Does anyone else get an electric thrill every time they hear those iconic opening notes? There are only two film scores that make me feel that way - Gone With the Wind and Superman. But any discussion of my love for all things Superman can be saved for a later date,
Right now it's all about Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind and my trip to Atlanta in July 2014. I was in dire need of a vacation and my friend Marjorie suggested I hop down to Atlanta for a visit. I had't seen Marjory since 2008 and I hadn't seen my other Georgia friend, Connie, since 2012 so it seemed like a good idea.
When it was decided that I would be going to Atlanta the question of what to do came up. For me there was nothing else to do but immerse myself in all things Mitchell and Gone With the Wind. Through Google I found Atlanta Movie Tour's Gone With the Wind Tour which is a three hour tour hosted by an actress playing Margaret Mitchell. As cheesy as it may sound it was actually a lot of fun.
I was in seventh or eighth grade the first time I saw the famous film. We were at my grandmother's house for some occasion and I decided to put it on while the adults were talking. I'm not sure why I reached for it over some of the others moves she had. I had heard of the movie before but had certainly never seen it. From that first scene with Scarlett on the porch of Tara with the Tarlton twins I was hooked.
I was in eighth grade when I read the book which didn't seem to surprise my teachers very much. I remember in we had to keep track of all the books we had read over the school year. My log was pages and pages long. And, I ended up winning a gift certificate to a look bookstore for reading the most books out of the whole eighth grade. Seeing me carrying around something like Gone With the Wind wasn't out of the ordinary.
The year after that I read Scarlett and as much as I liked it there was no topping Mitchell's original. It seemed to be part of me and a trip to Atlanta would not be complete without a pilgrimage to where it all started.
Margaret Mitchell only lived in one small apartment though the whole house has been turned into a museum dedicated to Mitchell and her work. Margaret had been a newspaper reporter (female reporters were a rarity at the time) when she was in a car accident. During this time her husband John did his best to keep her occupied and according to legend she read every book in the library. After that it's said that John suggested she write her own book.
This is the picture that hung in Rhett's bedroom in their Atlanta home and if you look closely...
you can see where Rhett threw the drink!
Our next stop after the house was the library which has a very extensive collection:
Margaret collected editions of the book in other languages.
I'd like one of these with my name on it as well. This is just a copy of the actual Pulitzer. The real one is kept away from the harsh lights of the library.
After we left the library we headed over to the Oakland Cemetery where Margaret and her family were laid to rest. If you're ever in Atlanta I strongly recommend checking out Oakland Cemetery. It's one of the few Victorian style garden cemeteries in the United States and has a great deal of history. There's even a lamp post with Civil War damage and a magnolia tree that was planted by the brother of a confederate soldier laid to rest. Atlanta was a major train hub and had several military hospitals were near the cemetery. So, many soldiers were buried there - including sixteen Union soldiers and over three-thousand unknown Confederate soldiers. These graves are all protected by the Lion of Atlanta.
Here's that lamp post
The Marsh family plot
It's a little hard to see in this picture but there are pennies, nickels, and dimes on top of the headstone. These are most likely from people wishing to have the same sort of literary success that Ms. Mitchell had. I left a dime - I figured I could use the extra nine cents of luck.
Here's Oakland's other famous resident - Bobby Jones. Apparently people leave golf balls on his grave in the hopes of improving their games.
Visiting the Margaret Mitchell House and being in the room where that work of art was created made my need to complete this journey even stronger. It made me want to work even harder to complete my manuscript and get published. It was almost as if Margaret reached from the great beyond to give me a pinch. And I'm going to do everything I can to make that ten cents a sound investment.
Next year I hope to visit Green Gables with a stop to see the March sisters and Walden Woods on the way up. From what I understand Concord, CT is a great place for literary exploring and I hope to do as much of that as I can.