F. Scott Fitzgerald, who originated the flapper, once fell in love with the picture of an Atlanta girl.
Fitzgerald, author of “This Side of Paradise” and “The Beautiful and Damned”, never saw the original of the photograph, but he became so enamored of the picture, that he wrote verses to the girl whom he never met.
Martin Amorous, who has returned to Atlanta from New York to open a studio in the Connaly building, was a roommate of Fitzgerald’s at that time at the Newman school in Hackensack, N.J., and he tells here about the novelist and the photograph—the original of whom was “Anne.” Can you guess the rest of the name?
Martin Amorous spent several years in New York designing costumes for plays and revues, and in addition to reminiscences of his famous schoolmate, he has brought back to Atlanta original ideas as to how the Atlanta girl should dress.
“When Scott and I were room mates at Newman,” said Mr. Amorous, “I had the picture of a very lovely Atlanta girl on the mantle piece of our room. Her name was Anne and though she is married now she was one of the belles of Atlanta then and a very prominent worker in the Junior League.
“Scott was much impressed with her beauty and wanted to meet her. He used to look at her picture and talk to me as if he knew her. Finally, he began writing poems ‘To Anne’. I have one of them in my scrap book.”
He opened the book lying on the table of the studio and turned to a page where a poem, scribbed in blurring pencil, was pasted.
“Like the mellow wisp of an ancient moon,
“On a night of long ago.
“Like the fragrant breeze of a bygone June
When the wee winds whisper low.
Or wild in a night of pleasure gay
Or sweet in the calm of an April day—
Girl of my dreams, ‘neath the midnight gleams,
A whisper echoes “Anne”. An answer echoes “Anne”.
Enveloped by all romance, fair in my fancies flight,
Star shot by legend and slowed by fate.
Queen of some fair tonight, dear Anne!
Queen of some fair tonight!
Some time when the stars kiss the roses,
We’ll meet in the never land.
When the violet night discloses
I’ll take you by the hand.
Dear Anne! Some day and some day!”
“Scott and I were very good friends,” continued Martin Amorous, “but like most roommates, we never could agree on any subject and consequently led a cat and dog life. He was always arguing. He would argue with any one who would listen to him and the disconcerting part about his arguments was that he never stayed on the same side of a subject more than five minutes.
“At first this confused and annoyed me ‘till I discovered that he switched from side to side in arguments not for the love of the fight but to get other peoples viewpoints. I think it was in this way that he obtained much of the material he uses in his stories.
“Scott was good looking, attractive and quite egotistic. He had the most impenetrable egotism I’ve ever seen, but we made companionable roommates because neither of us could ever say anything that could get under the skin of the other.
“I have a few verses that Scott wrote to some Hackensack girls, who for various reasons were not on the speaking terms with him—a fact that worried him not at all! He wrote down the list of girls who had snubbed him and detailed all of their short comings—and ended the verses in this way”—
“For the lands of the village triumph,
“Honest, not brilliant like me,
“So I turn again to St. Paul
“For my old popularity.
“For handsome is as handsome does,
And the hands of time won’t turn back.
Girls, be they friend, crush or sister,
Don’t love me in Hackensack!
“My most vivid memory of Scott is meeting him in New York before “This Side of Paradise” was published. He was tired and discouraged, had been writing good stories and couldn’t sell a one. He had been from publisher to publisher and had a stack of rejection slips that he swore was a foot high.
“He told me that he was going to quit the advertising concern for which he was working and go back home to Minnesota. Nothing was going right and he was tired.
“The next thing I knew ‘This Side of Paradise’ met with a success that was phenomenon—and Scott was made. Then he sold all of his rejected stories to the very editors who had turned them down.”
On the right, at the top, Martin Amorous, Atlanta’s only man designer of women closes. Below, on the left, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the novelist, with whom Mr. Amorous roomed at Newman school, in Hackensack, N.J. The sketch at the top is of a bridesmaid in “The Bird Wedding”, a review designed by Mr. Amorous. Below, on the right, a street costume.
Published in Atlanta Journal magazine (September 30, 1923).
Illustrated by photos.