Blue Ridge Country - March/April 2018 - 50
Asheville, North Carolina's Grove Park Inn is where F. Scott Fitzgerald spent the summers of 1935 and 1936 desperately trying to write. He churned out more empty beer
bottles than salable pieces.
Ray Hardee's piece in the May/June 1989 issue covered F. Scott Fitzgerald's
time at Asheville, North Carolina's Grove Park Inn in 1935 and 1936,
where he battled a mild case of tuberculosis, writer's block, alcoholism and
depression. Here, as part of our revisits to stories over the magazine's first
30 years, he teams with his daughter, Marla-a long-time BRC contributing
editor-to take a closer look at Scott's wife, Zelda, and how she tragically
burned to death at a mental hospital in Asheville.
F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald seem
more like characters from a Greek
tragedy than a real-life couple. Their
storyline, punctuated with exhilarating highs and devastating lows,
remains laced with intrigue among
those smitten with the couple's legacy as darlings of the Jazz Age.
Zelda, who was named after the
gypsy heroine of an 1874 novel,
was known as America's first flapper
as she and Scott enjoyed the spoils
of high society. The pair married in
1920, just weeks after publication of
Scott's book "This Side of Paradise."
They basked in the fame and finan-
cial success of the book as they traveled, partied and lived the good life.
But the good life was really an illusion as the marriage began cracking with the strains of an excessive
lifestyle, along with insecurities,
mental instability, and creative competition.
By early 1921, Zelda was pregnant. Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald arrived on October 26, 1921 and the
family moved for a time to Long
Island, NY. The addition of a child
into the family really didn't change
their self-absorbed patterns. They
simply hired a nanny when Scottie