* Louis Hemmi - My Grandparents & Gone With the Wind
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1938, New Orleans, Tulane University

"You waltz divinely Cap'n Butler."
"Don't start flirting with me. I'm not one of your plantation beaus. I want more than flirting from you."
"What do you want?"
"I'll tell you, Scarlett O'Hara, if you take that southern belle simple off your face. Some day I want you to say to me the words I heard you say to Ashley Wilkes: 'I love you.'"
That's somethin' you'll never hear from me, Cap'n Butler, as long as you live."

She glided into a dream-filled sleep , as Carl's voice droned on with this night's installment of the book he read aloud to her every night of her pregnancy. She was expecting their first (and only, as it turned out) child. It was now about midnight as she drifted off. She dreamt of the noble but crumbling Old South, with dark Atlanta skies tattooed by orange flashes, and the air peppered with the stench of gunpowder.

The New Orleans winter of 1938 was colder and damper than most. Sometimes, the hundred pound pregnant woman just felt so cold and nauseated that she could just die. She had dropped out of her courses at Sophie Newcomb, but she and her husband lived in the Tulane University married students' quarters.

She fallen deeply and passionately in love with him.

Carl and Christi were a happy and young couple. He attended his classes each day, and returned in the late afternoon.

"Gotta get supper ready" she would think to herself. She sipped Coca Cola, and looked at the ashtray and thought of how Carl's cigarette smoke was teased into ribbons by the sun when he got in. She kept expecting a genie to appear, dancing on them, but it never materialized.

Christi, short for Christiana, cooked a meal, always starting with the potatoes. That man of hers dearly loved potatoes, and would not think of any meal as good without them.

Just plain Southern cooking was enough for them, and especially fried chicken and pork chops. There were no frozen dinners in those days in the South, but plenty of corn bread that she made in a cast iron skillet shaped like the great state of Texas, from whence they both came.

One night see the peaceful countryside transformed into a deafening battleground, yielding to the unmerciful ugly dragon that was the invading army. Other nights were more carefree, with images of lissome beautiful refined ladies in their Southern belle best, gracefully waltzing with the handsome young Confederate officers on the floors of the great houses' grand ballrooms .

They were so alive with the dreams and ideals of youth, and no man is more handsome than when he is dedicated to the cause of defending his home, his family, and a way of life.

On many of those nights that she really felt like sitting up, instead she tried to relax and to sleep in order to avoid waking Carl. She would lie back and think on the evening's installment from Gone With the Wind. Each night, she so looked forward to it.