Yesterday I was asked for the “ump-tenth time” (as we say here in Georgia) what my plans were for the Tara façade and my answer was the same as the last time I was asked…. “build brand, give tours and try to stay afloat by selling some books”….until the cavalry arrives.
The story of “gumption” and survival in Margaret Mitchell’s book and David O. Selznick’s movie is being played out in an old dairy barn south of Atlanta, Georgia as volunteer’s catalogue and reassemble the pieces of Tara. They are doing it not because of a paycheck (there will be none) but because they want to see this piece of history saved for a future generation or they want to give back to a story that meant so much to them,…or they just want see and touch a movie set that has fans all over the world…or one of a million other reasons. The bottom line being they have shown up, again and again and done something that no other group was ever able to do,….present Tara to the regular folks who have been clamoring for it since Tara filled the movie screen in 1939.
But in order to protect the Tara façade and display it and the Fitzgerald House properly it will take a building and that will take money. But unlike the previous attempts to present the Tara façade, a lack of money will not stop us from continuing the work until someone looks up and realizes that Tara is drawing a crowd. Many years ago a burned out former missionary and therapist began a tour in his home town with no money, no bus and no museum. Twenty years later the tour is still going, there is a museum that tells his stories and sells his tours daily, and the tour has brought in over 5 million dollars in revenue to the area. Today that same “burn out” knows that if he and his volunteers keep telling the story,…..the word will get out and if the story is a good one (and it is) ….folks will come and visit…and the Tara façade will be around for his grandchildren to see.
Gumption is not something you take a pill for or receive at birth… it is shown through the weathering of a hardship. And so it is right and proper that a story of gumption, embodied in a movie set that refuses to die, should be told thru a restoration that will not come easy but requires the same courage and fortitude, ….the same gumption.
I look forward to meeting you up at the gate and sharing the story.