Margaret Mitchell’s home is a small apartment she later fondly called “the dump”, where she wrote most of her famous book. It was indeed tiny and hard to link the mammoth volume with such tight surroundings.
One day she broke her ankle and because of a previous horse injury, meant she needed absolute rest. No doubt bored, after some time, she began to write her book. When the book was ready and accepted by the publisher, she got a small amount of money for her manuscript and 10 percent of profits, as nobody knew how well the book would do. By Christmas that year, it had sold 1 million copies. Which is just incredible. In those days. By the time the movie was released 3 years later, it had sold another million. And to this day, according to our guide, it is the highest selling book only after the Bible in the United States, though I have checked this fact and can’t confirm it anywhere.
Martin Luther King’s home visit is a bit complicated in that when you get to the house, you are told you need to book the tour at the visitor centre which is tucked away from the road on the next block and has no visible signs that indicate it is there. There are some original pieces of furniture but otherwise furnished with period items. Everyone was supposed to dress up for dinner and Papa King liked to have lively discussions at the dinner table, openly including the children asking questions like “what can you do to make it better or what would you do differently? I walked up the stairs, holding the banister, imagining a 7 or 10 year old child, running, laughing, arguing with his siblings, unaware of how he would change his country.
Both Margaret Mitchell’s and Martin Luther King’s home only operate tours which means you can’t visit at your own pace like you would a museum and there is no internet or advanced booking, you book your tour when you arrive. It is highly likely that if you get there past midmorning all tours will be booked for the day already.
And then of course, a day trip to Atlanta would not be complete without a visit to the World of Coca Cola Museum. The memorabilia and products from decades ago were interesting and astounding to see how much there was from very early on. But it was the story that was captivating. John Pemberton invented the mixture in the form of a syrup which then would be mixed with water when you ordered a drink. He sold most of his business to A.G Candler for $2,300 in 1888, who in turn, sold the business a few decades later for $25 million dollars, about $422 million dollars in today’s money, surely an incomprehensible amount at that time. Certain areas of the museum felt a bit like a theme park and not very authentic. The short film at the beginning and the commercials from around the world were disappointing. I remember so many commercials that stuck in your mind and you longed to see again because they were so well done. Sadly not this time. The shop was really amusing. You can buy anything Coca-Cola themed from drinking glasses to pyjamas. After trying any drink you wanted in the tasting room you are given a tiny bottled coke that is specially bottled and only obtainable from this very museum.
What would Scarlett think of Atlanta today, I wonder…