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.

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2 Responses

  1. Cool exhibit! I wish I could see it!

  2. that was scary see the titanic sink slow it was bilt in april 10 1912.

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