In most biographies, especially older ones, Miriam's birthplace is listed as Bainbridge, Georgia. In reality, she was born in Savannah, though her heart was always in Bainbridge. This is just another of the unconventional moves Miriam made throughout her life. Whereas most would want to be known as being from a larger city, Miriam prefered to claim the one she loved, however obscure.
Miriam moved with her mother and sister to Bainbridge at the age of seven. Though she would stay there for only six years, home was always her "beloved South". She refused to drop her drawl, creating a unique stage and screen persona. Miriam reveled in playing the southern belle, onstage and off. She used her Dixie charm at any opportunity and was also known for having a Scarlett O'Hara-like personality to match. In the end, Miriam returned to the land she loved. She is buried in Oak City Cemetery in her much-loved Bainbridge.
I had the opportunity to to visit Bainbridge several summers ago on a family vacation. The trip was very successful, giving me an opportunity to visit both Miriam's grave and childhood home, as well as to take in the sites of this charming little town. I found the people to be most friendly and helpful, and I certainly hope to return if ever I get the chance.
Below are pictures from my trip.
The first photo is of Bainbridge's town square. It has been very well maintained and contains a fascinating Civil War memorial and large gazebo. The town hall is pictured in the background. The next two photos are of the Flint River. Later in her life, Miriam recalled watching baptisms in the river from a nearby tree. Judging by the third picture, this seems quite possible.
The following pictures are of Miriam's grave at Oak City Cemetery. She is buried in a family plot, next to her sister and mother. Several other generations are also buried in this plot. Unlike most of her contemporaries, who were layed to rest in Hollywood, Miriam remains forever in her hometown, with a very simple gravestone. Only the inscription hints at Miriam's theatrical life-
and flights of angels sing
thee to thy rest"
The final picture is of Miriam's childhood home on Shotwell Street. It is now an insurance office and the owner was kind enough to let me in and let me take a look around. Needless to say, I was in a daze during the entire experience.
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