Titanic, take 2

My Dad has come to town, and the first thing the kids wanted to do is take him to the museum so he could go through the Titanic Exhibit. I think the Golfer was secretly hoping he’d get to live this time. I was just hoping to get through it without crying. The Naturalist wanted to get a ticket for someone travelling 1st Class…that’s my girl!

As luck would have it, we each got a person travelling 1st Class!

The Golfer was a 47 year old man, who (eerily enough) enjoyed playing golf on the Old Links when he lived in England.
The Naturalist was a 25 year old woman, Mrs. Hudson Allison, travelling abroad to Scotland to find furniture and household staff for her two residences. She was accompanied by her husband, servants, and 2 children ages 2 and 1.

I was….wait for it….Mrs. John Jacob Astor. Yes, as in, Waldorf-Astoria family. Only the richest family in the country. We’re talking, Edith Wharton society. They did an editorial of my wedding in the New York Times. Here’s a drawing of one of my parties.

I wasn’t just 1st Class, I was VIP first class, with the very special china. And here I am, right before marrying John Jacob Astor.

I was 18 at the time, a year younger than his oldest son. On my marathon honeymoon (which is why I was travelling abroad) I discovered I was pregnant. At the time of my Titanic voyage, I was 5 months along.

Sadly, by the end of the trip, I would be a widow. John Jacob Astor loaded me into a lifeboat, but was denied a seat. He gave me a handkerchief and said, “I’ll see you in New York.” He didn’t survive and I gave birth to his son 4 months later.

The Golfer didn’t make it this time, either. His name was Arthur H. Gee, and he wrote this letter on April 10th:

On board the R.M.S. Titanic, April 10th 1912.

My dear,
In the language of the poet, ”This is a knock-out”. I have never seen anything so magnificent, even in a first class hotel. I might be living in a palace. It is, indeed, an experience. We seem to be miles above the water, and there are certainly miles of promenade deck. The lobbies are so long that they appear to come to a point in the distance. Just finished dinner. They call us up to dress by bugle.! It reminded me of some Russian villages where they call the cattle home from the fields by horn made from the bark of a tree. Such a dinner!!! My gracious!!!

The Naturalist had a sad story. Mrs. Allison, her husband, her 2 year old daughter, and 2 of her 3 servants were lost in the sea. Her 1 year old son survived in a lifeboat with the 3rd servant, his nurse. Mrs. Allison had been put in a lifeboat with her daughter, but was frantic about possibly leaving her baby boy on board, so she exited the lifeboat with Loraine and searched the Titanic, unsuccesfully, for her husband and little boy.

It was just as good going through it a second time, and just as touching.

Afterwards, we all walked over to the IMAX theatre for the movie, “Ghosts of the Abyss”.

It’s a documentary that James Cameron filmed while searching the wreck for his movie, “Titanic”. Even though we had seen it a few days ago, the older kids were just as enthralled with it a second time. There is something compelling about seeing this majestic ship on the ocean floor.

The Sassy Princess had to be bribed with M&M’s (it’s an hour long!) and did relatively well, even if she did keep saying, “That’s freaking me out!” when they’d show pictures of the outside of the Titanic on the big screen.

While walking through the exhibit, this time as a women of significant means, I thought about how shocking it must have been to see so many men of untold wealth, perishing alongside commoners. I mean, at a time when wealth was equivocal to God’s blessings bestowed upon the deserving, it must have sent a shock wave through society to have so many prominent men, women, and children lost in the sinking.

Colorado Sunset

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Martin Luther

When you look outside at 6:15 in the evening, and see this:

Then you know nature has something special in store for the rest of the sunset.

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~e.e. cummings


So you sit yourself down out on the porch, and watch in wonder as the colors change from yellow to red.

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive. ~Eleonora Duse


In New Jersey, when I first saw paintings by Thomas Edwin Church, I didn’t know sunsets like this existed. I thought maybe he was using poetic license to exagerate or paint a hyperbole of a western sunset. Little did I know that, if anything, he painted them subdued.

Standing on the back porch, I believe I feel what Wallace Stegner called “God finding in the Rockies” and these particular mountains the “native home of hope”. It certainly felt like it as this sunset was happening!

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir