Gatsby Trinkets for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Grave

by M-Berens
The flat tombstone on F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald's grave

F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda were reinterred at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Rockville. Photo by Jay Henry – Wikipedia

F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda lay peacefully at rest in the St. Mary’s Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland. In recent years a handful of visitors might wander through the cemetery looking for the grave of the cemetery’s most famous resident every week but since the movie, The Great Gatsby was released on May 10, 2013, more and more people are searching out the grave of the celebrated American writer.

These new visitors are also leaving more than the traditional flowers at the grave; spare change, liquor, handwritten messages and even a top hat embellished with a martini glass ribbon have been left in recent days and writers, who one day hope to pen that great American novel, are leaving pens.

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and was named after Francis Scott Key who wrote The Star-Spangled Banner; Scott was Fitzgerald’s great uncle. Fitzgerald died in 1940 after suffering a heart attack at the home of his mistress. His editor had to hire pallbearers to carry his casket and his funeral was attended by less than 25 people. In a letter he wrote five years before his death Fitzgerald described how much he loved the Baltimore area where he grew up and the memories it held, “I belong here, where everything is civilized and gay and rotted and polite. I wouldn’t mind a bit if in a few years Zelda and I could snuggle up together under a stone in some old graveyard here. That is really a happy thought and not melancholy at all.”

He was denied burial at St. Mary’s Cemetery where his parents and other family members were buried because he was not a practicing Catholic and his life of excess and even his writing were frowned upon by the church and so he was initially laid to rest in Rockville Union Cemetery. Zelda was too ill to attend his burial cemetery and spent the last years of her life in mental sanitariums before tragically dying in a fire at Highland Hospital in 1948. In 1975, their daughter Frances “Scottie” Fitzgerald was successful in petitioning the church to allow her parents to be buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery. The couple were laid to rest under a single stone with an inscription that was taken from the last line of  The Great Gatsby  ”So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”.

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