|The General Room|
As promised, dear readers, I am off to see what the steerage passengers have to enjoy. But I must say, that going down all those flights of stairs (the lifts don't go that far) gave me my first bit of feeling for the true immensity of this ship. So far down it made me worry how long it might take if one had to get back up on deck in a hurry. I think I would rather the fresh air and a deck chair for a bed than be shut in like this. Snuggled under a warm wrap, of course.
Anyway, I forgot all about that nervousness once I got there. For the place was quite cheery with white-painted walls and mahogany trim. The "General Room" as it is called, is a huge area where everyone gathers for visiting, games, music, and sing-alongs. I knew, at once, that here was all the warmth and coziness that Edith Russell had said was missing from first class. And seeing it, I somehow understood exactly what she meant by that phrase. The walls are decorated with wonderful posters of the many different ports of call the WHITE STAR LINE travels to. Some so appealing, one could simply sit and dream in front of them for a bit of pleasant pastime.
|"Filly" and Leah Aks|
People were very friendly down there, too. I talked with a pleasant Polish girl (17 or 18, maybe) who had the most adorable baby. Ten months old, and she called him "Filly," which was short for Phillip. Her name is Leah Aks, and she is looking forward to being reunited with her husband, Sam. He went ahead to Norfolk, Virginia, some time ago, to start a scrap metal business, and hadn't even seen his son, yet. Anyway, she seemed very happy about having a lovely cabin to themselves, and that Kosher food was even served in the large dining room, for those who preferred it. That the plates and silverware were imprinted with Hebrew lettering depicting whether they were used for milk, or meat dishes. I realized, then, I had seen some of those markings on the second class dinnerware, as well, so the courtesy for Jewish travelers must have been extended throughout the ship.
|The dining room seats nearly 500|
and is served in three shifts.
To tell you the truth, I thought it quite pleasant to find a company who actually went out of its way to cater to the Jewish immigrants at a time when most don't. And, later, when I managed to get a few words with the Hebrew Cook, Charles Kennell (originally from Cape Town, South Africa, and who had last worked on the RMS OLYMPIC), he told me the company actually sees more of a profit from these passengers than those traveling first class. Imagine that! Simply because there are so many more of them. They are flocking to America by the thousands, he said. Mostly to escape the restrictions and anti-semitism that seems to be growing steadily on the continent. Leah was quick to agree, saying her husband had been especially concerned about avoiding mandatory conscription into the Russian Army, because it was practically a death sentence.
I also talked for awhile with a lovely young woman, Lizzy Doyle (in her early twenties), who is traveling with her cousin, Robert. Unlike most down here, this is Lizzy's third crossing. After settling with her sister, Margaret, in Philedelphia, she returned to Ireland to attend her father's funeral. She's been visiting with family and friends nearly nine months over there, now, and felt it was well past time to go home. However, she did confide in me that she told a bit of an untruth to her family by saying she's traveling second class, when she and her cousin are really booked in third. Besides, saving the extra money, they actually like it better down here.
|Third class stair landing|
And I can certainly see why. Because for anyone with a taste for the wonderful variety of ethnic music, dancing, and storytelling, third class aboard the RMS TITANIC is a veritable smorgasbord of delights. I must confess, I stayed way past dinner, and suddenly realized if I was going to get my column finished in time to turn it into the "chaps in the Marconi Room" (as second class stewardess, Lucy Snape likes to call them), in order to make the WORLD's morning edition… well, it's going to be an exhausting run back up all those steps! So, until tomorrow, dear readers… blessings!
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