2011 is the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. Sally Tippett Rains is available for speaking engagements and she can add an element of Civil War history or Movie history to your event. Rains can speak about any aspect of Gone With the Wind, either in regular clothes or dressed in a hoop skirt to enhance your gathering.
To book rains, contact:: info@GWTWbook.com
The Making of a Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Mitchell's Classic Novel Gone With The Wind contains the exclusive Civil War history behind Margaret Mitchell's story. Rains had access to a scrapbook from Mitchell's family which contains pictures from the 1800's as well as stories from Mitchell's Civil War ancestors. Some of these stories are very similar to stories in Gone With The Wind.
For more information: info@GWTWbook.com
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Margaret Mitchell's worst nightmare had literally come true. Her crumpled body lay bleeding on the hot pavement and if she could think, she must have been incredulous that in the end it really did occur. After being in two automobile accidents Margaret Mitchell had suffered from recurring nightmares about being involved in another car accident, and now it had happened.
People began running out of buildings to see just what had happened. Screams were heard. Her husband, John Marsh helplessly stayed close to his injured wife.
As he patted his wife's bleeding head with a handkerchief, he said soothing things to her until help arrived. In the distance he heard his name being called. As he looked up, he saw familiar faces in the crowd. The couple was near their apartment, so immediately friends recognized them, but soon the crowd was abuzz when they realized who the woman lying in the street was.
There were those who knew her personally, but many knew her as Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone With The Wind. She had a dress and stockings on and the black clunky shoes that she always wore. Soon the siren wail could be heard over the confusion at the scene. As it arrived, the driver put Ambulance Number One in "Park."
He worked for Grady Memorial, the city hospital for Atlanta. As was the custom, the driver had been deputized by the police department so he got out with arms spread, trying to push back the onlookers. His passenger was medical intern Dr. Edwin Paine Lochridge. Before paramedics, they would send young interns out in the ambulances.
Dr. Lochridge knelt to the ground to check the woman's vital signs and through the bloodied face he recognized her! It was Peggy Marsh, a friend of his mother's since her youth. Lethea Turman Lochridge and Peggy Mitchell had been friends since their youth. Dr. Lochridge had known Margaret all his life. Once they got her stabilized the driver helped him get her onto a stretcher and placed in the back of the unairconditioned car.
As he continued to treat her, he tried to talk to Marsh, who was standing nervously at the open door.
"How did this happen?" asked Lochridge.
"We were going to the movie," Marsh said, still unable to comprehend it all. "And then a car…. And I tried to make her stop, but she just kept going."
Nearby onlookers gossiped about the scene. "It's Margaret Mitchell, the author. She and her husband were on their way to the Peachtree Arts Theatre to see A Canterbury Tale."
The Marshes had been crossing the street and both of them, in poor health, walked slowly at best. He was still recovering from heart problems and trudged along. His wife had chronic ankle problems. When the speeding car rounded the corner Marsh tried to pull her back... but, true to her life, she did what she wanted and kept going.
Lochridge tended to the patient, applying pressure to stop the bleeding. About then a police officer arrived and wanted to question Marsh.
"We decided to go to the movie," Marsh explained. "We never made it." As he talked Marsh began sweating profusely, breathing more heavily. Since the young intern knew them, he was familiar with Marsh's heart problems and recent poor health. Lochridge told the ambulance driver they should get him into the car as well.
The ambulance sped through the night. At the hospital the driver pulled up over the emergency ramp, braked, then swung opened the door. Dr. Edwin Paine Lochridge helped carry his family friends inside. After getting Margaret on a gurney, they put Marsh in a wheel chair and someone began checking his vital signs for a possible heart attack.
At Grady Memorial, the city hospital, emergency patients were automatically admitted and the hospital provided health care for lowincome. This would not have been Margaret Mitchell's choice, as she always went to St. Joseph's Infirmary where she had a private room and knew many of the staff, including, in bygone days, her own cousin, Sister Melanie.
Grady was a teaching facility and even though she may not have gone there herself, Mitchell had a connection with the hospital as she funded scholarships for some of the doctors there. In recent years she had worked with Benjamin Mays, the president of Morehouse College to provide anonymous scholarships to Morehouse medical students. One of Atlanta's first black pediatricians, Dr. Otis Smith, was the recipient of her generosity. None of that mattered now as she was being attended to at 8:30 p.m. on that Tuesday evening; admitted as one more patient injured in a drunk driving accident, a problem that had escalated in Atlanta at the time.
According to Wilma Fowler, the nurse who took care of her that night, Margaret Mitchell was taken to the third floor, Ward "F," and occupied one of the three single rooms on that floor. Because the patient was admitted as Margaret Marsh, Wilma Fowler did not immediately realize who she was, but soon learned it was the famous author.
"The night supervisor informed me that we were getting a female patient," said Fowler, at the time a 21-year-old nursing student who would be graduating the next month. "I was told I would be taking care of her all night."
She undressed the patient and then the doctor came in to examine her. In the hall, John Marsh, whose vital signs had checked out, paced the floor. Soon a gurney was set up for him, though mainly as a precaution against another heart attack. Although worried about his wife, Marsh complied. Hospitals then were not air conditioned and it was a very hot night. The small room held only one bed, a small dresser and a straight, hard chair. Marsh, not allowed in, stayed on the stretcher right outside the door. He knew the situation with his wife was critical, as she had not regained consciousness.
Atlanta went to bed not knowing that one of its most beloved citizens lay near death. Only one visitor came that night. Mayor William Hartsfield, a friend, who received a call from the police. Marsh looked up, saw the mayor and felt a sense of relief.
"What happened?" the mayor asked, seeing Marsh on the stretcher.
"I thought it was Peggy."
"Bill! Thanks for coming!" Marsh replied, feeling somewhat calmed. "It was Peggy. She was hit by a car. She suffered head injuries and internal injuries. They just put me on this because they were worried about a heart attack, but I'm fine. I'm just so worried about Peggy. I ... can't lose her."
Marsh explained what had happened that night, about their cancelled dinner plans and then their last-minute decision, with Mitchell feeling better, to go to the movie. The theater was very close to their home and also near one of their favorite dinner spots, The Piedmont Driving Club. They'd had drinks at the Club, Marsh added, but never made it to the movie.
The mayor nodded sympathetically. Hartsfield and Marsh were quiet. The nurses and doctors came and went. Finally Hartsfield broke the awkward silence. "She's going to come through this," he reassured. Marsh nodded, silent, grateful the mayor had rushed over. Just seeing Mayor Hartsfield reminded John of happier times when they'd been together on so many occasions, both as the mayor and as a friend. When Atlanta was the scene of the Hollywood Premiere of Gone With The Wind, Mayor Hartsfield had proclaimed a three-day festival.
He'd celebrated with the Marshes and all of Atlanta when the movie stars, including Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and the others, came to town. The mayor was here, everything would be OK. He stayed a few hours until eventually Marsh fell asleep.
The next day, Atlanta woke up to radio reports and newspaper headlines that Margaret Mitchell was clinging to life at Grady Memorial after being hit by a car. The medical team was assembled, but the patient showed no signs of improvement. She suffered pelvic fractures and massive head wounds, along with internal injuries.
Outside, a crowd was gathering. Once word got out about the famous patient, the hospital had to bring in extra employees, nurse Fowler recalled. They had already set up twenty-four-hour police protection, but more security was brought in to keep the crowds out of the building.
"We had extra people answering the phones," said Fowler. "It was one of those old switchboards with the wires. Calls were coming in from all over the country and the operators could not handle them all so they brought in extras."
Movie stars were calling. Gone With The Wind producer David O. Selznick telephoned. Everyone wanted to know how she was doing. Fowler had checked her vital signs every fifteen minutes since taking over as the in-room nurse for Mitchell after her shift began at 11 p.m. the night before. The vital signs were normal. Blood pressure was normal…
Now read about Margaret Mitchell and all of the events in her own life and the lives of her family members that inspired her to write Gone With The Wind. Read also about the people in Hollywood who worked so hard to bring her novel to life on the big screen. Three years of research and over 70 interviews with actors, historians, family members and so many more make up this compelling book by Sally Tippett Rains: The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story Of Margaret Mitchell's Classic Novel, Gone With The Wind.