November 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Vivian!

Today is Vivian Leigh's 100th birthday. I've seen most of her films, but my favorite is A Streetcar Named Desire. Of course she'll always be most remembered for Gone With the Wind. 

In both films, she played a Southern lady meeting difficult life circumstances. Odd, since she was British and had probably never been in a position to experience or understand southern culture. Clearly, however, she "got it" to some extent because she won Oscars for both performances. 

Indeed, us southern girls have a certain strength of character. 

My mother Gladys ALLEN certainly did. She grew up poor, but her family fought their way from the depression to middle class status to owning a home of their own. In spite of being raised as a moonshiner, which netted him a lil' prison time, my grandfather Atlas ALLEN found himself in hot demand during World War II as a helicopter mechanic. A skill he picked up in prison, no less. Good for him!

On the other side of the family, Grandpa STANCIL moved his family from rural Johnston County, NC to the big city of Raleigh, NC where jobs and opportunities were more plentiful. His wife, Lou Ada JOHNSON, must have been one heck of a good woman, just based on the letters my father wrote to her from Marine Corps boot camp and later from Korea. He sure loved his mama. 

Then there's me. I'm no traditional southern belle, but I was raised in the whole southern culture thing where we wore patent leather shoes to church on Sundays and had fried chicken and biscuits for dinner. That's when we weren't having fried pork chops or BBQ straight off the pig.

So while Vivian wasn't exactly a GRITS (Girl Raised in The South) kind of gal, she sure had us pegged with the attitude. My favorite Scarlett O'Hara quote is "Tomorrow is another day".

I say that often. Like, daily. 

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