The Alicia Rhett Tribute Tea remembered an actress and artist and offered a bit of “Gone With the Wind” flavor as the classic film celebrates its 80th anniversary.
The tea was held Feb. 2 at the Lone Oak Community Center, which is a former two-room school building constructed in the 1890s. A number of Cowetans were among the approximately 60 guests at the tea.
Terry Lynn Crane, who husband Fred uttered the first lines in “Gone With the Wind,” spoke at the event and helped Angela McRae, who writes the Tea With Friends blog, in judging costume and hat contests.
Crane spoke about how she met her husband, about their years running a bed-and-breakfast in Barnesville and about the mysterious death of George Reeves. Reeves and
Fred Crane played the Tarleton twins in “Gone With the Wind,” and Reeves later became famous as Superman on television in the 1950s.
The tea was in honor of Alicia Rhett, who was also in the cast of the classic 1939 film based on Margaret Mitchell’s best-selling novel. In her only film role, Rhett played India Wilkes. She returned to her hometown of Charleston, S.C., and became an acclaimed portraitist.
Two people – Newnan artist David Boyd and Newnan High School teacher Sallie Kight – who had their portraits painted by Rhett when they were children were at the tea. Boyd created a Southern-themed painting during the event.
Kight was a girl living in Luthersville when her family traveled to Charleston for her and her sister to sit for Rhett. Kight recalled trimming her bangs extra short before the trip and the learning Rhett had done the same thing as a girl. Kight’s portrait and the dress she wore when she sat for Rhett in 1990 were on display.
Fayetteville artist Nita McFarlin showed several of her paintings that explained the historical background of the novel, particularly Rural Home, the ancestral home of Mitchell, which was destroyed by a tornado a few years ago.
Sweet and savory courses were featured, and the India Wilkes blend from Adagio Teas was served in china cups. A silent auction, featuring “Gone With the Wind” memorabilia, antiques and other items, was part of the fun.
The menu included cucumber sandwiches on white bread, pimiento cheese sandwiches on light wheat bread, teapot shaped shortbread cookies, sand tart cookies and plain scones with butter, homemade raspberry jam, lemon curd or honey. Also featured were two recipes from Terry Lynn Crane’s "Fiddle Dee Dee: Recipes A Taste of "Gone With The Wind” – Charles' Favorite Coconut Pie and Belle's Buttermilk Pie.
Crane autographed copies of the book at the end of the tea. Attendees came to Lone Oak from Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky.
Fred Crane died in 2008, and Rhett died in 2014. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the release of “Gone With the Wind,” and the film is having a limited re-release in late February and early March to mark the milestone.
The Alicia Rhett Tribute Tea was a fundraiser for the building fund at Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Lone Oak.