Tara! Home. I'll go home. And I'll think of some way to get him back. After all... tomorrow is another day.
I was visiting the journal of a new friend, Marc, and I learned that Margaret Mitchell’s estate has selected an author to write another book using the characters that she created in Gone with the Wind. The working title is Rhett Butler’s People and it is told from Rhett’s point of view. I wasn’t impressed by the authorized sequel several years back entitled Scarlett. It didn’t live up to the continuation in my head of the saga of Scarlett and Rhett. I did enjoy the tale, told from Mammy’s point of view with the clever title, The Wind Done Gone, published amid great controversy as the Mitchell estate tried to prevent its release. Eventually the courts ruled that it was a parody and as such could be published.
I first read Gone with the Wind when I was eleven-years-old. I fell in love with Scarlett O’Hara with her first “fiddle-dee-dee” to the Tarleton twins. I read the entire book in two days, pretending not to hear my mother call my name when she wanted my help with some household chore. I suffered with Scarlett as she and Melanie fled from the Yankees, and lusted with her as Rhett Butler put a blush on her cheeks with his
suggestive comments. Of course, I was only 11 so I didn’t really know what he was suggesting. I cried my heart out when he left her at the end and felt Scarlett’s defiant sense of hope as she turned her eyes towards Tara and vowed to get him back, “After all… tomorrow is another day.”
That summer, my dad took us to the Starlite Drive-In Movie Theater and I saw Gone with the Wind on the big screen. It was one of those rare cases of the movie being as good as the book. I was enthralled and swept away as Atlanta burned. When Scarlet threw that vase at Rhett Butler’s head, I knew that I was in the presence of greatness. I wanted to be Scarlet.
I spent hours in front of a mirror trying to arch one eyebrow in pursuit of my best Scarlet impression. To my great disappointment, I never mastered raising just one eyebrow. Eventually, I came to realize that my inability to replicate Vivien Leigh’s quizzical eyebrow lift was not the only bar to my becoming Scarlett O’Hara. In spite of my childish ability to ignore the obvious, the face that stared back at me as I vainly worked my forehead muscles, was that of a brown-eyed, brown-skinned girl, who looked a lot more like Prissy than Miz Scarlet.
I’ve never completely rid myself of my Scarlett O’Hara obsession. I recognize that it is rather absurd especially as I was raised in a mid-sized southern town, Wilson, North Carolina that is divided by a railroad track. In my childhood, blacks lived to the east of the track and whites to the west. However ironic it may be, I love my south--grits, the summer heat, and the way that y'all sort of rolls off your tongue like molasses. Sometimes, when I think that no one is watching, I still practice arching one eyebrow, but I have grown to love Prissy.
Butterfly McQueen (Prissy)