This week’s historical gem dates back to October 24, 1901. It was Annie Edson Taylor’s 63rd birthday. Did she buy new shoes? Have a boozy lunch with the girls? Eat dessert with total abandon? Treat herself to a mani and pedi?
No. She didn’t.
Annie got married very young (17!). Her only child died in infancy, and she became a Civil War widow soon after that. Determined to stay out of the poor house, Annie worked various odd jobs and moved often. But, something was always missing, and there was never enough money to make ends meet.
In a flash of pure brilliance, Annie realized her ticket out of destitution wasn’t working these thankless jobs with steady paychecks. No. Instead, she would achieve sparkly stardom, fame and fortune by being the first person in history to survive a trip over Niagara Falls. In a wooden barrel.Annie and her barrel
If you can believe it, Annie actually lived! I have to hand it to her; this must have taken incredible guts. From the time the barrel was sealed (claustro even thinking about it), it was a full 20 minutes before she was rescued from the water. She had only one tiny air hole with a rubber tube inserted for oxygen. Ummm, what if it got blocked? What if water came in? What if nobody could find the barrel under the four million cubic feet of water that pass over the waterfall every minute?
While I can’t relate to Annie’s daredevil streak, I can definitely empathize. She was stuck in a rut, unhappy with her career, and needed to prove to herself and everyone else that she could do something amazing. We’ve all been there, right?
Well, Annie, wherever you are, Happy Birthday. That was a really, really moronic thing to do, but I totally admire you for taking control of your situation. And making a splash.
p.s. Annie actually tested out her specially designed barrel with a cat. The cat was named Iagara, and he (allegedly) lived.