she refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn’t boring. ―zelda sayre fitzgerald
Like everyone else in the world, I have a huge appreciation for the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald. He was undoubtedly an insanely gifted writer — totally one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century – and despite his alcoholism and general craziness, he lived a life that was FULL. Full of fun, love, emotion, travel, adventure.
But anyone who knows anything about Scott Fitzgerald knows who the real star in his life was… and she went by the name Zelda—Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Scott’s firecracker of a wife, of Montgomery, Alabama.
Doing my best sassy Zelda LOL
Zelda was said to have been a real hoot & a half in her day, and I became enTHRALLed with her after reading Scott’s novels The Beautiful and the Damned and Tender is the Night, which are said to be based on the couple’s marriage, travels, and adventures in neuroticism. (Has anyone read these two? Which do you like more? I can’t decide. I just love them both so much. I could read them over and over.)
(Okay wait, I thought about it again and I think I vote Tender is the Night.)
Scott met Zelda while he was in Montgomery for the Army, and though she was young and kind of high-maintenance and he was super poor, they fell in love and eventually decided to get married. Long story short.
When I made the decision to abruptly move back to Philly for a few months back in February, I was excited. I was excited because going home meant I would be able to be with my friends and family all the time again, but it also meant something else: a road trip.
Kelly joined me for this trip, and we mapped out a route across the south. I’ve never really felt any particular pull toward to the south – I think I like better to experience romanticized versions of this part of the country, preferably in the past when the southern states all seemed so slow and simple and charming (books like To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret Life of Bees, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Help, etc).
There was only one place I was dying to see along this route, and that stop was in Montgomery, Alabama, of course: The Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum.
Kelly and I traveled through the Louisiana night and the Mississippi morning, and arrived in sunny Alabama on a Friday afternoon. The Fitzgerald Museum was closed by the time we arrived, so we saved it for the next day before we made our way to Atlanta. When we we arrived at the museum the next morning, we were the first ones there and had the place to ourselves.
The museum is in the actual house that Scott & Zelda lived in together for a brief time in the 1930s. The Fitzgeralds never stayed in one place long, as is stated on the museum’s website:
From their marriage in 1920 until Zelda’s need for constant hospitalization in 1934, Scott and Zelda managed to live a life that would have impressed even such eternal vagabonds as Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey. During this fourteen year span, they averaged five months per “stop,” which could be interpreted by saying they were short-term renters who took long-term trips.
After I read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler in 2014, I had this sentimentalized, flowery vision of what Montgomery, Alabama must have been like in the early 20th century when Zelda graced the streets with her spunky, spirited ways. Montgomery, of course, was not as magical as I had envisioned — but being in the very house that Zelda & Scott lived and seeing all of their letters, photos and personal items was thrilling beyond thrilling for a Zelda lover like me!
Zelda’s paintings… she was quite an artist, as well as a talented dancer, and she dabbled in writing, too
Do you love the Fitzgeralds too? Have you ever been to the Fitzgerald Museum?