Top Ten Tuesday: Thanksgiving Freebie


What to eat with the Macy’s Parade?

This a new tradition I’ve shared with my Mom and my kids if we manage to all get up time. These wonderful pumpkin scones.

My favorite Thanksgiving memory?

Making dressing (stuffing) with my Dad. It was the only thing he ever did in the kitchen.

My Worst Thanksgiving Memory?

My uncle and aunt’s neighbor, Mrs. Murray, constantly saying “You can take all you want, but you must eat all you take,” to those of use at the kids’ table.

My Other Worst Thanksgiving Memory?

Creepy old Grandmother Fry, who was not actually my relative (my Mom’s cousins’ “other” grandmother) but who scared the you-know-what out of me! Years later her grandson told me she did the same to him.

Thanksgiving Fact

Photo source: Campbells

I’m the only member of my family who will touch green bean casserole. It’s best made in an old aqua Pyrex casserole dish that no one remembers ever had a lid. Aunt Betty or someone brings it every year. We never had enough aunts for that and my Mom wouldn’t serve anything with Campbell’s Cream of Crap soup in it. She served us plenty of Chicken Noodle Soup and my Dad ate his weight in Bean and Bacon, but we never had Green Bean Casserole.

Favorite Thanksgiving mementos?


My daughter’s first and second grade Thanksgiving creations.

Most Fun I Ever Had on Thanksgiving

Attending the 1973 Indiana University — Purdue University Old Oaken Bucket football game.

At that time I was decked out in a fashionably long black and gold scarf to root for Purdue–my parents, aunt and uncle, and grandfather’s school. In seven years, I would enroll at I.U. due to my inability to cope with anything involving math! It was a lot of fun.

Favorite Thanksgiving T.V. Shows

The Bob Newhart: An American Family


The original Bob Newhart Show, season 3, episode 11, “An American Family” when his mother manages to insult everyone and everything. I still love this show.


Friends: Ross’s Sandwich with “the moist maker”


Ross’s Sandwich with “the moist maker”


WKRP “With God as My Witness I Thought Turkey’s Could Fly”



Garfield’s Thanksgiving with wonderful Grandma!




The Mouse on the Mayflower–cheesy? What else would a mouse dressed as a Pilgrim be? Politically incorrect? Yes! But no one was woke in my childhood.

Thanksgiving Food Item I Hated as a Kid and Still Hate

Photo credit: iStock

Marshmallows on canned Sweet Potatoes. I don’t mind the sweet potatoes, it’s the marshmallows.

Thanksgiving Food You Like Best


Photo Credit: Betty Crocker

I’m a freak! I love the giblet gravy. I don’t really like eating those giblets, but cut up in gravy they are great. Sick, I know. I put it on the potatoes and the turkey and the dressing!

Best Thanksgiving Story of All Time?


I still know nearly every word. Most years at least a few radio stations broadcast it.

Bonus: Favorite Turkey Leftovers Meal

Photo source: Spidy Southern Kitchen–their recipe is just as great! I love any version of this!

This is MY recipe. No soup.

We NEVER had this as kids. My Mom didn’t make casseroles because my Dad wouldn’t touch them! I love this. I love this elastic-waist pants love it!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Freebie: 10 newer Halloween-appropriate books I’ll likely never read


Aside from chocolate and unique costumes, there’s not much about Halloween that appeals to me–sorry. I do not like being scared, frightened, uncomfortable, creeped out or anything similar. I just do not enjoy it. If it helps, the same goes for Game of Thrones episodes, slasher movies, Jason movies, movies with killing or rape or forced sex or….. I can watch military movies but that’s it. I’m not really interested in magic beyond the Vegas style magicians performances or Harry Potter.

So, my top ten today is of books I’ve heard or read about but will likely never read.


I admit, suffragette is a word that teases me into maybe reading the sample of this one, but I doubt I’d finish it. We’ll let it seep in my brain as a maybe.

From Amazon: In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box. But when the Eastwood sisters — James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna — join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote — and perhaps not even to live — the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive. There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be. Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow.


A “history” is more to my liking, but not being terribly interested in witches in general, I’ll probably pass. The Witch: A History Fear From Ancient Times to the Present by Ronald Hutton.


A new witch chick-lit might hold my interest. And, this one has a talking cat. Witch with talking cat has been done before, right? I thought so. But, not with dating apps! Nascent Witch: A Novel by Melissa Bobe.


Not even with a beautiful black cat on the cover! Stephen King is someone I admire as a reader but the only one of his novels I’ve read is The Long Walk–which he wrote under a different name. If It Bleeds by Stephen King.


“Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this ’90s-set horror novel about a women’s book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town, perfect for murderinos and fans of Stephen King.” (Amazon) Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix.


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the only book here I’ve planned to read. It came in for me at the library when I couldn’t get to it though.  “An inspired mash-up of Jane Eyre, Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, Dracula, Rebecca and that 1958 classic sci-fi movie, The Blob . . . Inventive and smart, [Mexican Gothic is] injecting the Gothic formula with some fresh blood.”NPR’s Fresh Air


[The Book of Hidden Things] has elements of fantasy, and has been described as such, but it also veers into moments of real horror. In many ways, this book reads like a mystery or a crime thriller. It’s also a book about adulthood, or, rather, about the disappointments of adulthood or what I like to call “life’s ultimate despair.” But really, this is a book about friendship …The story is captivating and I found myself rushing towards the book’s conclusion… What’s especially thrilling is this sense of dread pervading in the every day, something hidden behind the natural.” -Chicago Review of Book. The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri order from an Indie here.

“A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.” (Amazon). The Year of the Witching: A Novel by Alexis Henderson.

How about creepy Oprah-recommended short stories? Tiny Nightmares: Very Short Stories of Horror

Probably because I won’t watch creepy movies I missed the defining moment in our culture in which clows became terrifying. I’m not big on being lost in a cornfield, either. Especially not if I have to wait till dark and pay for the privilege. Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare.

For the kids who may not get to trick-or-treat this year!

This one looks totally fun! There’s a Christmas version, too! Weird but True! Halloween by Julie Beer.


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Past Halloween Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday: Books that give off a fall vibe


Remember re-runs on t.v.? Sorry, today is a re-run for TTT. My topics is books, not covers, that give off an Autumn or Fall Vibe! This post debuted last year on November 5, 2019.


  1. Copper Beech: A Novel by Maeve Binchy. The title brings to mind copper-colored Autumn leaves. I’ve read and enjoyed most of her books.


2.  Walking With Henry: The Life of Henry David Thoreau. Although a children’s book, this is an excellent Autumnal read for any age. (Hint: The whole series is lovely).


3. At the Edge of the Orchard: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier. While I despised one character in this story, the tale of apples and orchards is pure Autumn! My review is here.


4. Southern Living Soups, Stews and Chilis: Comfort Food in a Bowl Fall eating at its best! [I’ve chosen this to represent all such cookbooks. I do not own this one]. I could have chosen a Crock-pot cookbook or a bread book or even a hot drinks cookbook.


5. Game-Day Fare: Over 240 Recipes. The other type of Fall food–tailgating food! [Again, I’ve chosen this one to represent all such cookbooks. I do not own this one, either]. My alma mater could certainly tailgate, even if they couldn’t win a football game most years. Indiana University has always done much better in basketball season.

6. NFL Century and The College Football Book. What comes to mind in Fall? Football! Including Lucy always tricking Charlie Brown! [I don’t own either of these]. There aren’t many marching band books–I’d love those instead.

7.  It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. We grow up with these shows, don’t we? I was in the original generation to watch them! They are part of every Fall of my life. I’ve picked the book versions for this post since many families have them as well as copies of the shows.


8.  Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick. Of course, we in the USA celebrate our Thanksgiving Day in late November–but it is still definitely Fall.  You can read my review here.


9. Top-Down Sweaters. Fall is “Sweater Weather.” This choice intrigues me. I’ve only knit sweaters starting with the ribbing–the bottom. I could have chosen sock knitting patterns or scarf patterns or maybe a book of odd ways to tie-a-scarf diagrams.


10. Death By Pumpkin Spice by Alex Erickson. Unless the product is topped with cream cheese and real butter frosting, I don’t really care one way or the other about PPS. I don’t even drink coffee, let alone do so in a sweater with an unnecessary scarf tied in a weird fashion that requires diagrams! This book about sums it up for me. I might even read it!


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And One Song…


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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Quotes


I keep a Commonplace Book, that is a book of quotes I’ve come across in my reading,  but it is severely out-of-date. It isn’t easy to stop and write down a quote while driving and listening to an audiobook, for example. I try to keep it up as best I can though. Here are some random quotes from my Commonplace Book.

“Not really a presence….The lack of an absence….”

The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark

“The safest thing is to become an island, to make your house a citadel against all the garbage and ugliness in the world.”

Shotgun Lovesongs

by Nickloas Butler

“You’ve brought her the ultimate dreariness of good sense.”

The Choir: A Novel by Joanna Trollope

“…you bind yourself in your own ignorance….”

The Female Persuasion: A Novel by Meg Wolitzer

“…one couldn’t do one’s own things in another person’s way”…”

The Professor’s House by Willa Cather

“Your now is not your forever”

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

“How can you prepare for college if you can’t prepare for breakfast?”

Girlchild: A Novel by Tupelo Hassman

“Her desperation was so palpable it should have had its own dressing room on set.”

Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

She had never seen the purpose of socializing.”

The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler

“…her body carried her worry like an extra limb….”

A Man is No Woman: A Novel by Etaf Rum


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2020

I was going to skip this week. I won’t be getting much reading done for this year–until late August at least. I’m doing a graduate certificate so that takes up nearly all of my reading time right now. But, I do listen when I’m tired or out in the car. I commute one day a week now to my office. At some point that will go back to five days though I wish I could work at home forever! So, here are some of the new fall books that have caught my eye.


511IMep1soL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_ You can probably read most of this one in the Daily Mail excerpts. I did not yet find an American release date so I may have to pay to get it from the U.K.  The Windsor Diaries, 1940 -45 by Alathea Fitzalan Howard. (Link is to Amazon U.K. You can click on the Daily Mail link to read the excerpts.)  [Why is Princess Margaret holding her poor little dog down with what appears to be a gardening fork???]


I’ve enjoyed a few of Jane Harper’s books recently, so I’m sure I will get around to listening to this one, too.  Amazon says February 2021, but Goodreads says September 22, 2020.  The Survivors by Jane Harper.


I’ve read most of Anne Perry’s William Monk series and two books in her World War I series. This one sounds really good, but I need to start with book one, which has been out for a while. Death in Focus is book one, A Question of Betrayal: An Elana Standish Novel is book two in the series by Anne Perry.


How to Raise an Elephant will be part of my celebration of finishing my first semester! It comes out in November when my COVID-scheduled classes are over until January. I only listen to Alexander McCall Smith’s series. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is the one I love most. After that is 44 Scotland Street. I’ve only read the first of the Isabel Dalhousie series. I’ve also enjoyed a few of his stand-alone novels.


I love Fannie Flagg’s books. I still haven’t read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe though. So, maybe I’ll read it first and then the new Wonder Boy of the Whistle Stop.



I really liked Love & Gelato–a sweet story for any age reader. I have high hopes for this one. Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch.


I love the sound of this story so much! A gal-pal road trip of sorts. Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce. Having loved her Music Shop and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I’m sure I’ll love this one too!


I’m hoping this will be my Christmas break reading. I get the days from Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day off as part of our benefits. It does not impact my vacation time. It is extra. I can’t think of a better than to do than read about royalty! Empress Alexandra by Melanie Clegg.


Ingrid Seward is editor of Majesty Magazine and the widow of Prince Charles’ Gordonstoun classmate, reporter and royal biographer Ross Benson. His book on Charles is one of the best. Her books are not usually very hard-hitting. This book, as excerpted in the Daily Mail recently dredgs up the 70 year old question of whether Prince Philip did or did not sleep with his many beautiful lady friends. His lame excuse is always that he had a detective with him. So did Charles, Anne, Andrew and other royals. Philip is one of my favorites, though, so I will buy and read it. Prince Philip Revealed by Ingrid Seward.  First Excerpt in the Daily Mail, Second Excerpt,  Last Excerpt.



This is an interesting idea. Churchill’s daughter Sarah, Anna Roosevelt and Kathleen Harriman, daughter of Averell Harriman each accompanied her father to the Yalta Conference (Averell was by then having an affair, with Churchill’s blessing, with his son Randolph Churchill’s wife. In their later years the two would marry and Bill Clinton appointed Pamela Harriman Ambassador to France). Anna Roosevelt had to help with her nearly dead father, FDR, and his lapses of memory and his times of “spacing out” as we’d now say. He was nearly on his death bed at that conference and it showed. This should be an interesting read. Sarah Churchill had made an “unfortunate” marriage to an older, Jewish comedian and actor. She was by then over the marriage and serving in the women’s branch of the RAF. I will be buying it for my Roosevelt and Churchill collections. The Daughters of Yalta by Catherine Grace Katz.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books for My Younger Self

What a fun topic–am I right?? Who doesn’t love looking at, reading, enjoying books for young people! Here are some of the one’s I’ve found that I’d have loved at a younger age. Some are familiar to readers of this blog, hopefully a few will be surprises.


Toddler/Preschool me

Grumpy Cat


The Elementary School Years me


The Casson Family series by Hilary McKay


The Calpurnia Tate books


The Penderwicks series


The Traveling Cat Chronicles--My Mom would definitely have read this aloud to us


High School Me


I was a royal freak even then, so this would have been a good one.


ANYTHING by Julie Murphy, but especially Dumplin’


College and 20-Something me

I was a Kennedy-freak, too, thanks to my paternal grandmother’s Kennedy library.

I was a political science major.

And studied Russian and East European Studies

And was a political junkie.



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If  you are interested, here are previous posts on my favorite childhood books:

Top 10 Tuesday: My Favorite Childhood Books

Childhood Memories: The Horse Years Updated



Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Make Me Hungry

I’m cheating a bit this week–I’m using a post I’ve used before. At 58 I’m back in school and this is my first week. So…. I’m sorry the formatting is wonky, but I haven’t taken the necessary time to learn to use Blocks in WordPress. This is a an old post and though I told it it was “Classic” it did what it wanted. So be it. The books are still wonderful!



1. A Boat, a Whales & a Walrus: Menus and Stories by Renee Erickson &Jess Thomson. My review.

2. My Berlin Kitchen: Adventures in Love and Life by Luisa Weiss. My review.

3. On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Hermann Loomis. My review.

4. Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julia Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child [I’m counting these as one since both are Julia]. The movie Julie & Julia is one of the few movies I’ve ever enjoyed as much or more (yes, More!) than the book!

5. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.

6. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This gets a tad precious in places, but is still excellent.

Foodie Life for Normal People:

5.  Dinner a Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. My review.

6. Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table With Recipes by Shauna Neiquist. You can read my thoughts on this book in this post.


7. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stadal. My review.

For those who enjoy a little touch of fantasy or paranormal (neither of these are my thing, but I LOVED these books.)

8. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

9. Chocolat by Joanne Harris

10. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Join the Top 5 Wednesday group at Goodreads.com and then do your own Top 5 post of video! It’s fun!

Other Foodie Posts:

Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned in Books


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I was unable to finish because I could not come to terms with them


This week’s topic is Books I Loved but Never Reviewed, but I’ve reviewed books on my blogs since blogging began. I’ve lost a lot of that content when Bloglines died and I’d never backed up, but I did review them. I’ve mentioned most of my lifelong favorites on this blog too many times. So, I decided on a different title. Books I was unable to finish because I could not come to terms with them. This does not mean I did not like them! I just couldn’t get my arms around them enough to stay in the book. They were to “out-there” or too strange or too complex or __________.



I KNOW I’d love this story. I studied Iran and the end of the Shah in college–in fact, the end came at the end of my high school years so you could say we were the “Iran Generation” in America. Walter Cronkite’s daily count of how long the hostages had been held was part of our evening. Those same hostages being released only after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president was such a vindictive moment in history–especially in light of the humanitarian Jimmy Carter is now at nearly 100 years old. But this was my first attempt at a graphic novel. I couldn’t make sense of it in the same way I do with traditional books–whether reading or listening to them. I wasn’t a big comic book fan as a kid, either. I’m glad this book is so successful though. It is a great device for storytelling for so many reasons. My brain just opt-out. Persopolis by Marjane Satrapi.



I have written about this book before her on this blog. Cathy Ames gave me real-life nightmares. I couldn’t get that ‘voice” out of my head as she suggested the bad things. I had to just toss the books back. As I’ve said before, that is a true testament to the incredible writing talent of Steinbeck. I think I may have seen parts of this movie as a kid on the old summer Afternoon Movie–there is something so haunting about the whole book that makes me think I may have seen it before my mind could understand it well enough. East of Eden by John Steinbeck.



At a time when the Islamic world was just coming to the attention of the American news media–that is after the Iranian hostage crisis, Salman Rushdie was put on a real-world hit list by the reigning Ayatollah Khomeini who issued a fatwa ordering his death. I tried desperately to get through this book. I failed. I beat myself up for years for being too weak. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.



Although I’d just spent two years in a country south of Somalia, and in spite of non-stop news coverage of American troops in Somalia, I gave up on this book. Today it might seem an easy read to me. Then, I lacked the cultural knowledge necessary to digest it. So, of course, I bought the entire trilogy sight unseen in those long-ago pre-internet, pre-Amazon days. Sweet and Sour Milk by Nuruddin Farah.


Probably anything Tea Obrecht writes is beyond my ken. Her books sound amazing, but then they just escape my comprehension. My friend reviewed Inland–she explains it all pretty well.


Sorry, for once I couldn’t come up with the full ten books.


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Colors In the Titles


My favorite color is RED! Some people mistakenly say that my alma mater’s colors are Red and White. That is incorrect. Indiana University’s colors are forever Cream and Crimson! So, I’m really fond of Crimson as well. Since I’ve tracked my reading for years, I decided to go all out and do 10 colors instead of 10 books.

#1: Red, Crimson, Scarlet



#2 Pink,  Peach, Rose




#3: Blue



#4 Yellow, Lemon, Gold. Saffron


#5: Green



#6 Orange, Chestnut, Copper


#7 Black



#8 Lilac, Lavender, Plum



#9 White




#10 Gray, Silver, Pearl


And a Multi-Color Bonus!!


My review




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Top Ten Tuesday: Festivals, Fetes, Fairs in books



Today’s topic was supposed to be “Book Events/Festivals I’d Love to Go to Someday (Real or Fictional.)” I just couldn’t think of anything, so I’m substituting fictional non-book events.



The Miss Clover City Beauty Pageant



Willowdean becomes the most unlikely beauty contest entry in the South. This pageant is her mother’s lifeblood. Can a girl with a figure curvey enough for high double-digit sizes be taken seriously as a contestant? Does she really get the guy? I’d want to be there for all of it. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.



Any High School Poetry Slam With Xiomara



I’d love to sit back and watch as high school kids, high on words, perform! The Poet X was such a fabulous book–it would be even better to experience it in real life!


The Welly Wang


The Welly Wang at Winsleigh Green in the book I reviewed yesterday’s The Old Girls’ Network. Who Wouldn’t want to toss a heavy green, rubber boot for charity?


The Festival That Needs to Start in the Next Book!

The Mitford Livermush Festival


I’m positive Mitford needs to have a Livermush Festival! Puney could sell her cornbread. There’d be a sale on slices of Esther’s OMC, and someone else could sell my favorite delicious vanilla cupcakes from the Mitford cookbook! Oh, it would be great–wouldn’t it?  Cynthia could read stories,  Dooley and Lace could hold a pet adoption clinic. It would be fun. The Mitford books by Jan Karon. The latest is To Be Where You Are.


The Miss Delta Floozy Contest


“She’s a doozy, she’s a floozy!” Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly and Kissing Babies at the Piggly Wiggly feature this fabulous (and I do mean FAB-U-Lus!) contest with that great song!


The W.I.’s Cake Competition


Any sort of fair with a cake judging. “They don’t give the May Wilkinson out lightly!” Calendar Girl Chris said after winning the so-named trophy after submitting a cake made by British retailer Marks & Spencer! Calendar Girls.


The judging of the Dowagers’ Roses: Mrs. Miniver and Downton Abbey



You can read a nice blog post about the two identical events here at World of the Written Word from several years ago. Mrs. Miniver, the superb film of the early years of World War II in England, shows Mrs. Minver subtly enticing the grand Lady B to let the humble gardener win the award this year. The same exact thing happens in Downton Abbey–The Dowager Lady Grantham always wins for the best rose. Sheis persuaded to be generous and let the gardener win for once. Downton creator Julian Fellowes played fast and loose with a few storylines from the 1970’s Upstairs, Downstairs series, too, such as the love affair for cook Mrs. Patmore which was all but identical to the story of Mrs. Bridges in Upstairs, Downstairs.


Win a Harmonica with Sophia Loren


Picture: Houseboat with Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren cheats to get little Robert his harmonic from a Carny game, saying “Your father, the Cheif of Police…” to cover her theft. Houseboat.


Whatever it Was That Was Going On in Nice



I’d have loved to have been the fly on the wall, observing Noah and great-nephew Michael as they came to terms with being stuck with each other. There was an event going on in Nice in the story that made things a bit more challenging. I’d like to have been at that event. Akin by Emma Donoghue.


The One That Has People On Edge Today

The Bazaar for the Confederacy


“One hundred and fifty dollars–in GOLD, for Mrs. Charles Hamilton,” Rhett barked. Dr. Meade refused on Scarlett’s behalf saying “She won’t consider it.” But Scarlett’s voice rings out true, “Oh yes I will!!”  Even though my ancestors fought for the North, I’d like to time travel and be there for this! Gone With the Wind.

For the record: I do NOT support any racist organizations and I do admit GWTW is unbelievably racist in its portrayal of the slaves.  It was written by a southern woman in the 1930s, not by a scholar today though. In spite of its obvious flaws, it is still regarded as one of the greatest of all American novels, so I will continue to use it in posts on that basis. The movie garnered the first Oscar for a Black Actress–the great Hattie McDaniel who played a slave. The movie also altered a scene so that Scarlett’s attacker was white in the movie instead of an ex-slave as in the book.



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