Happy Birthday, Zelda!
“Wouldn’t you like to smell the pine woods of Alabama again? Remember there were 3 pines on one side and 4 on the other the night you gave me my birthday party and you were a young lieutenant and I was a fragrant phantom, wasn’t I? And it was a radiant night, a night of soft conspiracy and the trees agreed that it was all going to be for the best. Remember the faded gray romance.” – Zelda Fitzgerald in a letter to Scott
Zelda Fitzgerald was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on July 24, 1900. She was the sixth and youngest child of Minnie and Judge Anthony Sayre. Named for a gypsy queen in one of her mother’s novels, Zelda quickly became know for her escapades around town. As she got older, according to Nancy Milford’s 1970 biography, “Zelda was on the verge of becoming the most spectacular belle Montgomery would ever know.”
She met F. Scott Fitzgerald in July of 1918 at the local country club. According to Milford, “It was a hot Saturday night and she had almost not gone.” Scott was a first lieutenant in the 67th Infantry and watched her dance. He asked to be introduced to her, and the rest was history. They were married in April of 1920 and began their whirlwind of a life that still fascinates the public today.
While Zelda and Scott were married in New York and spent part of the 1920s in Europe, they lived in Montgomery from 1931-1932 after returning from Europe. Located at 919 Felder Ave., the home is now a museum open to the public and the only one dedicated to the life of the first couple of the Jazz Age and Montgomery’s famous belle. (The photo is from the museum’s sunporch.)
Today, the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum celebrates Zelda’s birthday with cake, muscadine punch and twenties jazz on the radio from 5-7 p.m. No admission is required, but donations are always accepted. Zelda would have been 112.