The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 29, 1998 · Page 130
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March 29, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 130

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Sunday, March 29, 1998
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Page 130
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THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 1998 51 Video shows 'free spirit' Who was Pansy O'Hara? It's the world's best-selling book next to the Bible and continues to sell more than 250,000 copies a year. Thirty-eight translations of 1 1 n imM fWheiniwesay the book have been published in 42 countries. More people have seen Gone With the Wind than any other movie ever produced. Margaret Mitchell named the book's gutsy heroine 'Pansy' for her favorite flower. Editors persuaded her to change the name to 'Scarlett.' 'Melanie' originally was named 'Flossie' in the book. The character Melanie was drawn from Mitchell's cousin Martha Ann 'Mattie' Holliday. Martha Ann fell in love with another cousin, related both to WefII gO out of our way for you, MITCHELL From II museum has little of her real belongings. Mitchell died in 1949, the victim of a speeding car. Her typewriter, her 1937 Pulitzer Prize, original movie posters from around the world and her J?ed Cross uniform Sre there. Photos and an excellent video tell the author's life story. And our tour guide, Palm Beach County native Angela Har-dage, had enough Mitchell and Gone With the Wind trivia to teach even know-it-all fans something new. A 1920 portrait of Mitchell shows her looking as gorgeous as Scarlett O'Hara herself. Other photos show her dancing a then-daring "apache" dance at her debutante ball, with fellow reporters on the Atlanta Journal magazine staff in 1924, and on a summer picnic in Alabama "with her Bohemian friends," who are lounging on an old bed under the trees. While Mitchell frequently denied that there was anything of herself in Scarlett, Hardage notes Scarlett and Mitchell were a bit alike in their lack of "motherly tendencies." ; In the video, Atlanta's elderly grande dames and retired reporters recall "Peggy," as a free spirit, a character and fun to be with. The story doesn't mention Mitchells brief marriage to a charismatic alcoholic who just might have had Rhett Butler's charm without his - wfSI File photo we're not kidding. Clark Gable played Rhett Butler and Viien Leigh was Scarlett O'Hara. her and to Mitchell John Henry 'Doc' Holliday, the inspiration for Ashlev Wilkes. Be cause they were first cousins, the two Hollidays couldn't marry. Martha Ann joined a convent in Savannah and became Sister Melanie. Doc Holliday went West and got involved in the gunfight at the OK Corral. The two corresponded until he died. B Mitchell wrote the last chapter of the book first, and the rest of it all out of order over a three-year period. Still unhappy with the first chapter after 70 attempts, she wrote a hasty synopsis. She rewrote Chapter 1 several more times, finally finishing it after the book had been sold. SALLY D. SWARTZ - an. Luoia Aruba - 1 " 1 f Puerto . I Llmon X. " ' -XCirtegeni . Panama an Blaa .. v Canal - lalanda f tt Cruises starting from ( 7? Cruises starting from $7no Includes port charges ZrZ Includes port charges APREMimlXCUSIVt Optional Panama Canal shore excursions from Gatun Yacht Club SOUTH CAROLINA ;V Atlanta Macon Only Marsh had read the manuscript, which lay for six years awaiting a final polishing. In 1935, an editor of the Macmillan Co. came to town on a tour of the South and West in search of new authors. Mitchell at first refused to let him read the manuscript, but Marsh persuaded her to turn it over. The video notes how the book enthralled the nation and particularly Atlanta when it was published in 1936. Her father, attorney Eugene Mitchell, remained unimpressed, however, saying he didn't "understand the fuss over Peggy's novel," which he found "much too long." "We all joked she was writing the world's greatest novel," friend Harvey Smith said, "but, by God, she was." substance. Mitchell had the marriage annulled and then wed John Marsh, a newspaper editor and former English professor. She shocked Atlanta society by listing her name and Marsh's separately at the door of their apartment. Photos of the apartment were used to restore it. A small living area leads to a smaller bedroom and bath, with a kitchen barely big enough to turn around in at the back and Mitchell had a maid to cook and clean. Mitchell wrote the all-time bestseller in each of the rooms, sometimes unfolding an ironing board for a typewriter table. When a leg fell off the couch, a few chapters of the book, stuffed in brown envelopes, propped it up. On a Premier Cruise, you'll find destinations that will satisfy your urge to leave behind the ordinary. 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