Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"a beautiful little fool..."

"a beautiful little fool"...So said Daisy Buchanan in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. But those weren't Daisy's words at all...those were the words of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, F. Scott's wife...upon the birth of their daughter Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald.
I have always been a lover of F. Scott Fitzgerald's work and especially The Great Gatsby...with it's allure of such grand parties full of high fashion and classic cocktails. Born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, I was immersed in Fitzgerald frenzy for years as it was also the hometown of Zelda Sayre...she and F. Scott met at a country club dance in 1918, when he was in town on leave from the Army. They danced, fell in love, dated, moved away, and later married in New York. All the while F. Scott was filling pages with words that would eventually become classics. Very soon they had a child...a daughter whom they called "Scottie". It is because of Scottie that I have given the above background. In a world of romanticism about the Fitzgerald's...there was a boy who lived in an apartment often hearing the peck of a typewriter... sauced words...and heavy steps. She was a middle aged lady...he a college in a small brick 2 story walk up apartment in Cloverdale in Montgomery in the 70's. And then they met...she took a fall...he helped her up and it was there the story unfolded. Scottie Fitzgerald was her name...the only daughter of F. Scott and Zelda...she too, a writer...the father. He was a student at the nearby college. Scottie kept to herself often banging on her typewriter until the wee hours, stumbling and stammering but all a beautiful symphony in the history of the Fitzgerald's. On one of the nights my father unloaded her burgeoning arms of groceries to her apartment across from his...she gave him a photo...a photo of her and Zelda...her the beach. A "thank-you" of sorts for my father's attention and willingness to help. A photo my father would treasure. And so...the "beautiful little fool"...had become a woman...a woman of substance...a woman who for all her normalcy...carried the weight of history...the history of her mother's psychiatric parables...her father's alcoholism...and their extravagant outspokenness. A weight that would bring her back to those roots...back to where it all started...and in turn becoming part of another family's history for which we are eternally grateful. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"...The Great Gatsby

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