Friday, April 13, 2012

Titanic Connections

100 years ago today, my Great-Grandmother, Nellie Steele, must have been grieving the fact that she had missed the most exciting trip of her life.  Her fiance, my Great-Grandfather, Jack McCurrach, had travelled to Canada 1 1/2 years earlier and was awaiting her arrival so they could marry.  But her sister was very ill and expecting a baby, and as it turned out she died about a month after the baby was born.  My Great-Grandmother stayed behind to support her sister and then take care of the baby girl until she could be adopted out. 

The original plan was to take the Titanic to Canada.  Families on both sides of the Atlantic remember the story.  The disappointment that she felt in being delayed in her trip and missing the most celebrated sailing of any ship in history must have been devestating. 

And the relief felt when she found out about the sinking of the ship must have knocked the wind out of her.  Talk about feeling somehow blessed - she must have been thanking God. 

She ended up coming to Vancouver 6 months late - but still very much alive.

I never heard the story from her own lips - I knew her when I was little, but she was just the scary old lady in the home - but it still strikes a chord in me because if she had made that trip, odds are that she would not have survived.  She would have doubtless been in 3rd class, and not many of those people made it.  If she had made the trip, if her sister hadn't been ill and died, I wouldn't be here.  At least not in this form.  Neither would my mother, my aunt, my grandmother, my sister, my cousins, etc.  It really makes you consider fate.

I've always felt a keen interst in the Titanic because my Great-Grandmother missed the boat.  I feel a connection to the story - an ownership of it.  I can only imagine that thousands of others - people whose relatives died, or survived, or missed the ship.  But it's a personal gem in my history.

Jack, Gladys (my grandmother) and Nellie



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