The Ship of Dreams

By this time, one-hundred and eight years ago, the real ship of dreams, R.M.S. Titanic, was no more than a twisted hulk surrounded by a graveyard of people’s lives, memories, hopes, and dreams. Ever since my dad and I watched the 20th Century Fox movie, “Titanic,” one Saturday afternoon in 1966, I’ve been mesmerized by that great ship, a microcosm of early 20th century society. And because of that movie, my house is filled with ocean liner memorabilia. I must own over a hundred books on the great liners of the 20th century, perhaps a quarter of those books written about the Titanic. My collection consists of many framed pictures of those floating palaces, a few models, a China plate or two, and a slew of vintage cups and saucers. But the item I prize the most is a true piece of Titanic memorabilia. It is a homemade memorial to the great ship, created by someone must have absolutely loved the ship or—perhaps—who had a loved one die in the disaster. In the picture provided, you see a period rendering of the Olympic, the first of the Olympic-class Ocean liners which were a trio of British ocean liners built by the Harland & Wolff shipyard for the White Star Line during the early 20th century. The three ships were Olympic (1911), Titanic (1912), and Britannic (1915). I’ve seen this picture in many ocean liner books. It was part of the White Star Line’s advertisement for the three massive liners. The green boarder is old-fashioned blotter paper, the writing at the bottom is written on period stationary. What also intrigued me about this picture was the written information about the Titanic, most of which is incorrect. The text was written in an old French dialect, according to the antique dealer from whom I purchased the picture. It lists the Titanic’s construction cost, where she sailed from, along with the longitude and latitude of the ship’s sinking. Boston is listed as the Titanic’s destination. The antique dealer also told me that the person who wrote the information was a bad speller. (A man or woman after my own heart, wretched speller am I.) in the bottom right-hand corner, you see the result of the picture exposer to humidly. The frame is obviously handmade. There are holes in the frame that suggest it was screwed to a wall or some other wooden structure. The glass is thick and wavy. The back of the frame is covered with unfished wood. For whatever reason it was, I can’t help but believe that whoever made this picture must have been fascinated by the Titanic. Fascinated by the Titanic…imagine that!