Monday, July 30, 2007


July-30,-2007-008When you go into the Titanic exhibit at the Royal BC Museum, they give you a boarding pass for the ocean liner and a passenger's information. At the end of the exhibit you have to check the list of survivors to see if you lived or not. Here's mine. I lived but one of my kids didn't. Oh well. My mom was going to America to be a nun. She died, but that's no big tragedy, really, because she just ended up getting closer to God faster.

First you walk through a room all about the shipyard and construction of the vessel, and then through some rooms meant to display the opulence of the decor and the stories of a couple of the more noteable passengers and artefacts found on the ship. Then it's into a dark room where you can touch a chunk of real iceberg, a room where they explained how they excavated and preserved the artefacts, and then into another where they had display cases filled with the personal effects of certain passengers, including some perfume that you could smell.

All in all it took us 4 hours to get through, as opposed to the Egyptian mummy exhibit a couple of years ago that took me two and the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit which took me two and a half. The exhibit had an IMAX film that accompanied it and we saw that too. I won't deny it. That documentary scared me. There were parts in it that made me jump.

My great-grandmother had a ticket for the Titanic, but right around the same time, there was a coal strike, and so in order to run the Titanic as planned, they had to cancel the sailing of another ship. Some of the people who were originally booked on the other vessel were moved onto the Titanic instead, which meant that she got bumped onto a later sailing.

In some ways it might have been better if she had been on the Titanic, because then she wouldn't have loaded her children in the back of a 1912 McLaughlan Buick and abandoned them in the Kootenays and the Caribou. But I have to remember that the only way I'm acquainted with her is through Grandad's autobiography, which paints a picture of her as a cruel, heartless woman who gave up her children so that she could afford to keep her car, dress in nice dresses and parade herself around downtown Vancouver, flaunting her British accent and pretending to be anything but working class.

I try to see it from her perspective sometimes but it's hard.