Today, April 15th, 2020, marks the 108th anniversary of the sinking of one of the greatest ships to ever sail the sea: the RMS Titanic.

Her tragic story has captivated millions, so much so that the liner is still talked about in the news to this day. She may lie roughly 12, 500 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, but her story has been anything but forgotten.

In honour of the anniversary of the ship’s sinking, I’ve decided to share with you just how much of an impact the RMS Titanic has had on my life. She’s been a constant presence throughout my childhood, and I hope that by reading this you’ll realize how deep her story really goes(and I don’t just mean underwater).

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My Titanic “obsession” started when I was about seven years old, via Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House book series. The Magic Tree House series revolves around siblings Jack and Annie, who stumble upon a magical tree house filled with books. These books have the power to transport them to any point in history, like Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.

(If you’re looking for a book series to get younger readers hooked on history, I highly, highly recommend this series. I give it full credit for shaping me into the history buff that I am today.)

One of the historic events that the siblings traveled to was the sinking of the RMS Titanic. (Magic Tree House #17, Tonight on the Titanic)

When I had finished reading this book, I immediately started researching the story behind it. I’d never heard anything like it before, and I wanted to know everything I could about it.

From there, I became a full-blown Titanic fan girl. I wrote about the sinking for a short-story contest, and placed third in the Primary division. I took out every Titanic book from the library that I could get my hands on. I even dragged my Dad to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, to see a real deck chair that had been recovered from the site of the sinking.

(Me sitting in a replica deck chair at the museum)

But, like all phases in a child’s life, I slowly transitioned from all-out fan girl, to fan. Come on, I was only eight or nine years old! At that time, I was just discovering Harry Potter. It was quite easy for my mind to wander from a doomed ship to the magic-filled halls of Hogwarts.

Regardless, I still maintained an interest in the Titanic during that time, and onwards. Because of that, I discovered TSAC (The Titanic Society of Atlantic Canada), and asked my mother to sign me up for it.

(For the record, I know that Ontario doesn’t exactly qualify as “Atlantic Canada”, but my family is from out there, so we’re saying that it counts.)

When the society found out that I had joined, they were thrilled that someone as young as me had taken such an interest in the disaster. So, when my family visited Halifax in the summer of 2017, the president of the society herself gave us a tour of the Titanic burial sites.

(My Dad and I walking among the Titanic graves in Fairview Lawn Cemetery.)

Now, if you weren’t aware, Halifax, being the largest major port close to the site of the sinking, was in charge of recovering the bodies of those who had perished in the disaster. Of the bodies recovered, 209 that were in decent condition were brought back to Halifax to be claimed. However, 150 of the bodies went unclaimed, so they were spread out and buried in three Halifax cemeteries: Fairview Lawn, Mount Olivet, and Baron de Hirsch.

Visiting the gravesites of the victims was an emotional experience for me. For the first time, I was seeing the effects of the disaster up close. And by far the saddest of all the graves I visited that day was the grave of the unknown child.

(The grave of the unknown child)

Located in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the gravestone marks the final resting place of an 19-month-old baby who perished in the disaster, and was unable to be identified for many, many years.(Thanks to DNA testing, it was later revealed that the body belonged to Sidney Goodwin, a third-class passenger.)

It definitely showed me a new perspective of the sinking, to know that someone so young had paid the ultimate price because of a collision with a large block of ice.

The summer of 2018 also changed how I viewed the sinking, as my family visited New York City. NYC was to be the Titanic‘s port of arrival for her maiden voyage, and that’s all I could think about when I was there.

Taking a ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty, I imagined how the survivors must have felt, steaming into the harbour without loved ones and possessions. Instead of an arrival faced with excitement, they faced their arrival with uncertainty for the future, and the loss of the loved ones who should have been there with them.

At the flagship branch of Macy’s, I didn’t share my sister’s excitement in wanting to try on a dress. Instead, I though about how one-time store owners Ida and Isidor Straus had both perished in the disaster; how Ida had refused to be separated from her husband, and died, when she could have been saved.

Even at the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse, I couldn’t help thinking about how it was created in part due to the efforts of the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”, to help prevent similar disasters from occurring.

(The Titanic Memorial Lighthouse)

And of course, those were only three of the Titanic-related sites I saw. Upon our return home, I learned that we’d walked by the former White Star Line offices, where families of Titanic passengers had lined up, anxious for news of their loved ones. I’d thought I’d felt a chill walking by it, but I’d told myself that I was being silly. Why would an old building that housed a Subway restaurant be giving off weird vibes?

(The former location of the White Star Line offices, now a Subway restaurant.)

Finally, the following Fall of our NYC trip brought the newest chapter to my Titanic story. As members of TSAC, my Dad and I were asked to give a presentation on the Titanic at a local retirement residence. After having so much fun doing it, we decided to make history talks a side business for us. We added Halifax Explosion and Oak Island presentations to our list, and set out offering our services to other retirement residences. Making $40 per talk, we stood to make several hundred dollars in bookings from April to June 2020. However, that was around the time when the COVID-19 outbreak started to get more serious, and we lost all of our bookings. I’m not too upset, though, because we’ve been promised to get our presentations rescheduled when it is safe to do so.

And that was my Titanic story. If you were expecting to learn that I was related to a passenger or something, I apologize. But I’m glad that I was able to show you just how much the Titanic means to me. She may have sunk a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care about her!

If you have any Titanic related questions, or want to share how the Titanic‘s story has impacted your life, feel free to send it my way. Since my presentations are stalled, I could use a Titanic fill!

And although I’ve talked a lot about me, don’t forget about those were actually there when the ship sank on April 15th, 1912. Today, join me in remembering them so that their stories are never forgotten.

-.-. — — . / –.- ..- .. -.-. -.- .-.-.- / . -. –. .. -. . / .-. — — — / -. . .- .-. .-.. -.– / ..-. ..- .-.. .-.. .-.-.-

(The last wireless message transmitted from the RMS Titanic. It reads “Come quick. Engine room nearly full.)

Published by macinnla12

I love to read! Through this blog, I will show my passion of reading by recommending books, authors, and book-related things to you. I will also occasionally post short stories that I have written.

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15 Comments

  1. I have lived this Titanic “obsession” with you right from the beginning and, I want to state that, as obsessions go, it is a very healthy one. I like how you are always good to honour the participants of the historical events you write and read about. Hopefully, it will be sooner, rather than later, that we get to bring your passion to Seniors in our area. In the meantime, I will end by congratulating you on another well-written, detailed blog post. You make me proud. ❤️📚🇨🇦

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  2. Hello Leah,

    Thanks for another well written story, I learned some new things about the Titanic that I didn’t know. I definitely enjoyed reading another great story from your perspective. I’m sure the folks enjoy your presentations and you have a chance right now to put together another subject that you can talk about when you are able to talk in the seniors homes again. Well done Leah!!!

    >

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    1. Thank you for reading my post! As a matter of fact, Dad and I are currently working on our Oak Island presentation. We’ve gotten sidetracked several times, but we hope to have it done soon so that we can present it. But we have all the time in the world right now, so we’ll take our time in making it to ensure it’s done well.

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  3. Hi Leah, I enjoyed this story very much. Have you seen the movie? If so, do you think it does a good job telling the story of that I’ll fated journey?
    Mrs. 🐝

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I have seen the 1997 movie once, and for the most part I think it does do a good job of accurately portraying the story. Of course, there wasn’t really a romance between Jack and Rose, but everything else from the costumes and the recreation of the ship itself, to the scenes involving the sinking, in my opinion, were pretty faithful to the real disaster.

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  4. Leah, another beautifully written post. I went back and also read another of your posts on the Titanic. I understand what it is like to feel a pull, a genuine heartfelt interest in a specific period of history. When I was young, the BBC put on a series: Elizabeth R. Glenda Jackson played Elizabeth the first. It gripped me. Like you, after that introduction, I read every book and novel I could find about her. As it was the early 1970s, there wasn’t an internet but thank goodness for the gift of public libraries. I wanted to understand what life was like, why the choices that were made at that time were made, how the world had changed or not changed since then. When I visited England in 1984, my first thought at seeing Hyde Park was: King Henry the 8th rode his horse across that land. The only portrait I wanted to see in the National Portrait Gallery was hers. And, of course, at Westminster Abbey, I was moved to tears as I stood near (near as they allowed anyway) her tomb. I was a bit frightened, truth be told, but I did try to engrave in my memory, the sculpture/image on the tomb.

    With regards to Titanic, I am so glad you are sharing your interest and now expert knowledge with others. The talks you and your father have done (and will do again soon!) are a wonderful way to share and build community. The only thing that shines as bright as your writing talent is your compassionate heart, Leah.

    As always, I look forward to reading more from you!
    Jo-Anne

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    1. Thank you so much for the comment, Jo-Anne! I’m not sure why the Titanic fascinates me so much, but I’m sure glad that she does. It’s hard to imagine what my life would be like if she didn’t!

      I can definitely relate to being more fascinated by the historical events that happened at a place than the place itself. It’s just hard sometimes when I’m the biggest history buff in the family. For example, in Halifax I always think about my relatives on my mother’s side who lived there during the First World War. So when I stumbled across the building that they had lived in during the Halifax Explosion, I was thrilled, and a tad emotional. My sister? She couldn’t care less! She knew that it was an old building, but was more interested by the Youth Hostel that it is now than our family’s connection to the building.

      Maybe I have a sixth sense or something, but I felt the same strange feeling that I had in New York as I toured the HMCS Acadia, docked permanently in Halifax. (She was the only ship to survive both World Wars and the Halifax Explosion.) I later learned that my other great-great grandfather(on my father’s side) had served on her! Now I know to trust my gut when I feel that strange feeling, and look deeper into the story!

      I think it’s pretty cool that you know so much about Queen Elizabeth the First. I don’t know all that much about her, but I’m glad that she’s left such a profound impact on your life.

      Thank you again for leaving such a wonderful comment. I always enjoy getting to hear from others, and it inspires me to keep blogging!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Leah. I went to school with your father. I am very proud of him and his family. You are a talented writer and I enjoyed your Titanic story very much. Besides enjoying your story, I enjoyed seeing the wonderful bond that you have with your father. My daughter is almost 21 years old now and is enjoying her third year of university. She too loves writing and story telling, as you do. I wish you the best of luck with your future and I am certain you will continue to have a positive influence on the lives of all who read or listen to your stories.

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    1. Thank you for reading my post! I am always grateful for the bond I have with my father, and I’m sure your daughter feels the same way. Thank you also for taking the time to leave me a comment. It means a lot to hear that people are enjoying my work. By the way, my Dad says hello!

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  6. Great story Leah and so many things I didn’t know. I was first introduced to the Titanic by watching “A Night to Remember” when I was about 7 years old. On the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Larry and I went to a special dinner. Many people were dressed in period costume, we ate the meal menu which would have been served to the lower deck classes and at the end of the evening, we sang a couple of hymns. It was a very moving experience. I can well imagine your emotions when you walked among the grave stones. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if the Titanic did not sink. So many influential people and important lives lost. Thanks for sharing your research and thoughts with us. I really enjoyed reading your perspective.

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    1. Thank you! I’ve always wanted to watch A Night To Remember, I just can’t ever seem to get around to doing it!

      That dinner must have been incredible to attend! I wish I could have gone to it. I’m campaigning for trips to Liverpool and Belfast, which offer similar experiences to that, including a Titanic-themed hotel, but my parents don’t share my enthusiasm about it. However, if I don’t go with them, I might try to do it when I finish University.

      I too often ponder what might have been if the Titanic hadn’t sunk, or if the circumstances had been different(e.g more lifeboats). Maybe she’d still be afloat today, and I could see her in person! Of course, she wouldn’t have the same symbolism now, though. However, I do wish that many more lives had been saved.

      Thanks for taking the time to reach out, Mrs. Wilton!

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  7. Hi Leah,
    Thank you for sharing (once again) an extremely well-written, informative post. I love the humour throughout as well!
    It made me think of my Dad, (a WWII veteran, who lived to age 99, born in 1910), who told me stories of the Titanic his parents told him. I also remember the time when the wreck was discovered In the 1980’s (not sure exact year) around the time I began my teaching career.
    Leah, you have inspired me to read more about the Titanic. History is fascinating.
    Great novel series recommendation! Fun memories of reading them when we were both in grade 2/3 together.
    Glad to hear your History talks have been rescheduled!
    Take good care!
    Mrs. Prentice

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    1. Hi Mrs. Prentice! It is wonderful to hear from you! I am glad that my post brought back some memories for you. You are right; history is fascinating. And just think we are part of history in the making right now! If you come across any interesting Titanic facts, please feel free to share. Take care!

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