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Archive for December 12th, 2012

The Titanic

(I wrote this in 2004 for my 8th grade Literature and Composition class. First is an original short story, and then a report.)

 

A Night Engraved in Memory

Every jarring motion that the precarious lifeboat made, as it lowered into the inky blackness of the Atlantic Ocean, jolted straight to Katherine Evan’s heart.  Her eyes locked with a dark-haired handsome twenty-year-old man.  The man seemed to be holding back the fear that entered his eyes just as the water seeped slowly into the “unsinkable” ship, Titanic.

“My love for you will never cease, Katherine; remember that,” he called, his voice cracking.

Katherine then knew what she had to do.

“Goodbye Mother and Josephine.  I apologize, but I must take another boat,” she said.

Her mother emitted a shrill, piercing shriek and held onto her left foot as Katherine grabbed hold of the railing of the massive ocean liner.  The high-buttoned shoe dislodged itself from her foot and plunged into the welcoming sea.  As she tumbled onto the deck, the young woman yanked off her other shoe.  What use is having only one bloody shoe? Katherine thought with frustration.  Her gaze searched for the young man.  Gone.  No terrified, remaining passenger wore his face.  She fervently ran and searched for him.  No one knew of him.  Up and down several stairs she scrambled.  When she reached the deck she started from, she knew that she must get onto a boat.

“Excuse me, sir.  Where are the lifeboats?” she asked a steward, fearing she already knew the answer.

“I apologize, Miss.  They’ve all gone,” the steward replied.

~*~

April 14, 1912 3:29 p.m.  I must say that today has the most beautiful weather I have ever witnessed with this magnificent voyage on the Titanic.  The sun shines like a beaming smile with a tease of a breeze brushing against my cheek.  Unfortunately, this vacation hasn’t been enjoyable in the least!  I’ve sat around sipping tea, listened to men boast about their money, and watched my little brat of a sister as she races about the decks the entire day!  What fun!  Today she’s dragged me onto the steerage deck of all places!  I long for an adventure and a man who will actually listen to my ideas. I’m not a bloody display doll!  Could life get any worse…  Katherine abruptly closed her diary as her sister ran up to her.

“Sissy, Sissy, Sissy, look at what I can do!” her sister Josephine cried as she twirled around and around.  “I can dance!”

“That’s just great, Josie,” said Katherine.  “Be careful; the last thing I need is a seasick sister.”

Suddenly, the bored eighteen-year-old recognized the familiar bulging and retching of her sister that she had witnessed more times than she needed to.  Katherine shouted for her to hurl over the railing, but her sister didn’t stagger over to it fast enough. A man with his cap over his face rested on a deck chair, unaware of the approaching child.  He jumped to his senses as Josie got sick all over him.

“Oh my goodness!  I’m terribly sorry!  My little sister didn’t mean it!  It’s nothing personal…” Katherine ranted.

“Calm down.  I’m fine.  It hasn’t made contact with my bare skin, so I should survive,” the man said.

“Well, it’s best for you to go and bathe,” Katherine suggested.

“It will most likely be a few days.  Only two bathtubs for the passengers in steerage exist on this ship,” the man said.

“Ugh!  Come with me,” Katherine exclaimed and dragged him away without his consent, leaving Josie behind.

The pair didn’t stop until they reached a gilded, first-class door.

“Hurry!  The tub should be filled with warm water.  I’ll keep watch,” Miss Evans said.

“But…”

“Just hurry!” she said and pushed him through the door.

~*~

Later that evening, Katherine waited in her bed until her parents’ whispers faded and her sister’s grunts and snores became overpowering.  She creaked the door open and tiptoed out into the hall.  Her feet seemed to sink a few inches into the fluffy carpet.  Stopping a stewardess, she asked for the whereabouts of the steerage dining room.  The stewardess warily told her and hurried away to replace sheets on a bed.  When Katherine strode through the entryway of the dining room, shouts and laughter met her ears.  Everyone danced about the room or sat on tables eating.  Spotting the familiar raven hair and chocolate eyes, Katherine sauntered over to the man she had met earlier that day .

“I believe that I have told you my name; you have yet to tell me yours,” she said coyly.

The man hastily rose and bowed extravagantly.

“My name is James Barrett, but you may call me James,” he said.  “What brings you to a dining room with such humble furnishings?  Were you seeking the amusement of watching people of a lower class than you?”

“Excuse me!  I have better manners than you assume!” she exclaimed.  “I was afraid that I would break one of those plates with gold edges if I dined there!  If you must know, I wanted to see you again.”

“Well, I am honored,” James said and bowed again.  “Would you care to dance with me, or will your parents have my head?”

“I haven’t the slightest care for my parents’ opinions!” she exclaimed and dragged him onto the dance floor.

“When your mind is set, it’s engraved in stone, isn’t it?!” James panted.

Katherine felt his strong, muscular arms enfold her waist.  For some strange reason, it felt right.  They discussed their passions and dreams for what seemed like hours.  She had never felt this way about any man before!  What the feeling was suddenly flashed in her brain like lightning.

“This may sound crazy.  After all, we’ve only just met!” she said nervously.  “What I’m trying to say is that I’ve fallen in love with your spirit.”

“That’s just too bad,” James said, his eyes glittering excitedly.  “I happen to have fallen in love with everything about you.”

After meeting in a passionate embrace, Katherine stared into his eyes and memorized every detail of him.  In a few days, she would never see him again; this night would only be a fleeting memory.  Little did she know, that time would come sooner than she thought.

~*~

James Barrett woke up sprawled on a rough, wooden bench inside of a tavern.  He was an extremely fortunate male steerage passenger to have been able to hop onto the last remaining lifeboat.  No one inquired about the class of any survivor.  Another day without Katherine would torment his soul.  He could not get her scent of spring flowers out of his mind.  A tall, gangly boy waved a newspaper and shouted that a list of the people who had not survived the sinking of the Titanic had been printed.  Scurrying out the door with a half-asleep foot, James bought a copy.  His eyes hungrily read the list, devouring every name.  His heart jumped to his throat and froze as he read the name… Katherine Evans.

 

Titanic

 

Report

1490 people died that morning on April 15, 1912 (RMS Titanic Inc 1).  The Titanic crashed and sank only four hundred miles away from the coast of Newfoundland (Ballard 20).  It was nearly at its destination!  Only 711 passengers were rescued.  That was thirty two percent of every one onboard (RMS Titanic Inc 1)!  What was it like on this unforgettable ship?  Why did it sink?  Most people thought it was unsinkable and wouldn’t listen when asked to get on a lifeboat.  Some thought that “the Titanic was jinxed because she had a mummy in the hold, a mummy that carried a curse with it.” (Sloan 19).  Whatever reason it was, the ship sank, and there’s evidence on the seafloor to prove it.  A woman’s high button shoe was discovered there (Kamuda 2).

The cost to build this enormous ship 1912 was 7.5 million dollars, but today the price would be 400 million dollars.  During construction, there were 240 accidents and eight deaths (Stewart 7,8).  Titanic’s maiden voyage would be the fifty nine year old Captain’s last job before he retired (Harmon 28).  Little did he know, he would go down with his ship?

Titanic was a floating, grand hotel!  There were thirteen honeymoons on the voyage (Sloan 85).  First class dining was elegant and exquisite.  They ate on china plates with twenty-two karat gold edges (Kamuda 4)!  A typical dinner in first class had about eight or nine courses (RMS Titanic Inc 1)!  The ship did have its drawbacks though; 710 steerage passengers had to share two bathtubs (Stewart 20).

On Wednesday, April 10, 1912 at approximately 12:00 pm, Titanic left Southampton, England on its journey to New York.  It hit the iceberg at about 11:40 pm April 14, 1912 (Stewart 5, 22).  The ice field was seventy-eight miles long (Ballard 20).  With twenty-eight out of the possible sixty-five passengers, the first lifeboat was lowered into the water at 12:22 am.  By approximately 2:15 am the next day, all of the lifeboats had left the Titanic.  The ship Carpathia arrived to save the survivors at 4:10 am (Stewart 24, 26, 29).  It docked in New York on Thursday, April eighteenth on a rainy day (Sloan 55).  No one is ever likely to forget this tragedy of the early twentieth century!

 

Works Cited

Ballard, Robert D.  Exploring the Titanic.  New York:  Scholastic/Madison Press, 1998.

Harmon, Dan.  The Titanic.  Philadelphia:  Chelsea House, 2001.

Kamuda, Edward S.  “Titanic Past and Present.”  Titanic Historical Society, Inc.  2004.                                       25 March 2004  <http://www.titanic1.org/articles/titanicpastandpresent.asp>

RMS Titanic, Inc.  “FAQ.”  RMS Titanic, Inc.  2004.  24 March 2004  <http://www.titanic-online.com/index.php4?page=faq>

RMS Titanic, Inc.  “Tabulation of Lives Saved and Lost.”  RMS Titanic, Inc.  2004.  24 March 2004 <http://www.titanic-online.com/index.php4?page=376>

RMS Titanic, Inc.  “Titanic.”  Titanic.  2003.  25 March 2004  <http://www.search.eb.com/titanic/01_01.htm>

Sloan, Frank.  Titanic.  New York:  Franklin Watts, 1987.

Stewart, David.  You Wouldn’t Want To Sail On the Titanic!  New York:  Scholastic Inc, 2001.

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