By Marie Anne Greene
Scarlett Kathie O’Hara … Dear Reader you undoubtably recognize the name as that of one of the two main characters in Margaret Mitchell’s world renown romantic novel – GONE WITH THE WIND. Set in the time frame of the “Recent unpleasantry”, otherwise known as the “War between the States or the American Civil War”, the protagonists were Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler.
You may also know that a major exhibit which tells the story of the two characters exists in Atlanta, and is worth a visit, however Marie Anne’s GIRL GUIDE and Dream Maker – Phoebe discovered a smaller version in the little Georgia town of Jonesboro. Located in the old village railroad station it is populated by life-sized photos from the movie and a collection of the gorgeous gowns worn in that Cinema. Phoebe always on the lookout for a Marie Anne Photo Shoot decided it was a must for Our Gal.
The Duo arrived in mid-morning in the standard female attire of the current time – snug Jeans and colorful flowing over blouse-tunics and tennis shoes, one carrying an all-in-one, almost suitcase size shoulder bag. This was Marie Anne. After paying the modest admission fee, (foregoing the two-hour bus tour) our two ladies slowly strolled through the exhibits taking in “The Story” and viewing, sighing and commenting on the exquisitely bright colored hoop skirted gowns that were the epitome of southern femininity. After savoring this view of semi-historical but the definitely feminine inclined presentation, Phoebe, ever the photographer asked the manager if she could take some pictures. The answer was, as hoped for, prompt and cheerful positive.
With the Green Light given, Our Gal (Marie Anne) closeted herself in the “ladies” and quickly pulled a Red Vintage Satin Gown from the “Bottomless” shoulder bag and hug it up while shedding the Tunic and Jeans, then carefully stepped in the “Scalloped and Ruffled” period gown. At this point Phoebe called, “Marie do you need any help?” With that query Marie unlatched the door and turning her back to the Dream Maker who then said “In-Hale Girl!” and then proceeded to tug the last of restraining ties and securing them with a double bow.
Then after the two friends checked out the full Anti-Bellum image with the accompanying large broad matching Red Sun hat the duo began the photo journey through the exhibits. Marie was ecstatic with the swoosh of the skirt as she glided from one movie tableau to the next wishing only she had either a proper hoop or perhaps the famous “red petticoat” that Rhett had given to “Mami” Scarlet’s all around maid, occasionally flipping her shoulder length mane and twisting the cascading locks over her left shoulder. The Tableaus included Rhett and the couple’s little girl – Bonnie Blue as well as Rhett’s friend – The Society Matron. The team took more than two dozen pictures. Several can be found at the conclusion of this Vignette.
However, this day’s adventure was not over. Not by a long shot although Marie was now back in modern mode. As they approached the car, Our Gal’s eye was caught by a porch full of colorfully dressed Manikins being animated by the warm afternoon breezes. The porch was an outdoor extension of a women’s dress shop which was housed in an early 1900’s single story white frame cottage directly across the road from the Tara railroad station.
Our Gal’s girlish inquisitive nature responded to the array and she dashed across the quiet street and entered the “Spider’s Web”, emerging in ten minutes with the most colorful of the “Blowing Dresses” leaving one of the manikins without her clothes. Phoebe just shook her head as Our Gal beaming with the joy of a unique “Catch” dashed back across the street and slid into the car, pulling the colorful bundle from its silver shopping bag and fluffed the cloud of delicate Chiffon for Phoebe’s appraisal. After admonishing Our Gal, that she probably paid too much, which comment Our Gal politely ignored, the Girl Guide continued it reminded her a something out of one of the dance scenes from some old movies which she would recall in few minutes.
Midway back to Phoebe’s Studio both of our ladies were struck with a sweet tooth attack. The Answer was a McDonald’s Soft Ice Cream cone. Marie was also thirsty so while was placing their order, she added a tall Coke. Once back at their booth, both of the ladies began licking the Cones. After a few initial tastes, Marie uncased an old memory of an after school “Treat” – A root-beer float. With this recollection she slid the ball of soft ice cream into the Coke glass and after a few stirs, there was her memory ALIVE and in delicious 3D.
Once back at the Studio, Marie could not wait to try on the new acquisition, which Phoebe again commented on, when our Girl began swirling around in front of the three paneled mirrors. Phoebe said “I have it!” declaring the patchwork colors of the dress reminded her of two Musicals, One Being West Side Story, the other being Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. Not a bad accolade.
Normally, this would have been the end of this little adventure. However, after discussing their earlier visit to the Country Inn for a Southern Brunch and the warm reception they received, particularly Marie Anne from the Shoppe Manager, Laura (what a lovely soft feminine name) decided that a return “Drop-By visit was called for. They both commented on how cordial and bouncy Laura was and how she had wished them Bon Voyage with “warm hugs” and had exchanged “Thank You” notes and contact information with Marie Anne.
In their chatty dialogue as Laura recited the history of the Inn, Marie told Laura she (Marie) had a follow-on book to “Gone” and would be happy to bring it on their next visit. Recalling this “Promise”, Phoebe suggested Marie Anne stop by the Museum Shoppe on her drive home to the Cottage. Marie thought that was splendid idea as Marie had tucked the promised volume in the car as soon as she had returned from her earlier visit. Beside our Gal was intrigued and curious as to what type of reception she would receive from Laura on this second occasion – ostensibly a simple girlish “drop-by”.
It was only a short detour on Marie’s drive back to the cottage, so it was decided. The weather was pleasant and the drive eventful and during the quiet time Marie Anne decided to show Laura the Colorful Cloud of Femininity if the opportunity presented itself.
As Marie entered the Shoppe, she did not see anyone, much less Laura but within two seconds she heard this boisterous-happy “MARIE!!! from her left and she was immediately “attacked” by a huge warm hug from Laura, who at the same time squealed, “Oh Marie, I am so happy to see you. Thank you so much for coming back.” This all came as a very pleasant surprise to our Gal who returned the hug and the greeting and asked Laura, how was her earlier annoying medical condition going and the renovation work going on Laura’s own vintage cottage.
Laura responded that the medical situation was a thing of the past and work on the house was progressing although not as fast as she would have liked. Then Laura, who has a special skill with training dogs said she had a job relatively near Marie’s stomping grounds and had been tempted to call her but had neglected to bring Marie’s contact information. This oversight was immediately rectified by adding Marie’s Cell number to Laura’s phone.
Next came a little show and tell. Marie pulled the ball of color from her shoulder bag and shook it out for Laura’s comment which was – “I like it. It is you. Looks just lovely but you need to try it on – Please.” With this kind of reception how could a Girl refuse the request. Off to the Ladies Room for a quick “Wonder Woman” whirling change and a Make-Up touch up with a gentle spray of perfume and our Gal proudly stepped back in to Shoppe which now contained five customers, all men, who were busy scanning the racks of Civil War books and memorabilia at one end of the Shoppe. Marie’s entry attracted only fleeting glances from two of group who then turned their interest back to books.
Marie then made her way to the opposite end where jewelry, scarves and floral arrangements were on display. While Marie was fingering and trying on several of the scarves, the “Book group” carried their selections to Laura at the cash register who rang up the sale and placed the books in bag, thanked the group for their visit and closed out the interchange with a cheerful “Do come back.”
Once the group had departed Laura joined Marie who had concluded her own browsing and had selected a yellow and black silk scarf. With that bit of business concluded, Laura turned back to more important Girl talk and now fully admiring Marie in the cloud of color, and gushed her admiration requesting a twirl and bow-saying “Wonderful – Wonderful! You look stunning Marie – Great choice matches your spirit perfectly”. This was followed by Marie initiating a Hug and giving Laura a peck on the cheek with almost a tearful Thank You.
Laura, reverting back to her dog story, then disclosed, she expected to be called back for some more weekend “dog” work and she would call Marie beforehand to arrange a lunch or cocktail hour get together. This briefly set our Gal’s heart and pulse up a notch with anticipation and some concern as neither Marie nor Phoebe thought Laura had any hint that Marie was not Marie. Oh well, after some thought our Gal decided she would not worry about what the future might hold and just enjoy the world as it is – Just two girls enjoying each other’s company.