A Powder Springs woman is a part of a global group of around 150 “Windies.”
Not only are they fans of Gone With the Wind, but they also know almost all of the handful of living GWTW actors personally and see them frequently. An exception is 95-year-old Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie and lives in Paris.
“Miss Olivia sends us tapes, telling us how much she wishes she could be there with us," said Selina Faye Sorrow, a lifelong Powder Springs resident living next to her childhood home. “She’s doing great. I’ve had quite a few friends who did get to meet her. She’s very gracious.”
Sorrow, 49, is known among the Windies by her stage name “Southern Spice."
"The GWTW cast members are really good friends of mine," she said. "It’s amazing the stories they tell you of what went on behind the scenes.”
Sorrow recalled the late Cammie King Conlon, who portrayed Scarlett and Rhett’s daughter Bonnie Blue. She said Conlon kept getting tickled when Clark Gable ran to pick her up after falling off her horse. Conlon's character died after her tumble.
“They used a plastic mold for her face to look like she was sleeping" after the deadly fall, Sorrow said. "Cammie also said (Gable) would be sure she took a nap if he thought she was tired.”
Conlon passed away in 2010.
Windies consider the GWTW actors to be “like their family,” Sorrow said. Unlike some families, though, Windies do not gossip or speak disdainfully of any of the GWTW actors—living or deceased. “We love those people.”
Invitations are required to attend Windie conventions and events. “We dress up and dance the Virginia Reel and meet with the actors," Sorrow said. "I probably have 200 autographs from the different events."
They also protect GWTW heritage, for instance, by donating funds to restore five of the seven GWTW dresses designed by Walter Plunkett. The original “Honeymoon Dress” can be seen at the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square at 18 Whitlock Ave.
The remaining six dresses are in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, according to the museum’s website.
Connie Sutherland, the Marietta museum’s director, said, “In Faye Sorrow’s eyes, being a Windie means far more than being a fan of Gone With the Wind. It means supporting any museum or venue with her efforts in order to keep the love of Gone With the Wind alive.
"Faye appreciates the hard work and long hours it takes for us to provide the annual events the fans enjoy. She has always been willing to help as a volunteer in any way she might be needed."
Sutherland said she is "fortunate" as the museum's director to know the Windies.
"And I am fortunate personally to also know them as friends. Faye is certainly both, and we appreciate her more than words can say,” she added.
The museum’s big event this year will be “Belles, Beaus and Barbecue: A Gone With the Wind Celebration” on May 25-27. Tickets will go on sale March 1 after the ticket prices and itinerary are announced on gwtwmarietta.com this month.
Sorrow has become known around the world as a Windie. When the 75th anniversary of the book’s publication was celebrated last year, Sorrow was interviewed by the New York Times.
After the article and photo slideshow were published in print and online, Sorrow was contacted by CBS's The Early Show, PBS's Antiques Roadshow, and even by a German television crew. “It was amazing how many people contacted me,” Sorrow added, still in amazement.
The Windies were disappointed, however, that only a paperback, not a hard-cover edition, was released for the 75th anniversary, Sorrow said. However, last year, the Windies did have a luncheon with Patrick Curtis (Baby Beau Wilkes), Mickey Kuhn (Beau Wilkes as a child) and Ann Rutherford (Scarlett’s sister Carreen).
Also at the luncheon was Morgan Brittany, who portrayed Vivien Leigh as Scarlett in the 1976 TV movie Gable and Lombard and the 1980 TV movie Moviola: The Scarlett O’Hara War, leading to her well-known role on Dallas as Pam Ewing’s sister, Katherine Wentworth.
“She’s beautiful and a sweetheart,” Sorrow said of Brittany.
A film tribute was shown of Rutherford, who also starred in movies with John Wayne, Mickey Rooney in the Andy Hardy series of films, Glenn Miller and Errol Flynn in Orchestra Wives, Sir Laurence Olivier in Pride and Prejudice, Danny Kaye in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Red Skelton, and Jimmy Stewart.
Sorrow also has become an actress herself. She portrayed Margaret Mitchell’s aunt in the Georgia Public Broadcasting documentary Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel. She can be seen rocking on the front porch as her uncle tells the young Margaret stories from the Civil War.
Sorrow was wearing the “Peachtree Dress” she sewed herself, based upon the dress worn by Scarlett as she and Rhett strolled down Peachtree Street with their baby, Bonnie Blue Butler.
She also joins with the Windies annually, dressed in GWTW costumes, to honor author Margaret Mitchell. “We always celebrate her birthday at the Margaret Mitchell House and at Oakland Cemetery, where she’s buried, with a champagne toast."
GWTW “has given me more of a love for life by seeing the different tragedies they went through,” Sorrow said. “It’s sort of like now: A lot of people are losing everything they have. GWTW gives me an inspiration that life can be good.”
Sorrow said she takes special delight in sewing fashions worn by Scarlett as a home business in addition to her full-time job with a computer company. While she does not sew wedding dresses for customers, she would like to re-create Scarlett’s wedding dress and the “Drapery Dress,” but she is looking for the right velvet.
She produced a three-disc DVD set of 1,500 pictures she made from the 70th anniversary of the movie’s grand re-premiere in November 2009 at the Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square, which was hosted by the Marietta museum.
She makes many GWTW novelties, including aprons, bookmarks, journals, book covers and pillows “so everyone can have a little something GWTW.”
Sorrow has around 500 GWTW items. Her collection started nearly 20 years ago with a Scarlett Barbie doll given to her by her husband. “I’m still working on getting a signed Margaret Mitchell book,” she said.
The Sorrows have a son and daughter, four grandchildren, two dogs (Katie and Scarlett—both “with the same temper" as Scarlett) and two parakeets (Carreen and Bonnie Blue).
To contact Sorrow about her dress designs or GWTW novelties, she has a Facebook page, Selina Sorrow, or she can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.