From the back of,
Leave Your Footprint
Candidly and often as not, humorously, Ann Bedsole tells the story not just of her life, but of the Alabama of her day, from growing up in rural Southwest Alabama in the 1930s and 1940s, to having three children, and, at age 48, starting arguably the greatest career of any woman in Alabama political history.
Ann was the first woman ever elected to the Alabama State Senate, as well as the first Republican woman to serve in the Alabama House of Representatives. Ann blazed, or rather bulldozed, trails for women in Alabama politics, taking the Old Boys – her term for the legislators she found in Montgomery in the 1970s – head on, and on their own terms.
Her career outside of politics has been as impressive as her time in politics. Ann’s non-profit work has led the creation and growth of important institutions, including the Alabama School of Math and Science and the Sybil Smith Village. She was named First Lady of Mobile in 1972, Mobilian of the Year in 1993, and Philanthropist of the Year in 1998. In 2002, she was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor, which recognizes living persons for their achievements and contributions to the state.
Ann turns 93 in January 2023, and continues to promote projects and issues that matter to her. As she says in the book, “I’ve told my doctors they’ve just got to give me three or four more good years. I have things I absolutely must get done.”
In Ann’s Words
Excerpts from Leave Your Footprint
Daddy told us that if we were going to drink, then he was going to show us how to do it. He said it was important to know what you are drinking. Don’t drink vodka or any clear liquor. If we were going to drink, drink bourbon or Scotch, and with water – nothing else but water and maybe some ice. Daddy poured each of us a little glass of bourbon with water, and told us both to drink it. I’m telling you, we had a hard time swallowing that. “If you do something wrong, do it right,” he said.
“Our first stop in China was Wuhan, in central China. Huge crowds came out to see us. After all, we were probably the first Americans most of them had ever seen. Gov. Wallace was in the car in front of me … He was leaning out the window yelling, ‘Vote for me! Vote for me!’”
Upon my arrival, both houses of the Legislature passed a resolution, which was presented to me, and which welcomed me as the “First Lady,” of the Senate. It read in part, “Whereas, to become the first woman ever to be so elected is a milestone in itself, but it is a bonus in the esthetic sense, translating into ‘lagniappe’ for the Senate Chamber now houses a beauty among its beasts.”
From the new telephone room, I saw the new Men’s Room. Naturally, I asked Johnny (Crawford) where the Women’s Room was. He told me that the leadership had thought I could just use the public Ladies Room down the hall and behind the elevators. He had the grace to look embarrassed when he said it and when he said what he said next: “We thought there wouldn’t be any others after you and Sister (Strong).”
Daddy knew that Oscar had worked hard and that there were people in Leroy who were backing Eisenhower, so when the results came in from Leroy showing no votes for Ike, Daddy called Mr. Johnson, the man who managed the Leroy box. He wanted to know how it was possible that Ike got totally shut out in Leroy. “Well, White, it was so close, we just decided to make it unanimous,” Mr. Johnson told him.
They say that if you stand still in Alabama, a pine tree will grow up under your foot. There’s timber everywhere there isn’t cement.
(Gov. Guy Hunt) didn’t like women getting out of their place, which to him was the home. One night he invited many of the senators and our spouses to a dinner meeting at the Mansion. Gov. Hunt started going around the room and asking each senator what they thought about a piece of legislation he wanted passed. “Ryan, what do you think? Gerald, what do you think?” When he came to me, he asked Palmer what he thought about the bill. Palmer said, “I have no earthly idea. You should ask my wife. She knows.”
Nobody in Mobile thought Mobile could do anything, and if anything was holding this city back, it was that mindset. You’d hear somebody say that a new restaurant was opening, and the response would be, ‘Oh, it won’t last.’ Everybody was pessimistic. When you suggested something that was big and bold, people were like, ‘No, not here.’”
I think you’re finally grown when you stop taking your friends’ enemies as your enemies. Mary doesn’t like Jane, so you don’t like Jane, even though Jane could be a wonderful person. That kind of things.
The three Mobilians appointed to examine the conditions in prisons in the southwest part of the state were me, civil rights leader John LeFlore, and Mobile lawyer Billy Kimbrough, an old friend from Clarke County. When we toured the prisons, such as in Atmore, I would ride with Billy and John. If you ever want to get to know someone, take a long motor trip with them.
Places to buy Leave Your Footprint
We are excited to announce that a number of well-known, fine Mobile-based businesses are now carrying Ann’s book, with all selling both the hardback and paperback.
Many thanks to all of them. They are:
Ashland Gallery (2321 Old Shell Road, near Ashland Pub)
The Gift Gallery, at 135 North Jackson Street in Grove Hill.
McCoy Outdoors, 3498 Springhill Ave, just west of I-65.
Southern Art and Framing (Regency Square, at intersection of Airport and University)
The Monroe County Museum, in downtown Monroeville.
Harvell Men’s Custom Clothier, 2502 Old Shell Road, near Publix
It’s Inviting, the fine stationary and gift shop, at 4513 Old Shell Road, Suite B, next to The Holiday.
Sophiella Gallery, 111 Dauphin Street, in downtown, near Bienville Square.
Print King (Dauphin Square Shopping Center, just east of I-65)
The Haunted Book Shop, at its new location on 9 S. Joachim, in downtown Mobile, across from the Saenger.
Page & Palette, in downtown Fairhope.
Historic Oakleigh Gift Shop in the Oakleigh Garden District in Mobile.
The Monroe County Museum, in downtown Monroeville.
Carpe Diem Coffee & Tea Co., (4072 Old Shell Road, across from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church)
More vendor announcements coming soon!
Ann to Appear, Sign Books in Monroeville and Grove Hill
Ann will be meeting with attendees and selling and signing her book Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 1-3 p.m. at the Monroe County Museum, at 31 North Alabama Ave., in Monroeville. One of the best chapters in her book, and that’s according to Ann, is one called, “Ann Farish and Monroeville.”
That weekend, on Sunday, Feb. 26, she will appear and sign books at the monthly gathering of the Clarke County Historical Society. The Historical Society’s monthly meetings start at 2:30 p.m., and are held at Grove Hill City Hall.
She will appear with other authors and sign her book at the Monroeville Literary Festival on Saturday, March 4, after the Luncheon.
Table of Contents and Introduction
Go Here to view the Table of Contents and read the Introduction to Ann’s new book.
Scroll down from there, and you will see how the cover appears on the printer’s Mock Up prior to printing the book.
Info for Book, Gift Shops
Leave Your Footprint is available in paperback and hardback. For stores preferring to order the book, it is available through Ingram.
Pages: 338 (Text Pages, including Introduction: 304); 6 X 9 inches
Photos: Book contains two photo sections, with more than 60 photos
Hardback ISBN: 979-8-9872397-3-5
Paperback ISBN: 979-8-9872397-4-2
Library of Congress Control Number: 2022920369
Sales Proceeds to Sybil Smith Village
Proceeds from the sale of Ann’s book will be donated to the Sybil H. Smith Family Village. The facility, named after Ann’s mother, provides transitional housing to homeless women, most with children, as well as support services.
The creation of the Sybil H. Smith Family Village is among the major achievements in the philanthropic portion of Ann’s life.
Get the Word Out!
Readers who’ve enjoyed the book or wish to get it are encouraged to spread the word to friends and contacts, and contact their local bookstores, gift shops and other stores that carry books, tell them about the book, encourage them to sell Leave Your Footprint.
First Signing a Big Success
Ann’s first book signing, held Jan. 26 at The Haunted Book Shop in downtown Mobile, was a huge success. Ann signed books and talked to old friends and new for over two hours as the line snaked through the store.
Almost 100 books were signed and sold at the event, including 40 hardbacks, before we and the store ran out. Our supply has been replenished, as has Haunted Books, and we’re working on more signings and getting the book in retailers, first in Mobile, then in Baldwin County and the rest of the state.
To see some photos of the signing, go to the Facebook page for Leave Your Footprint.