2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.
My author-husband Rob Rains just sold his 30th book—a book with Duke University Women’s Basketball coach, Joanne P. McCallie, sold to John Wylie & Sons Publishers. As he worked on the book last year I learned that the coach’s son went to school in Raleigh with John and Elizabeth Edwards’ son. They live in Raleigh, North Carolina and she saw Elizabeth at school functions.
On December 3, when Edwards lost her courageous fight with breast cancer I wondered where she would be buried. When they announced Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, next to her 16-year old son Lucius “Wade” Edwards, I was already familiar with it, after having interviewed Sharon Freed, the woman who runs it, for my book, “The Making of a Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel Gone With The Wind.”
Raleigh, NC experienced the first “White Christmas” ever according to the Today Show’s weathercast this morning. The record goes back to the 1800’s. They have had snow, but never on Christmas. The graves at Historic Oakwood Cemetery are covered in a beautiful white blanket.
It’s an old graveyard with a special area for a Confederate Cemetery. 1,500 Confederate soldiers are laid to rest there and in 1935 a “House of Memory” was erected to commemorate those who fought for the South, and today the memorial’s dedication has been expanded to commemorate the men and women from North Carolina who have served in the armed forces during times of conflict.
The confederate graveyard section is fitting because the reason I was researching it is that “Gone With The Wind” author Margaret Mitchell’s first husband, Berrien “Red” Upshaw is buried there. Upshaw, who was born in Monroe, Georgia in 1901 lived about the same number of years as Mitchell. She was killed at age 48 in Atlanta after being hit by a car. Upshaw reportedly committed suicide in Galveston, Texas.
Elizabeth Edwards was born in Jacksonville Florida in 1949, ironically the same year Upshaw and Mitchell died.
The Edwards’ son, Wade and his siblings who were born after his death attended the Raleigh city’s public schools. Upshaw’s step-mother was a teacher and eventually a principal. Though Mitchell’s marriage to Upshaw was short-lived, he had a big impact on her life and I did much research on his life, which is included in my book. He seemed to feel she based her character Rhett Butler on him, and my research shows some of the extent to which he went, to actually “become” Rhett Butler in his real life.
John and Elizabeth Edwards had sculptor Robert Mihaly create a large 10-foot tall angel graveside monument. Elizabeth Edwards’ grave will likely be on the “celebrity tours” the cemetery gives which include Berrien Upshaw’s grave.
By Sally Tippett Rains (www.GWTWbook.com) Follow me on Facebook–GWTWbook.com