Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Mieography

Thank the Bubblewench for finding this one, and emailing me about making her a mieography. I *heart* learning about new women that have escaped my notice.

This is Anna Mitchell-Hedges. She's led quite an interesting life.
She was born Anne Marie Le Guillon, in 1907, in Canada, the 6th of 10 children. Her parents were French immigrants. When she was five, she was playing near a canal with her sister, who was pushed in by another child, in play. Her sister drowned. Tragically, another sister was burned to death, when their house burnt down.
WW One broke out, and Anna's father returned to France, to fight. Her mother, trying to correspond with her family in Breton, France, became nervous when she got no replies. Unable to leave Canada, she sent Anna to France, instead, to see to the family. During her voyage over, Anna was on deck, and spied what she thought was a stick, in the water. It was a submarine. Everyone panicked, of course, but, they were not torpedoed.
She arrived safely (somehow) at the farm in Breton, to find that her Mother's youngest sister had moved her grandparents out into a barn, while she herself was living in the house. She gave Anna a straw pallet and told her she could sleep in the roof. Instead, Anna ran away, and went to go find her Uncle. Her Aunt sent men on horseback after her to no avail. Anna located her Uncle, who ousted the evil Aunt from the property, and reinstated his parents. Anna went back to Canada.
Her father returned on leave, and managed to get the time to impregnate his wife. Back in the war, he was gassed, and died. Then, her mother, and the baby, died during the childbirth.
The house where Anna and her siblings lived was opposite a hotel, and, two Americans became regular guests there. Anna used to find fishing worms for them to use as bait. These Americans also invited an English friend, named Albert Mitchell-Hedges. They persuaded him to adopt Anna. Though she did not want to go, her older sister could not afford to keep all the children. So she went.
He was very well off, and had a NYC apartment overlooking Central Park. She was frightened very much of him at first, but slowly, they developed a father-daughter relationship, the beginning of it starting because she did such a wonderous job of darning his socks! He nicknamed her 'Silly Sammy', and she was called Sammy for many years. He was fond of going on expeditions, and she accompanied him. She was 12 at the time. He took her first to Central America, and she became adept at fishing, and playing poker. Revolution broke out, however, and she was sent to the safe haven of boarding school.
Never fear, however. Alfred took her abroad again when she was 13. They traveled many islands, her fishing and being generally happy. When she was 17, she was on an expedition with Alfred, at Lubaatun, and, seeing something bright and sparkly amongst the stones, she went for it. It was the Crystal Skull.
More island fishing trips occured after that, and she landed the largest hammerhead shark ever caught by a woman (until the late 1980's). It weighed in at 1,500 lbs. She also had to become versed in defending herself. Weapons of choice? Pistol, and whip. She saved the life of her father's secretary, Jane, twice, with her pistol. When she shot a man, he didn't get up.
On one island, Anna decided to plant a coconut. In doing so, her spade connected with something, solid, and metal. She found buried treasure! Of all the luck.
During their 'down time' of non travel, her father (Alfred) bought up properties in Dorset and Cornwall, where Anna lived. In 1934 she went to Paris to learn the beautician trade. She qualified, and ended up being a much sought after beautician, cutting hair on Vanderbelts, and De Rothschild's, to name a few. Oh. And she also cut the hair of the infamous Mrs. Simpson, and her husband, Edward. Surely, you remember him, the almost King who had the balls to marry an American divorcee?
But I digress.
Before WW II broke out, Anna was the manager of a Beauty Salon on the Normandie Ocean liner. During the war, she stayed with Alfred in Hampshire. She met many people, like Churchill, General Hague, General de Gaulle. She frequently made stew, and served it to all, including the Italian prisoners who were working nearby. She had an accident during this time, falling off a chair while she was painting a ceiling. She awoke, in a hospital, getting her last rights....
She obviously did not die. Instead, the war ended, and she and Alfred ended up in South Africa. (St. Lucia to be exact. They liked it enough that that Alfred purchased the hotel, and nearby houses (I told you he was loaded) and they entered the hospitality business. Anna got restless after 2 years. To get the money they made out of South Africa without the red tape, they bought a famous Icon, the Virgin of Kazan.
Alfred was very ill at this time, and they went back to England, and Anna looked after him intil his death in 1959.
Another long standing secretary of Alfred agreed to stay with Anna, and the adventures continued. She still had the Russian Icon, and she sold it back to the Russian Orthodox Church, waiting several years until they were able to raise the money for it. She then returned to Canada, and began to give lecture tours about their nomadic life, and showing the Crystal Skull. She evenually bought, then ran, a hotel for 6 years before returning to England, to live, and then bounced back to Canada, yet again. Cynthia, the secretary died, but Anna continued to have people to her home, doing interviews, making documentarys (about her) and showing off the Crystal Skull. She died, shortly after her 100th birthday.


Bubblewench said...

Hey even a few things I didn't see on the History Channel show!

And not sure if you left this out on purpose, but she was the inspiration for Indiana Jones (pistol & whip?).....

Glad you enjoyed her!

Daryl said...

I was thinking she must have been a sort of female Indiana Jones (crystal skull, pistol/whip) and now I see Bubblewench's comment ... GMTA ... love all your Mieographies ..


sybil law said...


Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow, what a life!