I can hold her in my two hands.
She is tiny and fragile, but miraculous. Down deep she is strong, a survivor.
We are talking, of course, about the Titanic.
One of the pleasant side effects of lockdowns, travel restrictions and shelter-in-place advisories is people found time to discover new hobbies, or rekindle old interests.
Gardens are growing, books are being read, basements are getting renovated.
In the past month four people have contacted The Spotlight looking for information about ancestors; pictures and obituaries. They are researching their family trees.
Titanic is part of my family.
Yes, I am a Titanic person (not really a fan of the term ‘nerd’) and have been for more than 40 years. Leonardo DiCaprio was three years old, the first time I read Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember.
That is still the Titanic lover’s bible, and a stunning piece of journalism as well.
There are lots of us. A couple of months ago I joined the world’s largest Titanic Facebook group. With more than 30,000 members there is always an interesting discussion to tap.
Why did White Star chairman Bruce Ismay get in a lifeboat?
How could the captain of the Californian, only about 10 miles away, have gone back to sleep while the great ship fired distress rockets?
Who was gallant? Who was cowardly?
Don’t even get us started on the Marconi room.
These conversations keep us up at night, literally.
Recently I purchased, from an online seller, replica Titanic china. There are pieces from first, second and third class, and they are marvelous.
I will use them when serving my annual Titanic re-creation dinner (April 14, 2021) which had to be cancelled this year due to COVID.
Don’t laugh. There are people out there with Star Wars tattoos, for crying out loud.
I also purchased, online, a tiny piece of her, a bit of the hull recovered by the salvage company that originally explored the wreck.
Okay so it’s rust. But still, it’s Titanic rust.
My ‘rusticle’ cost $218, which in 1912 would have been enough to purchase third-class passage on the doomed liner for the entire DeMeer family.
The odds of any of us surviving that journey would have been low, naturally.
The rust took forever to get here from England, almost two months.
I was as impatient as an expectant mother, constantly checking the status of my order, bugging the workers at the post office.
It arrived May 26.
Shuffling on my toes, I was, as the clerk went to the back to fetch the parcel.
She returned with a grim, apologetic countenance.
There is a problem with your delivery.
The package did not arrive in proper condition, she said.
Unfortunately, somewhere between the UK and Canada it suffered…wait for it…water damage.
You can appreciate the initial confusion.
It’s a piece of Titanic. Of course it has water damage.
Then she brought out the sodden, misshapen mess and my heart sank. (Uh, couldn’t resist that).
The whole thing had been stuffed into a plastic bag to hold it together and the clerk suggested I needn’t take delivery.
Just give me my ship. I want to go home.
Water damage indeed. Some of the accompanying materials — pictures, a glossy book — were beyond saving.
But the artifact itself, heavily protected, survived along with its documentation. It smells a little moldy.
It couldn’t be more perfect.
One tiny shard of inferior British steel attempted twice to cross the Atlantic, and couldn’t make it either time without encountering disaster.
Plus, I can hold her in my two hands.
She is tiny and fragile, but miraculous.
To report a typo, email: