Yesterday was a Titanic day and it’s been Titanic cold here in northern ca. We saw the Titanic exhibit then rented the movie (not the real one, the Leo diCaprio one) which is very long, by the way, and today I am tired and cold. And images of people bouncing off giant rudders and into foamy waves are rolling around in my head along with the frozen icicle haired people gently holding their no longer cooing babies. Bless their little unfrozen hearts, both my kids now want to see the “real” movie. You know, Mommy, the one with people who were really on the boat.
I’m reading “A Night to Remember” by Walter Lord which is about the real people. If you have interest in the story, not just the facts, of the people on board that famous boat, this is a great book. It was written in the fifties, long before the wreck was found (1985 I think). The story is based on hundreds of interviews that the author did with survivors. It reads like a novel, although you don’t follow just one person through the story. You bounce from person to person, situation to situation on all of the various decks from first class down to third. Between the book and the exhibition, I’ve learned all kinds of interesting facts:
sos was first used to call for help by the Titanic.
the saying “and the band played on” probably came from that fateful night. The musicians on the ship played until the boat sank, taking them down with it.
the Unsinkable Molly Brown kicked some upper class butt in her lifeboat, getting the ladies to “row, row, row”.
salt water freezes at a lower temperature than ice, so the water that people floated in once off the boat was colder than the iceberg itself.
most people who survived the sinking, but were not in lifeboats, only lasted about twenty minutes in the freezing water. The longest survivor in the water was a man who had been drinking all night. He lasted over two hours. My son (he’s seven) says that if we ever take him on a cruise he’ll stay drunk the whole time. Possibly a good reason not to take him on a cruise….