I didn't read romance novels when I was younger. I read my first one about 10 years ago. I did read Gone with the Wind, which I don't really consider a romance novel. It's more history to me.
I think I read GWTW when I was about 13 or so. It brought to life the Civil War for me. I didn't care much for Scarlett -- I still don't, tell the truth. And I understand Rhett's appeal, but I don't find him appealing.
I clearly remember the first time I saw the movie. I was with my Mom. It was probably in the 1980s or so. The movie was making a big "come-back" tour, probably on an anniversary or something. My mother wanted to see it because it was one of the few movies she had ever seen in a theater. She just never went to movies. Watched 'em on TV, but theater? Nope.
I came to town that weekend and Mom and I went to the movie. She tried hard to act all grown-up about it, but I could tell she was having a teenager time of it, enjoying everything about it. We did the whole bit: popcorn, pop, candy, and seats right in the middle (matinee in the middle of the week). When that enormous screen lit up, I thought her eyes would pop.
I can never watch GWTW without remembering that time in a movie theater in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and how my 60-something mother was so enthralled by movie magic. I try to recapture some of that magic whenever I go to the movies. It's too easy to be jaded and take it all for granted. It really is magic, isn't it? Just like diving into a good book is magic. Don't forget that. It's special.
(busy writing after all these years....)