Over a Barrell

Annie Taylor was born in 1838 in New York. Her father died when she was 12 and left the family well off. Annie was able to earn a teaching degree. She married soon after she earned her degree. Her child died as an infant and her husband died soon after.

Annie began to drift from job to job and from location to location. She had a run of bad life experiences that would overwhelm almost anyone. A pastor she entrusted her money to defrauded her. She lost her home in a fire. Her hope was to restore her finances by doing something no one had ever done before. That was to become the first person to go over the Niagara Falls. A barrel was the vessel she chose. She was 63 at the time.

She had a barrel made that would fit her body. She had cushioning surrounding her body. Within 20 minutes, the barrel with Annie in it made it to the bottom of the falls. When rescuers opened the barrel, they found Annie to be alive with just a cut on her head.

She had hoped that the stunt would lead to fame and fortunes. The fame did come, but it was short-lived. She never did make as much money as she had hoped. She wrote a book, and it didn’t sell very well. The manager she hired to promote her book stole most of the small amount of money she did earn. He also stole her barrel.

She passed away at the age of 82. She was destitute and public generosity was needed to pay for her funeral. While she appeared to suffer little from her barrel stunt, she attributed her poor health and near blindness later in life to the trip over the falls.

Some hopes go unfulfilled. Why is that? Is it a lack of will or bad luck? Or maybe it’s circumstances we can’t control. It would be that the hope is unrealistic. Imagine the life that Annie would have lived if she had been more cautious in her life. Would she have been defrauded by others? Would she have lived a life of fulfillment in the teaching career she had prepared for? We will never know.

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“Life is about fulfillment. If your life isn’t fulfilled, your stomach can never supply what’s missing.” – Deepak Chopra

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