Annie C., New York City.
(p. 514 in 2nd edition.)
Annie came to A.A. in April of 1947, at the age of sixty-seven. She was a "scrub lady," poor, and uneducated. She lived in a tenement house on First Avenue.
Her husband had left her, taking the children with him. At one point he invited her to move back with him and she did. She says that by then the oldest boy was married, and the youngest was studying to become a policeman. "Brother!"
She had her first drink at age 31. She fought with police and was frequently arrested for being drunk and disorderly. She cleaned rooms in a hotel, but got drunk on an occupant's liquor and fell asleep on his bed. She got fired. At one point she was drinking with the boys on the Bowery.
At her first meeting she met Nancy F. ("The Independent Blonde") who reports "She laughed and said 'You're jealous of me because I've had a few drinks and you can't have any.'" Nancy replied, "You're so right."
She had a slip, after which she went to High Watch Farm. When she returned Nancy suggested she take the fifth step, either with Dr. Silkworth or with a priest. She chose to do it with a priest. (The priest was probably also an A.A. member.)
She and the priest met at Nancy's apartment. Nancy made coffee and suggested that Annie attend the meeting on 58th Street when they were finished, then left. When Annie arrived at the meeting she seemed clearly relieved. Even though Nancy had told her this was not a confession, she was just to tell him her story, she did make a confession. She told the priest: "Father, I'll tell you everything, but don't ask me how many times."
She was a very simple, uninhibited woman. She cursed a lot when she spoke, but then would look at a priest in the audience say, "Excuse me, Father, but I'm trying to be careful."
Nancy was a hairdresser, and when Annie came to the beauty shop she would charge her a dollar "because I never wanted her to think I just gave her anything because she was very proud." Annie later went to another beauty shop and when they charged her six dollars she said, "Hell, I can get it done for a buck up on Park Avenue."
She is said to have had the time of her life in A.A. She had nothing, but she was sober, and she was having a ball. She was happy as a lark.
Annie died when she was about seventy-four.