Saturday, January 9, 2016

More of the Lost Generation

Last summer I was invited to Asheville to do a week detail in the museum storage area of the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of my favorite NPS team-mates also came, and in our free time we scoured the city for remnants of Thomas Wolfe and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Part of it was showing Kate places I'd already found, such as My Old Kentucky Home, Riverside Cemetery, and the Grove Park Inn.

My Old Kentucky Home was Julia Wolfe's boarding house and the setting for "Look Homeward Angel. It is still very much like stepping into the novel.

The Parlor

The dining room
One of Tom's suits hanging in an upstairs closet. He was very tall.

Tom's grave marker in Riverside Cemetery - we left a pen.

While at the Wolfe site, we found out that Jude Law had visited as research for his part as Thomas Wolfe in the upcoming film "Genius." We were told they even took him to the cabin where Wolfe wrote "You Can't Go Home Again." No amount of wheedling could make them tell us more, or where the cabin was, or whether we could see it. That made us more determined than ever. We asked everyone we could think of, did online research, and sleuthed out the rest... It took some crawling over gates and quite a hike, but....

As for the Fitzgeralds....

At the Grove Park Inn, where Scott would stay when visiting Zelda during her days in Highland Hospital.

Zelda died in a fire at Highland Hospital on March 10, 1948. I'd never been to the site of the hospital before, so we had to find the location and pay homage there as well. Many of the building still exist, but there is a stone to mark the location of the hospital.
One of the buildings Zelda would've known
The site of the hospital and Zelda's marker - "I don't need anything except hope, which I can't find by looking backwards or forwards, so I suppose the thing is to shut my eyes."  Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

To finish off the trip, we found a "Speak-Easy," which had been one of Thomas Wolfe's father's favorite local spot. Lex 18 - the atmosphere was evocative. A silent film played on a screen in the dining room, and Kate and I ended up naming the night's cocktail based on the plot of the film - "Marushka's Revenge"!
Lex 18 Moonshine Bar