Finding Big Annie

Today I'm in PHX, just flew in this morning.  It's bittersweet.  Since I was 5 I've always known my parents to be living in the Phoenix area.  45 years or so.  Today I fly in and must stay at a hotel, before my early flight to Show Low.  To always know something one way and then it's gone.

As I type this I recollect the last week.  I did find Big Annie's grave plot.  Her footstone didn't match the lady she was.  A heroin, a leader.   I sat with her for a bit and I wrote her a note.... this is what it read, "Dear Annie, You fought for all of us to have a better life.  My Grandfather was a Croatian miner.  He was in Calumet during the strike. He told my Uncle (his son) he watched you lead parades. He didn't go back to work for the mines. He wouldn't give up his union card and membership. He became a bartender then later bought a bar.  His family had a very good life comparatively speaking.  I dream to get his dream alive again, and to honor you Annie. I know your life was still hard when you left the Copper Country.  You are not forgotten and the whole world will know about you soon, and everything you represented during a time where women were not respected.... you rose above the occasion.  I live down the street from where you lived. I'm the same sidewalk as the Italian Hall and I'm around the corner from where the National Guard knocked you down and slashed your flag..........."

Myself and another hometown gal are going to put together a nice arrangements of flowers, a flag and some kind of plaque describing who this woman was.  The stone reads "mother" Anna Shaws.  The Copper Country, knew her as Annie Clemenc, aka "Big Annie".   I also drove to Annie's last known residence.  It's interesting..... if you were to draw a line from her last known residence and her grave.... you'd see app 10 miles apart and where I stay in Chicago, is almost directly in the middle as the crow fly's.  

Be the first to respond!

Leave a comment:

  •