Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy Coincidences

There have been moments in my life where unexplained events or coincidences have happened that have launched me into an amazing world. I have touched and been touched by wonderful people. And it is those connections after all (or perhaps those strings of connections) that make an amazing lifetime.

Things like this have happened since I was a child. Well, perhaps even before then, really.

Case in point -- one of my all time favorite books/novels/movies is "Gone With the Wind." I was first introduced to the book when I was 12 (not sure how I found the book as I had just moved here from Argentina), but the entire story moved me. Yes, there are a lot of things to avoid and not admire about the Old South, Scarlett O'Hara, etc. But to a young girl from another world, it seemed to me that the entire story of the Old South was as romantic as you could get. Throw in that mix a brave, strong willed heroine like Scarlett, and what 12 year old would not want to aspire to be like her. I so wanted to be Scarlett O'Hara and there were so many qualities about me that reminded me of her. Her determination in life, her perseverance, her courage in the face of adversity, her passion.... And I thought (or perhaps wished) in my innocence of 12 years of age, "wow, I must be Scarlett reincarnated!" So I read the book a million times, watched the movie over and over again and memorized every line in it. I wanted to be an actress and play Scarlett O'Hara like Vivien Leigh did and even better! I practiced infront of the mirror raising one eyebrow and saying, "Fiddle dee dee."

So years passed and I always carried that feeling with me (that I was a modern day Scarlett O'Hara and that one day I'd be the heroine of such a story). In fact, when the writer for the New York Times interviewed me for the article that appeared this past April and heard all about my life, my rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina, and getting my family back on its feet, she exclaimed unsolicitedly, "You know, there are so many parallels between you and Scarlett O'Hara!" Little did she know.....

So to make a long story short (it's already so long!), I spent my life always trying to find my Tara (my place in this world). I struggled along with my immigrant family and always was the one to venture to new places and pursue new dreams in the hopes of making a better life for all of us. I always faced challenges and rose above them. As God is my witness.... :)

So fast forward 20 years later and I found myself engaged to marry a German brewmaster who lived here in New Orleans. I realized after being engaged for a few months and with a wedding date of March 10, 2001 already set that it was just not going to work out between us. So, after much soul searching, I called the wedding off. I knew it was the right thing to do for both of us, but still, when March 10th rolled along and it was a gorgeous day in New Orleans for a wedding, I was a little down in the dumps and called a friend to meet me for coffee at CC's, a coffee shop Uptown near my apartment.

CC's Coffee House on the corner of Jefferson Ave. and Magazine (photo courtesy of Flickr)

She got there first and so I walked in and went directly to order my tall, skinny soy mocha with one Equal. As I stood by the bar waiting for my mocha and feeling somewhat sorry for myself, I heard this guy next to me asking for some ice for his hot chocolate. Because I can't seem to keep my thoughts to myself and because I was in such a blah mood, I said, looking up, "now why would you order a hot chocolate if you are going to put ice in it????????" All 6 feet, 3 inches of him looked down at all 5 feet 3 inches of me and smiled, pointing to his 4 year old daughter drawing at a nearby table (he was recently divorced). It was then, as I looked back up at him that I saw the most beautiful man ever.

The bluest eyes, great wavy hair ... Adonis you say?????.....

Well, (and finally the clincher you were waiting for!!!) we married a year later on March 30, 2002.

So on what was supposed to be my wedding day, I met my true husband.

AJ and I at the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, MI

And it gets even better!!! The second time we met again at that same coffee shop (a week after the initial meeting), we talked and talked for hours (like you do on those first dates when it seems you can't run out of things to talk about). In one of those moments, I tell him all about my Gone With the Wind obsession (you know, the one I started this long winded post with????). I admitted, "I know it may sound silly to you, but one of my biggest heroines in life is Scarlett O'Hara. I LOOOOOOOVE Gone with the Wind and I always wanted to be Scarlett." Okay, like that was going to go over well for first impressions. Bipolar you say?????

There was a long silence and look of total disbelief on his face as he stared at me speechless (uh, oh, should have kept my big mouth shut!). He then broke the silence, grinned and said, "You are not going to believe this...... My great-uncle directed that movie in 1936."

Gasp! Oh.......My......God!!! Can you believe it?????? Did you just get goose bumps too?????? What are the chances of that happening, right?

My husband's great uncle was none other than George Cukor (one of hollywood's greatest directors during the silver screen era) who launched the search for Scarlett O'Hara and casted Vivien Leigh to play her!!!!!

George Cukor

In June of 1936, just one month after the publication of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures spent a record-breaking $50,000 to purchase the film rights to the historical epic that every other major studio in Hollywood had turned down. Even before he bought the rights to make the novel into what would later become the highest-grossing film of all time, Selznick had hired director George Cukor to be the man in charge of bringing Mitchell’s vision to the screen. Cukor was well-equipped for the job of helming such an enormous picture, having previously established himself with such hits as Little Women (1933), Dinner at Eight (1933), and Camille (1936). He spent the next two years deeply immersed in the daily chores of pre-production on Wind, including supervising the rigorous screen tests of actresses vying for the role of perhaps cinema’s most influential character, Scarlett O’Hara. In the final weeks of 1938, Cukor dedicated hours of his time to coaching lead actresses Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland in preparation for their roles. Filming finally began on January 26, 1939 – and three weeks later, George Cukor was unceremoniously dropped from the film, and replaced with Victor Fleming. (

Still, Cukor has been credited with directing some of the most memorable scenes in Gone With The Wind.

In this rare behind the scenes still we see George Cukor (above, far right) in action during this brief stint directing Vivien Leigh in a scene.

Clark Gable (Rhett Butler), Vivient Leigh (Scarlett) and my husband's great uncle (George Cukor).

David O. Selznick, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes),Olivia de Havilland (Melanie), and George Cukor.

So there you go!!!! Is that amazing or what??? Not only did I meet my husband on the day I was supposed to marry someone else, but my children now are direct descendants of the man who directed my all time favorite classic movie and found the Scarlett O'Hara that would inspire me my whole life.

I tell you, life is full of amazingly wonderful coincidences. I embrace and celebrate all of them and know that no matter how events play out in life, they always play out the way they are supposed to.

Have a wonderful Sunday wherever this post finds you.


  1. I loved hearing this wonderful story of how fate made your life your perfect fairy tale! What a sweet story. We are in the middle of some life changes now (contemplating a big move) and I keep reassuring my worries over the uncertainty that fate will take care of what is meant to I found this very encouraing!!! So, thank you. :) Have a great day Karina!

  2. Barbara, I'm so glad this has given you encouragement. If I can do that for one person, then I've accomplished what I set out to do in this post. Thank you for your lovely comment.

  3. Born in the South...raised in the South, I too, am an avid fan of GWTW, Margaret Mitchell's epic story! Perseverance is an innate nature of many Southern women and I believe that's what draws so many to the people and culture in the Southern half of this country. You took tragic situations and triumphed with grace and elegance. What's that line? American by birth, Southerner by Grace of G-d. I think that says it all.

    Fate does have a hand in our lives...your story is proof, your determination and rising above the challenges is amazing. It's been ages since we've talked however, I still keep my "wish list" of your artistic creations that I would love to have grace our home. Keep rising above those situations...the beautiful outcome is so worth it!

  4. Hi Karina,

    lovely post-I found it enchanting, no mesmerizing yes that's it. I was born and raised in Atlanta and the whole Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind story always enthralled me. I truly think life is about how we deal with what we are dealt.
    Your story is no different however you have courage that many do not. To postpone a marriage
    even when you realized it was not for the two of you is tough stuff to handle. But to then met "him" on that wedding day "amazing" meant to be I'd say. Life is truly stranger than fiction.

  5. I was entranced by every word of this story, Karina. Almost as romantic as the movie! I saw the film for the first time when I was 12, and cried so loudly that people around me actually laughed! You and your husband are a beautiful couple. You must stop traffic when you go out!


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