Next time?” Kelly looks at her daughter inquiringly.
“I hope so.” Will says happily. “In my dream, I was camping and I met a baby deer. I wonder who I’ll meet next.”
Trevor could not help but laugh at them. It is far-fetched but Kelly could not help but think that their recent dreams were not dreams at all. They were something magical. She doesn’t know how but all she can see is the results. Her whole household is smiling and happy. That’s all she needs to know.
Back at Walls Alive, Meister sits at his counter and finishes his paper work. He stands up and goes to the liquid ornaments on the other side. He watches the four little drops of blue liquid turn into purple. It looks like he has some more happy customers. It looks like the wizard has worked his magic once again. He looks up, smiles, and winks.
Special Thanks to:
Modern Donuts: For good donuts and good people! 1414 8 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J6. http://jellymoderndoughnuts.com/
Walls Alive: For beautiful wall paper everywhere you look. 1328 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0C3 https://wallsalive.com/