We had allowed one day between the flight and the first day of class to rejuvenate. One thing that we wanted to do, if we were not too exhausted, was visit the Margaret Mitchell House. This turned into more of an adventure than we had bargained for! I had looked up the location on Google maps and it said that Peachtree Street was a mere 2.8 miles from our hotel. What it failed to say was that there are at least 3 Peachtree Streets in Atlanta!
When our taxi arrived he didn’t know of the Margaret Mitchell House and his sat-nav was not working but he thought that he knew where Peachtree Street was. When we had travelled about 10 miles we asked if he knew where he was going; he assured us he did. After about 20 miles we were very concerned and asked if he was certain he knew where he was going; again he assured us that he did. After 30 miles we asked him to stop the taxi. After some discussion he agreed to telephone the Margaret Mitchell House and confirm that he was headed in the right direction. He said that everything was fine and we would be there soon. Finally we pulled up outside a smoked glass building surrounded by skyscrapers in Downtown Atlanta. Sue and I looked at each other and simultaneously turned to the driver and said this is definitely not the right place. At that point we said just take us back to our hotel, we’d had enough. Dave, the taxi driver, was adamant that this was the right place; he didn’t want to take us back to the hotel and for us to have had a wasted journey. He redialled the house and after a short conversation drove around the block to the back of the smoked glass building. There in the shadow of the skyscrapers was the turn of the century house where Margaret Mitchell had lived and wrote "Gone with the Wind”.
We enjoyed the tour of the house. The guide gave us a great insight to Margaret’s life and her work. I was very interested to learn that Margaret had tried to make the book as historically accurate as possible but also to tell the tale from a female perspective. Women are all too often lost in the retelling of history. Historians, mostly men, have tended to document the battles and politics of history, both of which were dominated by men. I have recently read two books by Philippa Gregory (ok, I’m trying not to get too feminist about this but spell checker does not recognise Philippa as a correctly spelt word, instead it has offered me Phillip, Phillips, Philip, Philips and Philippe – Microsoft please note that WOMEN do exist). I have always enjoyed historical novels, especially those that at least have one foot in reality. "The White Queen" and "The Red Queen" (both by Philippa Gregory) are about the maternal and paternal grandmothers of King Henry VIII, I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. Visiting the house has made me want to read "Gone with the Wind" but looking at the size of that book and knowing how slowly I read, maybe I will just watch the film again.