Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Romantic Egotist... and his waltzing partner

I've had the Fitzgeralds, F. Scott & Zelda, on the brain lately. Although I've long been an admirer of F.S.F.'s writing, I knew very little of him and his wife. So, one particularly lazy evening I, and Johnny Walker, googled the couple to see what we could find out.

As it turns out this titillating twosome had more charisma than any of his brilliantly developed characters. Their lives defined a storied time in American history full of sex, drugs, scandal, and jazz. They, along with literary icons such as; Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Sherwood Anderson, T.S. Elliott, Gertrude Stein and many more, formed the Lost Generation and left in its wake a collection of work that continues to inspire and entertain us.

As I continue to read and learn about this fascinating couple I become more enthralled with their lives and with their wickedly apt network of contemporaries. Zelda, for instance, was not only a beautiful lady, but a beautiful artist as well.
(ballet figures by Zelda Fitzgerald)
(the deposition by Zelda Fitzgerald)
It was also in my recent quest to learn more about the Fitzgerald's that I found out that they are buried in Rockville Maryland, a suburb just outside of the District. Well, the combination of my love for cemeteries and strong interest in this compelling couple was reason enough for me to hop in my car and head to Rockville.

The couple is buried along with their daughter and a few other Fitzgerald family members in a very small graveyard attached to a modest structure -Saint Mary's church, built in 1817.

I can only imagine what a peaceful setting this must have been in 1817.... juxtaposed now by busy roads and austere cement clad buildings. I'll refrain from showing that aspect of Saint Mary's. The graveyard is lovely, despite it's unfortunate location.

Saint Mary's Catholic Church:
520 Veirs Mill Road
Rockville, MD 20852


  1. I was sort of obsessed with F. Scott in my teens, then went on to study his work in college as an English major. A long time ago, someone gave me an old copy of Zelda, the biography written by Nancy Milford, and I became really fascinated by her, as well. This post makes me want to dig that book out and read it again (I know it's around here someplace!).

    I don't think I'd ever seen photos of where they were buried. Next time I'm in Maryland, I might have to track that church down! Great post, Scott. Thanks!

  2. Wow, I had no idea they were buried so close! I would have thought they'd be buried in much more.....glamorous surroundings. I'll have to pay a visit -maybe on my way home from Pittsburgh tomorrow! whats up with the pennies? Did you leave one?

  3. The Great Gatsby is still one of my favorite's. According to Hemingway, Zelda emasculated her husband enough to question his manhood. (In a Moveable Feast)

  4. Julia -They were both terrifically fascinating. I'm sure that I could contentedly listen to you chat about the Fitzgerald's, and many other things, for hours. Please check it out, I know you'll like it. There is a beautiful train station next to the graveyard that is worth a visit as well.

    Stefan -I thought the same thing! It's a very humble graveyard. If I were in Pittsburgh right now I'd visit Homewood Cemetery -it's been YEARS since I've seen it. Please visit it for me while you're there.

    Karena -The Great Gatsby is fantastic. I recently read something similar about Zelda's attitude towards Hemingway and Scott. Then again, Zelda was thought to be "cerebrally compromised".

  5. wow...
    my mom was a 'zelda' freak of sorts.
    she was in love with them. i heard quite a bit about them growing up.
    this was a great post.
    i have sent her the link to this post.
    i am sure she will be right over...and leave a comment to boot.

    xxx happy new year

    Believe me, I thought there was nothing I didn"t know about the two of them. From childhood and up. You never stop learning.
    Thank you and my Daughter, for this info.
    Happy New Year to All.

  7. Thank you, Renee. How luck you were to have been brought up by a lady who appreciates such interesting people. I can see now where you get your phenomenal taste.

    Yvonne -Thank you for stopping by my little blog. I think that I was just as shocked as you, and everyone else that I've told, about this. I too thought that they would have been buried is a much more posh setting.

  8. So That's who you are!!!!
    I loved this post. I am an Aries too.
    The name didn't ring a bell on Gmail.Forgive me...
    Zelda and Scott were as wild as they come.
    Very sad ending. Glad to see they were
    buried together.

  9. I always remember Zelda nursed their daughter until she was 5or6.. I, too, was once mad for sad to want to become a dancer when you are really past it.

  10. Thanks for the beautiful pictures--such a tragic story.

  11. Just great. Nice, clean, crisp photos.

    Thank you.

  12. What a marvelous post. I loved the photo of the gravemarker covered with pennies. I, too, went through a Fitzgerald mania, and also recommend Nancy Milford's Zelda to you. A rather harrowing read, as it follows in detail the transformation of a fun-lovin' Southern belle into a mentally-deranged psycho-ward resident.

  13. Yvonne -Yes, this is me. It's always nice to meet a fellow Aries... isn't it difficult for us to always be right?? (hee hee, a little joke)

    GreyonFavour -I love that just about every person that I chat with, either via this blog or out on the street, can spout off some fun fact about the wild couple. Thanks for stopping by!

    M Denise C -Thank you. Yes, I suppose most of it is a tragic tale, but one with spectacularly brilliant and creative peaks.

    Jane Schott -Thank you for the comment. I was particularly lucky that day (Christmas Eve) was an intensely clear one. Oddly enough, my memories of that day seem to be much clearer than the photos.

    Mr. Darling -Thank you so much for stopping by my little blog. I will pick up the book, and look forward to reading it. Cheers!

  14. I, too, an English major and smitten early by the Fitzgerald mania. Have you read/heard of Calvin Tomkin's book "Living well is the best revenge?" It's about Gerald and Sara Murphy/friends and prototypes for Fitzgerald. One critic said of Fitzgerald that he was damned with too much talent and nothing to say. At 60, it is always fun to see when the "Lost Generation" is found by another. There are several books out about writers and their homes. Perhaps you'll have to do one on writers and their last and final resting homes!

  15. This is nothing to do with the Fitzgeralds (fie!, I hear you shout) but I saw your comment on A Social Dilettante's blog and I wanted to come and introduce myself, seeing as how he is my GBF and the loveliest man in the world.

    Happy new year, Scott

  16. what an interesting post! I've once heard she was a coprophiliac (one who has an obsession with feces).

  17. Zelda and Scott helped push each other to the brink and in his case to great writing. I think they failed each other-but perhaps He more so. The artist wife subservient to the artist husband. She still gets the bad rap- as many of the above comments attest. It might be out somewhere-tv movie with Blythe Danner as Zelda,the Last of The Belles. good stuff use to be produced on network telly before HBO (this is where a movie like Last would be shown Today) You should see if you can track it down Scott. Great post especially with the quiet end and resting spot of these 2-they deserve it. GT

  18. Funnily, I was going to do a little piece about Zelda. They lived in Baltimore on and off, and she was hospitalized here at a private facility just north of the city. I was there the other day (they have a great thrift shop) and took a picture of one of their gorgeous buildings. Will post soon!

  19. What? I seriously had no idea about this and I thought I knew plenty about F. Scott. What was their connection to Rockville- wasn't he originally from the midwest? Very interesting, may have to check this out.

  20. Zelda's waxing waning mental problems may have been Subliminal Distraction exposure rather than mental illness. She was a painter and author. If she did either in a location where there was repeating detectable movement in peripheral vision Subliminal Distraction would have happened and she would have had episodes of psychotic-like behavior. The episode remits when the exposure stops and then repeats with additional exposure.

    VisionAndPsychosis.Net I plan to visit the house in Montgomery Alabama and look for the possibility.