Located in the capital city of Montgomery, the Fitzgerald house is a tribute to Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald and one of the stops along the Southern Literary Trail. Becky and I had a chance to visit this charming home not too long ago, where the Fitzgeralds had lived during the winter of 1931. Open to the public, and with a knowledgeable and zealous host, this stop was a real treat filled with photographs, original letters, and of course, early editions of some of the greatest works of the Fitzgeralds.
Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott, was born in Montgomery Alabama on July 24, 1900. Her childhood was spent growing up in a rich and very prim family, where the Sayres were prominent figures in Alabama. She was an icon in the 20’s, and dubbed by her husband as “the first flapper.” Zelda was the embodiment of the Roaring Twenties, wealthy, beautiful, energetic.
She grew up in a very proper Southern family, but met F. Scott when she was just finished with high school. After a tumultuous courtship, they were married in 1920, and moved to New York, where they were regarded as celebrities. It was during this time Scott wrote The Great Gatsby and other short stories, and as they gained notoriety, they were able to move to Europe and socialize with other expatriates such as Ernest Hemingway. Zelda also wrote, painted and danced quite actively.
Sadly, despite all the glitz and glamour of their lives, Scott struggled with alcoholism and Zelda was eventually institutionalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia. She later died in a fire at a hospital she had been a patient at.
Tender is the Night, though a fictitious novel, draws much from their married life, so if you’d like a picture of the Fitzgerald’s life together, and an even better read, pick up this classic for your poolside reading.
Though Zelda’s life was a fascinating, and often tragic, we still celebrate this famous couple. They were popular in their own day, and continue to remain so today, so let’s celebrate our very own Southern Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Plan a visit to their beautiful home as soon as you can!
[As a side note, when we arrived at the Fitzgerald house on Felder Avenue hungry, and in desperate need of refreshment, the curator recommended Café Louisa. And what a treat it was! I can’t strongly recommend this café, full of fresh cookies, pies, pastries – and maybe some other food, was their other food? I feel certain, but with sugar present, who cares! – and of course coffee and teas enough. Make sure to take a stop by. And look for Sweet Iced Tea business cards, which we left on the table where local businesses can advertise!]