MARCH / APRIL 2012: BY CHARITY BISHOP
One hundred years have passed since the RMS Titanic sank into the sea, changing the face of history forever.
I was fourteen when James Cameron’s film came out and not permitted to see it, but nevertheless it spurred in me a fascination for all things pertaining to the White Star Line, and also in the Edwardian Era. So many fascinating individuals lived in the early part of the 20th century, going on to face the first World War and then the Great Depression. It was an era in which much changed, from fashion to ideas of morality and the eventual diminishing of the separation between social classes. Suffragists lobbied for the vote, hemlines grew shorter to accommodate women in the workforce, and men went away to war, to return (if they did) forever changed. Masters and servants alike left behind the past forever, and in a few short years everything changed.
The Edwardian Era is known for some of its great novelists, for Rudyard Kipling, J.M. Barrie, H.G. Wells, Beatrix Potter, and P.G. Wodehouse. Many wonderful stories are set in this era, in books and on screen, as you will discover as you peruse these pages.
My choice to use this as our theme for April and May is in part to honor the lost passengers on board the Titanic, a tragedy which has now reached its 100th anniversary. Though most of us are familiar with the fictional love story of Jack and Rose, the real ship contained people even more remarkable than Cameron’s inventions. The real Molly Brown was never known as “Molly” but went by “Maggie” or “Margaret.” She was a pistol of a Colorado woman who ran for public office before women could even vote! On her way to New York on the Carpathia after the disaster, she raised over $10,000 for a fund to help destitute passengers.
The real Thomas Andrews was not only a perfectionist, but a hero. During the construction of Titanic in Belfast, a man became trapped in the rigging and it was Andrews who risked his life to climb up and cut him loose.
Charles Lightoller went on to become a hero of the first World War, when his maritime experience allowed him to save lives trapped behind enemy lines.
Also on board was a man no movie has ever included: Reverend John Harper, who sacrificed his place on a lifeboat (as the sole provider for his child, he would have been allowed on) and used what little time he had left to try and persuade other passengers to accept Jesus before succumbing to the elements. His story was recounted years later by a young man who said that John Harper saved his life that night in the cold.
In these pages are many wonderful stories, but I hope as you read through them and build up a collection of “must-see” movies and miniseries, you will take a moment to reflect on the heroes that have come before us, many of whom quietly went to their death that moonless night so long ago in the bitterly cold North Atlantic.
Let it serve to remind us that arrogance goes before disaster, and that our time here on earth is the most precious thing of all. ♥