Titanic: One of Many Writerly Fascinations and January 1912

When I was in the fifth grade, the movie Titanic was released into the world. At first, I didn’t have any particular interest to see it, although I thought it sounded interesting. If it hadn’t been for my cousin, I likely wouldn’t have seen it for years. The Thanksgiving after the movie came out on home video (that sounds so long ago, a time before DVD and BluRays), my cousin and her family brought it to the holiday at my aunt and uncle’s house. It was the first PG-13 movie I ever saw (which was a big deal for a 10-year-old). My cousin, me, and the adults all stayed up late watching it. I fell in love.

That was my favorite movie for a few years. I watched it at least once a week. I loved the story, I loved the characters. And, because of that movie, I grew an immediate fasciantion with all things related to the Titanic. I read as many books on the Titanic as I could possibly get my hands on. I knew nearly any obscure fact about that ship and about what had happened the night it sunk. I was a wealth of Titanic-related knowledge.

After a few years of this, I got away from it. I got fascianted in other things. But then the summer before I went to college, the Titanic Exhibit came to Columbus. That old spark reignited, and I insisted that I go. I went with my mom and sister and the second I stepped into that exhibit…it all came flooding back. All the obscure information I knew, all the facts I’d learned, everything.

The fascination has never died. I would love, one day, to write a novel about the Titanic…but it’s not my time yet. One day, perhaps.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic. My little Titanic-fact-consuming brain is going to be working in overdrive, just because of this. So I’m going to try to share some of that 100th anniversary thoughts with you.

January 1912

The lifeboats are installed in the davits on the Titanic…sixteen wooden lifeboats and two Englehardt Collapsible lifeboats. Originally, 32 lifeboats were ordered, but Bruce Ismay (the Titanic’s owner) requested only 16 be installed. This was all the law required at the time (a law that would change after the tragedy). The ship’s original designer, Alexander Carlisle, had also originally proposed that 64 boats be on the ship, which would be enough for every person on board, but this proposal was never seriously considered.

Also in January 1912, the Titanic was given its call letters for the Marconi Wireless System: “MGY”. These letters would identify the Titanic to other ships listening in on transmissions.

(1912 Facts About Titanic: Revised Edition by Lee W. Merideth, pg 36, 37)