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  • My family has been in Bisbee since 1883. My parents went their separate ways when I was six and my mother and I eventually came back here to Bisbee when I was in the 5th grade. When my father would come visit me he would take me to the Copper Queen Hotel for steak and eggs, and hot chocolate. We would go walk through the cemetery and he would tell me the stories of all the people who were there.

    It was something very special that my parents shared with me that I think really changed my life. When I was supposed to pick a major in college, I thought, "What is the one subject that I love more than anything else in the world?" And that was Bisbee and the history of Bisbee.

    I was gone for four years. My then boyfriend, now husband, and I had been together for three years but there was nothing beyond minimum wage work for us here. The opportunities did not exist for us to elevate ourselves and so we had to leave. He took a position working at a prison in Globe, Arizona and I also got a job there working at a hotel, and we were able to progress a bit. Leaving gave us perspective on what we needed to do in order to better our lives.

    I would really love to be here the rest of my life, but unfortunately I don’t think that that’s going to be possible. I have a lot of ambitions and I don’t know if they can all be realized at this time from this location. I want to excel in my field, but I can only go so far here and in order to gain more experience I feel like I’m going to have to leave. But I will always be back and I will always own property here.

    This is my home and it will always be my home. Even when I die; they have been told to spread my ashes throughout special parts of Bisbee that I love. So while I may have to leave I will always be here in spirit.

    I’ve met a lot of people I grew up with and they kind of treat me like, “Oh you poor thing. You never got out. You got stuck here.” But I choose to live here, I love it here. I’ve had the opportunity to acquire a great education from some of the finest educational organizations, in not only the country but the world, and I’ve also been able to travel to world, pretty extensively, and I’ve been able to see just how special Bisbee is from being able to to go to so many other places.

    We aren’t stuck here, we’re here because we want to be here. We love it here. I like going to grocery store and it taking 30 minutes to get milk because I’m running into so many people that, not only know me, but knew my grandparents. There is something very special about that.

    Annie Graeme Larkin
    Curator of collections at Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum
    Lives in: Bisbee, Arizona (pop. 5,498)

    This story is one of many collected around "The One Thing" that makes people stay, return or leave their small town.
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