A résumé of the lives of the Fitzgeralds by Professor Ruth Prigozy Executive Director, F. Scott Fitzgerald Society.
Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice, met in July 1918 at a dance at the Montgomery Country Club. By September, Fitzgerald declared that he was in love with her, ironically, the same month that his first love, Ginevra King was married.
Zelda was a natural beauty, with red-gold hair, fine features, and a graceful body. But what distinguished her from other young women was her spirit - playful, often rebellious, and even reckless. She was undoubtedly the perfect girl for Scott at that time, eager for success, a member of a prominent (but not wealthy) family, independent, and beautiful.
Zelda was much younger than her three sisters, and her mother treated her with loving permissiveness, allowing this youngest child the freedom she craved from her earliest years. She was defiant, fun-loving, and even reckless (qualities that she would exhibit as a woman). When just a child, she once sat behind the wheel of her father's car and calmly drove off for a short and exciting ride. On another occasion, she telephoned the local police to inform them that a child was in danger-on the roof of a building. Then she climbed to the roof of her home and waited in anticipation of their arrival. Her antics made her well-known in Montgomery, and as she grew up, a date with Zelda promised an evening of excitement, hilarity, and even mystery - for it was impossible to anticipate her next escapade.
There was always psychological instability in her family: her father's nervous breakdown, and suicides by her maternal grandmother and later her brother. Many questions have been raised about Zelda's later mental breakdown in light of her family history.