It’s been one hundred years ago this month since the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean. Thousands of lives were affected, more than the 1,514 passengers who perished that night. It was a horrific accident at the time, and one that lives on in books and films. The real drama that unfolded is unmistakable and perhaps that is what appeals to everyone.
Recently, our small town held a Titanic Event. People were encouraged to come dressed as the passengers of the titanic would have been, whether first class or not, so there was a wide variety of costumes from exotic evening gowns to babushkas. The menu of that last fateful dinner was recreated and a speaker presented information, focusing on the 14 Finnish passengers who were bound for this small town on the Monongahela River.
This area of southwestern Pennsylvania is very old world European. Most people arrived here from one boat or another during the industrial age. Many have stayed. Many more have moved on. My husband used to say, “No matter where you go, you meet someone from this small town because they all moved away.” Sad, but mostly true.
In spite of what seems like a mass exodus at times, there are treasures to be found in the area, whether in the people or the things. In an area rich in the country’s heritage, it’s still a popular spot for antique dealers and hunters. You never know what can be found in the barns, basements and attics of the old farms and homesteads. In one attic the owner uncovered a rare book, The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters. The book is a bit yellowed, but in otherwise excellent condition. Only one of several known copies left in the world. The find was particularly exciting to the owner since the book was a first edition published not long after the Titanic sank.
If you would like to take a peek at the book contents, check out Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/781 http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/781 (I did say it was my favorite site!)