Cornelia’s Oranges and Oranges and Oranges and Bell Peppers

Orange Squeeze, New Orleans

Orange Squeeze, New Orleans, 2017

George Wallace’s daughter Peggy wrote The Broken Road (here on Bookshop, here on Amazon) about her experience growing up in that family, and one of the lighter bits (there’s plenty of serious, so the more comical parts are very welcome) is about how one Christmas, George’s second wife Cornelia decided to do an orange-themed holiday.

Gibeau Orange Julep, Montreal

Gibeau Orange Julep in Montreal

Gibeau Orange Julep, Montreal, from a 2005 visit

“Cornelia imported a chef to assist the kitchen staff with the preperation of our ‘Christmas a l’Orange’ extravaganza. Two large candelabra holding orange-scented candles sat amid orange blossom bouquets in the middle of the mansion dining room table.

Orange Rolls, The Club, Birmingham AL

Orange rolls, The Club, Birmingham AL

The All Steak, Cullman AL

Orange Rolls, The All Steak, Cullman AL

We sipped fresh-squeezed orange juice in the First Lady’s Room and then sat down to a dinner of duck a l’orange, creamed sweet potato orange cups, orange-glazed squash, orange bread pudding, and ambrosia. Daddy surveyed the Christmas feast.”

Mark Rothko, Orange, Red and Red, Dallas Museum of Art

Mark Rothko: Orange, Red and Red, at the Dallas Museum of Art, from a 2014 visit

Anyway, George asks Cornelia what’s going on, she explains the obvious, he says the only time he got an orange growing up was at Christmas when what he really wanted was a bicycle, and at that point, he pushed a buzzer that alerted the kitchen and asked them to bring him some barbecue. Ha!

Varsity Orange

Get the FO — Frosted Orange, from a 2014 visit to The Varsity in Atlanta

Vincent Van Gogh, Still Life of Oranges and Lemons with Blue Gloves, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Vincent Van Gogh, Still Life of Oranges and Lemons wiht Blue Gloves, National Gallery of Art in DC, from a 2019 visit

Ellsworth Kelly, Oranges, LaGrange Art Museum, LaGrange GA

Ellsworth Kelly, Oranges, LaGrange Art Museum in LaGrange GA from a 2022 visit

Golden Orange Drink Dispenser, Candlelight Antiques, Elkmont AL

Golden Orange dispenser at Candlelight Antiques, Elkmont AL, from a 2022 visit

And now for the bell peppers part:

When the Washington Post reported about marital trouble between the Gov and Cornelia, they wrote MRS WALLACE MOVES OUT OF THE MANSION: A dark-haired mystery woman went around Montgomery at night, distributing photocopies of a divorce petition to newspapers, TV, and radio stations. One local TV reporter received a call from a woman who instructed him to go to a supermarket to the produce section and look beneath a pile of bell peppers. And there, among the peppers, was a petition for divorce.

The dark-haired woman was Cornelia, and the masthead of the petition read “In the Matter of Cornelia Wallace v. George Corley Wallace.”