Thursday, November 18, 2004

All Aboard The Unsinkable Titanic

I stepped up to the bottom of the gangplank. The attendant handed me my boarding pass. I am Mrs. Coutts and I was traveling with my two young sons, William and Leslie. I am 36 years old. My husband has finally earned enough money in the States to send for us. To save us money I bought Third Class tickets. And we walked up the gangplank to the Unsinkable Titanic to start our new life in America. And so my journey began.

When we returned from Costa Rica, we went and listened to a gentleman talk about his involvement in the Titanic Exhibit. He has been able to go down and view the ship up close and personal. He also told us some of the little facts about artifacts that have been retrieved and are on show at different places. He also brought some pieces to allow us to view and touch. I didn't touch any of it because I felt like it was touching the dead. Anyway, one story in particular stands out in my mind. During one of their trips to the bottom of the sea, they brought up a leather satchel. When they opened up the satchel they were hit with an overwhelming smell of perfume. In the satchel was several little sample bottles of perfume that a gentleman was taking to America to sell. And the end of the talk, we were given discount tickets and we made the decision to head to the exhibit in Salt Lake City.

And so I climbed aboard the ship and set out on my journey. What would America hold for me? For us? I walked into the rooms and looked at all the artifacts that were on display. There were parts of the ship like the portholes, wrenches, and such. There was a model of the ship. And I imagined walking along the decks and watching Europe disappear and waiting to see the Statue of Liberty.

Out of the first room and into a hallway. A hallway that resembled a hallway that would be seen on the ship. A set of doors that I had the thought of wanting to open and wondering what room would be behind them. A complete sense that I was actually on the ship. I was taking a walk in time. The date was April 10, 1912. I had no idea that in 5 days the ship, the unsinkable ship, would sink.

I was able to walk through the boiler room and see faces of the men who had worked there. One touched me particularly as he looked to be just entering his teenage years. And I doubt that he made it. There was such a great amount of coal on the ship and so much barely moved the ships. Quite a few of the passengers were only traveling on the Titanic because there was a coal strike and the other ships were docked. Tell you what, if I was a coal striker back then, I would feel horrible in a sense.

I looked over the jewelry that was found. There was a quite a bit of money as well. And items that were in leather including the leather were in good shape because leather's process of tanning keeps the microorganisms from eating away the leather. And then I came to the leather satchel and the perfume bottles. At the same time a woman stepped next to me with a strong amount of perfume on and I was overtaken with emotion.

I walked by the gates to the Third Class deck as well as a room where I would have stayed with my two young boys. I had placed my boys in the beds and was sitting in my own bunk thinking about being reunited with my husband in America. I was awoken at 1140 PM by a loud noise. We were to grab our lifejackets and prepare to leave the ship.

I walked by the iceberg and touched it with my hand. It was quite cold. And then I stepped upon Lifeboat 2 with my two children. We watched the ship sink at 220 AM on April 15, 1912.


Obviously some of it is my own thoughts as I walked through the Titanic Exhibit. If you have a chance to be able to walk through one, I highly recommend it. One question I had for the gentleman that did the talk was whether items found with information of the owners were returned to their heirs. He told me that they are when possible. One lady asked for her Great or Grandfather's watch and then when she passed away had it in her will that it was given back.

Again, if you get a chance, take the walk.

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