Labor Day, in honor of Anna Walentynowicz

This is a repost of one I posted back in 2014. Worth reposting.

Who is she, one might ask. I would have, too, before I recently watched a Polish Film called “Strike.”

She is the woman responsible for the Solidarity movement and the eventual overthrow of Communism in Poland. Her dedication and hard work took decades, and many sacrifices. She was originally a welder at a shipyard and couldn’t read. Her son taught her how to read so she could take the crane operators test – more money and better shifts. She was afraid of heights and threw up in her bag the first time up. She was a strong, fascinating woman. Her name was Anna Walentynowicz. She was the women’s labor rep at the Lenin Shipyard and a trouble-maker. She went to jail numerous times for her labor and anti-communist views and activities.

The Solidarity Movement started when the Shipyard fired her 4 months before her retirement. She was one of 7 leaders of the movement, one of whom was a male named Lech Kaczynski, later President of Poland. He wanted her to head the movement which started with her firing. She felt a male would be better, and she also felt he was the better public speaker, at least as portrayed in the movie. She died at the age of 80 in 2010 in a plane crash which also claimed Lech and his wife. She was a fascinating, hard-working woman who made a huge difference in the Labor Movement and also in her country. So today, I honor her.

Labor Day weekend

Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer. Years ago, it also marked the beginning of the slowing of the tourist traffic. Not any more. Tourists flock all year, unless the road closes due to fire, flood, or rocks and mud. Even then, they come.

It is also prime fire season, and the conditions are critical. Labor Day is often a time for backyard BBQs, I’ve been invited to one, but I will probably pass, due to traffic. Make sure you don’t bring your BBQ into our backyard. Big Sur just can’t handle another big fire again so soon after the Basin Complex. Keep your BBQ in town. Even our campgrounds, at least those in the national forest, and maybe all of them, do not allow campfires, or even stoves right now.

Have a wonderful long weekend, enjoy the beauty of our coast, but treat it as the fragile entity it is right now – with caution, awe, and respect. Have a good one. Maybe some photos over the long weekend.