PENNY MENZE BIO
This will be my first trip out of the country. Even though I fly for a living, I’ve never been to Europe.
Before becoming a “stewardess”, I became a singer/songwriter and still live in Nashville, TN. I’m 48 years old and my journey has now taken me back to my roots. I didn’t know or understand these roots, nor did I know I had a void in my life until I met my 2nd cousin Betty. Betty’s Father was the brother of my Grandfather. He died in a tragic incident, in the copper mines of Northern Michigan when Betty was very young. My Grandfather and he were very close. I never knew these stories until I met Betty. She is very passionate about her heritage. I guess I didn’t understand that I was apart of this until just a few years ago.
I hadn’t been to my Grandfather’s bar in over 30 years. This bar had been in our family for 70 years. Sold out of the family 25 years ago. My mother and her siblings born and raised upstairs. As a child I would stay with my Grandparents upstairs. My Grandfather Croatian, my Grandmother Slovenian. He’d immigrated from Croatia to work the Copper Mines. My Grandmother came over, by herself, to have a better life in this booming copper town. I met Betty around 1996. I never knew she existed! I was living in Arizona, and she came to visit my mother. Betty went on and on, about how I should come up and sing at the bar. She also went on about the Croatian musical instruments. How I should blend them into my music. Every time I’d hear from her, this is what she would envision for me. In 2008, I played my guitar and sang in my family’s bar. (This beautiful tavern was built in the 1890’s). Betty and her husband were there. My Uncle was there. I could feel my family in this building. I took a break from playing, and a gentleman walked up to me and said, “Hello Penny, I’m your 2nd cousin Tony, my father was your grandfather’s brother”. The last song of the day, someone requested “Grandpa”. I sang the song, and we all cried.
This brings me to my next album project. A concept album. A story of their life. Betty said..”you have to go to Croatia”. Betty has been several times and knows the family. You’ll see in her bio how she brought her mom back to the Old Country in the 70’s.
I still cannot believe that I’m on my way to Croatia. Visiting the homesteads, discovering Croatia, the people present and past, meeting relatives, listening to all of your stories. Last but not least..hearing and learning the music and dance.
From a seed in 1996 to realization in 2012, Betty has strong visions … doesn’t she. 🙂