A résumé of the lives of the Fitzgeralds by Professor Ruth Prigozy Executive Director, F. Scott Fitzgerald Society.
Fitzgerald was proud of his mother's family connection to the Scotts and the Keys because it made him a distant relation of Francis Scott Key, composer of the American national anthem. Edward Fitzgerald failed as a businessman and returned with his family to St. Paul, from Buffalo, New York, where he had worked for Proctor and Gamble. His own furniture business in St. Paul had failed.
Mollie's family provided support for the family during the author's childhood. Indeed, although his family did not own their own home, they lived in a middle-class row house in the Summit Avenue section of St. Paul - an area inhabited by the wealthiest residents of the city. Thus, as a young boy, Fitzgerald's close friends were drawn from the city's richest residents - they were his dancing school partners, his drama club colleagues, and fellow guests at parties which he attended regularly.
He lived close to all of the wealthy St. Paul families, and could not help but notice the mansion belonging to railroad tycoon, James J. Hill, in walking distance from his own modest home. He wrote that he felt like an outsider throughout his childhood, for although he lived among them and socialized with them, the rich inhabited a different world. That idea would find its way into his fiction--notably The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night.
Fitzgerald was small, blond-haired, and handsome, and from the beginning was determined to be popular. Although he played football when he was young, he was never tall enough to be selected for the team when he grew older; he retained his love for the game throughout his life, and his inability to achieve fame on the football field was a lifelong regret.