The continuing adventures of my paternal Grandfather. He recorded this in 1974, at the age of 70, recalling his youth in England and travel to Canada in 1923. If you are interested in reading the entire story to date, it is tagged, ‘a story’.
I remember that while passing the office of the purser one day, I saw a sign which read, ‘To protect your valuables, deposit with the Purser’. This made me smile to myself, and my hand automatically raised to my left breast. Here in my undershirt, on the inner side, my mother had sewn a small patch pocket, complete with flap and button, and this was my private depository. My valuables consisted of one United States ten dollar bill and one gold sovereign, inscribed with the head of King George the Fifth, and dated nineteen hundred and eleven. My brother, who worked in the bank, had obtained them for me in preparation for my trip to Philadelphia.
These two items were my reserves to be used us emergency, and although I did have to use the ten dollar bill later on the train, I never had to use the sovereign. This had always been my talisman, my good luck gold piece, something very special and prized far above its intrinsic value. On several occasions I was sorely tempted to cash it for immediate spending money, but something always came along to make it unnecessary.
I was very interested in the boat drill which took place on the second day we were at seas. We were given full instructions on how to put on our life saving equipment, and given our own particular place to stand on deck to be ready to board a life boat in case of emergency. I thought about the Titanic, probably the greatest sea disaster in history, sunk after striking an iceberg in 1912, with more than fifteen hundred lives lost. It never entered my mind that a similar situation could arise with the Scythia, although the very next day I wished the ship would sink very quietly to the bottom as I was in the throes of sea sickness. I spent the most of the day in the berth, and Pat brought me some food which I could not eat. However I was on my feet again the next morning and enjoyed a good breakfast.
We have all experienced at one time of another, that while driving the car, or doing repetitious work and even when we are in church, our uncontrollable thoughts take over from the conscious mind. Sitting in the warm August sunshine and watching the waves from the deck of the Scythia, this is exactly what happened to me on many occasions during the crossing. When this happens, we readily recall in vivid detail, events and people from over a long period of time, in a matter of moments. I can recall my many friends who I left behind in England, and whose friendships were valued very highly at the time, were valued even more in retrospect. All previous activities which I had enjoyed in a high degree gained new lustre and a new significance. Staring at the endless ocean and sky, it seemed to sharpen my memory, and my thoughts skipped back to small incidents which I had temporally forgotten.
Well, this is a good place to end, as my typing skills are terrible today! Very frustrating. I’m on the desktop, but switching back and forth between it and the laptop have left my finger to brain communication fuzzy.
On Labour (spelled right, lol) Day week-end, Ancestry.com opened a few of its collections to the public. Although it was a busy week-end for us, I was able to spend some time rooting around passenger lists. I easily found my grandfather’s passenger record! Very cool. I also was able to find my mother’s family to and from Europe (her father was in the army and she lived for a short period of time in France and Germany). I searched my maternal great grandfather’s name (the apparently important dude I mentioned a while back) and in the weirdest coincidence ever discovered that he crossed the Atlantic with his new wife in April of 1956 on the Scythia! Weird! What are the odds? My parents didn’t even meet until about 1959! Ha!
Pretty cool eh?
On a side note, I searched and searched for William’s father’s crossing in 1952, and could not find a single thing! If you know me, then you know that it drove me crazy! I even searched for his parents’ crossings, before they dropped the ‘O’ in their last name and zip, zero zilch! ARG! I’ve heard that William’s paternal grandfather was a bit of a shady character, and I laughed out loud when I repeatedly found his name on passenger lists as a convict to Australia! I’m assured that it was not the same person – but it was pretty funny.
When ancestry.com opens their vaults again I hope to search around some more. It was really easy and quite fun (nerd). I’m planning to get a free trial membership in the winter and spend some serious time linking some family trees.