My first memory of Gone With The Wind was reading the book. And such a special book because my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy, gave me her copy to read. So maybe the first ‘hold’ on me was the fact that I was reading my grandmother’s book and knew it held a special place in her memory.
She even put her name and address inside the front cover so in the event she lost it, the book could be returned to it’s proud owner.
I always loved the way my grandmother wrote her “L”s!
As a young teenager, I remember going to the Century 21 Theater in San Jose to see the movie. This was at the time when you bought your tickets in advance so you didn’t have to wait in line. I don’t remember who I went with or if we had reserved seats but I do remember that we bought a program when we entered the theater, had seats right in the middle, and enjoyed the intermission during the movie. Intermission and programs at a movie!
Years later my husband gave me a treasure – an original three color theater herald for the first release of the movie. A small supply of posters had been found in a box below a theater stage and had been untouched for nearly 60 years! And then he framed it for me!
I remember one Christmas getting my very own deluxe edition in VHS format. Even though I have no way of watching it today, I just can’t part with it.
But even with all of these memories, there was a memory I was missing for many, many years. At one point, my grandmother gave me another copy of her book and I remembered it so clearly as the pages were actually written in columns so there were two columns per page. I remember it was somewhat difficult to read it but it was such a classic. And then my memory went black as no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find the book. What happened to it?
And then the unthinkable happened and after the death of both parents, it was time to clean out our childhood home. A home my parents had lived in for over 50 years and where they had kept pretty much everything they’d ever owned. I know there are lots of you out there who know what I’m talking about! And books – oh my, were there books. Books in every closet, under beds, overflowing from every bookcase, and every other nook and cranny available. It was overwhelming and we finally just stacked them up waiting for the Estate Liquidator to take care of them.
Maybe I took a little more care when we cleaned out the closet in my bedroom because, after all, who knew what a young woman would have left with her parents when she started her married life. But thankfully I did take extra time because guess what I found? THE MISSING BOOK! And now every time I open it and read the words, my mind takes me back to the first time I read it, the movie at Century 21 Theater and, most of all, my grandmother, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy.
It’s just a plain book on the outside and the spine has certainly seen better days but that’s what adds to the memories.
But it’s the pages that really hold the memories. I know people must have thought I was crazy all those years I told them about the book and the columns on the pages but here’s proof that it actually exists!
I don’t know if these books were gifts she received during her lifetime but they sure are gifts to me. I like to think about her reading these books and hanging on to the memories forever, just like I have.
Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy