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Elizabeth’s Journey 1912 Zach Poland ”Come Elizabeth, we’re boarding the ship soon!” my mother said. It was a calm and clear day, very normal for Southampton, England. But this wasn’t just any day, this was the day I was going to start a new life, have a new way of living. This was the day I went on the Titanic, a dream for a twelve year old, the world’s largest passenger ship in the world. We boarded the ship around ten-thirty in the morning. My mother made me wear my corset that practically suffocated me to death and a large ruffled mahogany colored dress. She told me that she wanted me to look sophisticated and mature. I walked onto the ramps to get on the ship, which ended in an ungraceful fall that made my knee hit the hard railing. Looking like a total idiot, I gently stood back up, and my corset tightened up which squeezed me uncomfortably. I looked down, feeling as if I was a giant, frustratingly eyeing the innocent people on the ground, waiting to board the ship. I was traveling with my mother, my father, and my brother, Lawrence. Even though we were moving to America and getting an elegant new home in New York, I did not look forward to leave all my friends and other relatives. But the worst of all, I would be leaving my best friend, Mary Ann. We were mates since we were at least three years old and now, I am just leaving her for a whole new country. She was just being totally abandoned by me. We walked inside the corridor and I was already amazed. Beautiful paintings outlined the walls, luxurious furniture all evenly spaced out, and best of all, a lovely French restaurant in the corner. I was in so much shock, my annoying little brother, Lawrence had to pinch me in the ear to get me out of my trance. “Ouch!” I screamed. “You are such a dingbat!” Lawrence said. We finally found our room, which was surrounded with wood paneling, expensive oriental furniture, and a big, glossy, crystal chandelier right in the middle of the room. We decided to have a cup of tea at the nearby restaurant, so we walked down the Grand Staircase to get some. After a big plate of fresh herring and poached eggs, instead of just one cup of tea, Lawrence and I decided to explore around the first class rooms. They were magnificent! After a while I got uninterested so I looked at the next corridor and found a set of stairs that led to the second class cabins. “Why are we going here?” Lawrence asked.


“I am just looking around,” I said. We kept walking around the row of corridors curiously. Lawrence found an even smaller set of stairs leading to an opened decorative metal gate. “This must be where the 3rd class cabins are,” he said. There must have been hundreds of small little rooms in one hallway where people were packed inside of at least five in each room. “Let’s come back here tomorrow!” I said. We finally found our way back to the first class section after an hour and when I got to my room, I was dead tired. I fell asleep right away, even though it was only 4 p.m. I remember having this dream, where I was falling off a ship railing into the dark ocean. Right when I hit the freezing water, I woke up. I cried nervously for a minute and then I realized it was all a dream. Several minutes went by and I had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. The next day after a rough sleep, we stopped at Queenstown, Ireland where many passengers came on the ship but not as much as when we left Southampton. First, I went down to the first class decks to get a breath of fresh air. Then, I went back down to the 3rd class cabins without Lawrence where hundreds of people were arriving through the ramp doors. I saw this girl, probably my age, just standing there with her family, all happy and excited. I decided to go up to her because I wanted to make a new friend. I already lost one friend, and I’m not losing one again! I walked up and right away she let out a big smile and with a sweet Gaelic accent she said, “Hello, do you know where the steerage cabins are?” “Yes, I can most certainly show you where they are.” “Are you in the 3rd class too? I love your magnificent clothing! How can you afford those beautiful shoes!” I replied politely, “I am actually not in the third class, I am in the first class area, and thank you very much!” I laughed. “My name is Caristine and I hope we will get to know each other.” She introduced me to her family of three and told me why they were going on the Titanic. Her family was very poor, and they were coming to start a new life in America and get a good job. “You and your family are welcome to join us for dinner this evening!” I insisted. “Are you sure? I do not want to be a bother to anyone,” Caristine laughed. “You will not be a bother at all!” I giggled along. That night, with the permission of mother and father, who wanted me to make new friends even if they were a lower class than we were, let us eat together. Father had an incident in which a poor man in France saved him from a


passing train when Father tripped on the tracks. Father decided that to him, it doesn’t matter about social classes, it matters about the personality of the person. Even though it took a lot of begging to convince Mother, we had an eleven course dinner with Caristine and her mother and father at the French sidewalk cafe themed restaurant. Mother made them wear some of our clothing so my family wasn’t seen with lower class people. The food was delicious! The adults discussed at dinner about when we dock in New York, we will stay in touch and meet once in a while, since we will be in the same state. We went back to our cabin at 11:00 at night. I had a lot trouble sleeping that night. This time I was in a small boat, people in the water were dead from the icy cold ocean. I wondered, why were these horrid dreams happening to me? Is this a warning? I thought it was maybe my fear of water, but I had not come prepared for a sudden tragedy. Two days later, Lawrence and I went to the squash court the first time. I had a very fun time playing, though I kept tripping on my nice shoes every minute. We went to our church session on board, after I wrote a letter to my Aunt Margaret: Dear Aunt Margaret, How are you? We have been on this ship for four days now and I just want to get off! Anyways, how is Uncle Thomas? I have been having these scary dreams lately and I just do not know what is going on! It is giving me a fright but I will live. I hope you are well and I hope to see you soon! Love, Your wonderful niece, Elizabeth It was a very normal day on the Titanic. Mother and father went to dinner with Captain Smith and other 1st class passengers. Night rolled by very fast, and soon enough, it became pitch black. I could not see any stars, which was very unusual for a night like this on the Titanic. I went to bed at about nine thinking about visiting Caristine in New York. I easily dozed off in my bed until at about 11:30, I woke up hearing a slight metal scrape and then a sudden shake. “Lawrence wake up! What was that?” I asked quickly. “Shut your mouth, Elizabeth, I am trying to sleep, unlike you.” He muttered. “Lawrence I heard something!” I said worriedly. “Fine, shut up, and let’s see what is going on.” We both hopped out of bed and looked out the window. There was an enormous iceberg right nearby! That must had caused the scrape, for what else could have done that? “Oh my god, Lawrence, it's an iceberg!” I yelped. “What do we do!” “Let’s tell Mother and Father!”


We woke up Mother and Father semi-violently and told them that our ship had hit an iceberg. “I am positively sure it is nothing,” Father mumbled tiredly. “Go back to sleep, children, the crew will take care of it,” Mother yawned. I do not know how many minutes I lay there in bed, but it was not long at all. We got a knock on our door. It was our stewardess, Margaret, who told us that we were going to have a “mandatory lifeboat meeting” with that “I assure you it is nothing at all” face. I could sense something was wrong even before Margaret came. But, the worst part was before I walked out the door, she handed me a ghostly, pale life jacket. “Be a good girl, and don't ask any questions,” Margaret told me. We walked down to the Grand Staircase where many 1st class passengers were, awaiting with no worries or concerns. “I would like a cup of tea ready for me when I return,” Mother ordered to Margaret. “Mother, is this ship guaranteed unsinkable?” I asked. “Yes, Elizabeth, this ship cannot sink. Now, how about we sit down? You look uneasy,” Mother gestured. “Mother, I am not stupid. Lawrence and I saw the iceberg!” I snapped. “You do not worry of this matter! Do not be so improper!” She said. We sat for a decent amount of time waiting for an announcement from a crewman but nothing happened. Finally, a crewman walked over to my mother and said, “Please come, Madame, you should board a lifeboat now.” “Excuse me? I am not going outside, it’s frigid!” Mother exclaimed. “You need to board a boat! It is very serious!” The crewman replied. He guided me and my family to the decks, where my fingers almost turned to icicles themselves. “It's so cold!” Lawrence complained. “You're a man, deal with it,” I said. “Women and children first!” A crewman yelled. There were first class women all boarding the lifeboats. There were a few children here and there, but not many yet. Me and Lawrence hopped into the boat quickly, while my mother hesitated. She finally hopped in gracefully. Just when Father was about to get in, a crewman pushed him away. “Women and children first!” The crewman yelled. “Daddy! Where are you going?” Lawrence cried. “Don't worry children, Daddy will get on another lifeboat. Now don't give your mother any trouble.” He whispered to us.


Our lifeboat started lowering until I could not see the decks anymore. We lowered more, and more, and more until we plopped into the cold Atlantic. Still wondering if the ship was actually going down, I stole a glance at my mother. She was staring at the lit up ship, as a tear went down her face. “We'll be fine, your father will be fine, and so will Caristine and her family.” She said. Caristine! I didn’t think about her until now! How would she get to a lifeboat if the ship actually sunk? I glanced at the front of the boat. It was slowly going underwater! “Mother, the ship is sinking!” I yelped. There were many women in our lifeboat. There was also one boy, about seven or eight, my brother's age, asleep on his mother's shoulder. Twenty minutes passed and the giant ship now tilted into the ocean at an angle. There were some people screaming and sobbing as the freezing water sloshed on the ship. This cannot be happening, not now, not ever. I made a great friend and now a tragedy may strike? Why is this happening to me? Then, people started jumping off the side and stern of the ship. I thought one person hit a propeller but I wasn't sure. I was too petrified anyways. Then the ship's stern rose up and up and up until it reached a 70 degree angle. People screamed even louder, a collapsible boat tipped over. One of the smokestacks collapsed and fell into the ocean. There was a giant wave that hit our boat that nearly tipped us over. All of a sudden, the lights on the Titanic went out. A deafening noise of metal and iron erupted in screams. The middle of the ship split in half and the stern fell back into the water. We rowed away as fast as we could. Then the remains of the ship slipped into the sea. Hundreds of people screamed for help from the freezing water. I sobbed into my lifejacket, hoping the horrible sound would end soon. “Help! Help! Help me!” Yelled many people. I cried with my eyes closed for what seemed like fifteen minutes, then the wailing started to stop. I opened my eyes and my brother was asleep, bundled up in a blanket. Mother was next to me with tears streaming down her eyes. I looked out of the lifeboat, where there were more boats. Then I was shocked. There were hundreds of dead people with life jackets, frozen to death in the icy ocean. This was the nightmare I had two days ago, only in real life! I took a big gulp of icy, night air, then wrapped myself up in an extra blanket. I must have fallen asleep, because when I woke up, the sky was an early morning pale yellow. On our lifeboat, the crewman was holding up paper on fire. I saw a giant ship, not as big as the Titanic was, but big enough. It had one smokestack, blowing puffs of smoke like a big cigar.


“Are we going to be rescued?” Lawrence asked. “Pray to the lord we are,” praised a woman in the front. We were the second lifeboat to be rescued. It was a lot of trouble getting on the boat however, but we were relived when we made it on board. It was a nice ship, the name was the Carpathia. “Mother where's Father?” I said as a tear streaked down my face. Just then, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Father! “Father!” I cried happily. “Oh I missed you dearly,” Father answered. We all hugged and kissed Father, talking about how we missed them so much. “Wait, Father, where is Caristine?” I asked nervously. He gave me a hesitant, tearful look. “Elizabeth, I am so dearly sorry,” he started to tear up. “I was in my lifeboat when I saw her. Caristine had died from the cold water. She must have caught hypothermia. She loved you so very much.” I collapsed on the hard deck and burst into tears. I already lost one friend, and now, another? This can't happen, not to me, I do not deserve this! It took me the whole trip to New York on the Carpathia to get over the fact that my new best friend was dead. Passengers aboard the Carpathia let us stay in their cabins, until we arrived in New York. Many days later, we finally arrived. I looked out from the railings at the docks, where what looked like a thousand people were waiting. I walked off the Carpathia with my family at my side. We had finally made it to America. This was the start of a new life where all my sorrows would fade away. I somehow felt as if a new person was born inside me, even though I was the same spoiled girl a month ago, riding happily in Father’s brand new automobile. I felt like I was going to somehow cry in sorrow, but cry in tears of joy too. I would become an amazing, mature, woman when I grew up because this, this is just the beginning. I stood there with my family at the entrance to the docks, waiting for a yellow cab to take us to our new home.

Author’s Note The Titanic really did sink in 1912 and actually, practically everything was real except for the characters. Most third class passengers, went on the Titanic to start a new life in America because they were living in hardship in Europe. Many


of the immigrants died because they had no time to get to a lifeboat. The incident of the Titanic left 1,523 dead and many survivors stricken with grief. There were several famous people on board and many of them ended up perishing. I have been interested in this topic ever since I was in second grade. My teacher gave me a small book to borrow about the Titanic and I loved it. I was fascinated by the passengers stories and was mesmerized when I found out they did not have enough lifeboats for people. The whole entire story, including the facts, made me obsessed with it. I even saw the movie that same year, even though my mom fast forwarded all the inappropriate parts. Well, I still loved the movie even if I didn’t understand something in it. When I got the opportunity to write a historical fiction piece, it took me a long time to think about what my topic would be. That same week, I heard somebody mention the Titanic and it just came to me right then and there. Yes, the Titanic sank because it hit an iceberg off of Newfoundland. Some passengers felt a sudden jolt when the side of the ship hit an unexpected piece of floating ice. One of the most famous stories about the Titanic is about “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” When the crewman refused to go back to the site of the sinking to rescue people, first class passenger Margaret Brown told him to go back for survivors or she would throw him overboard. She helped row the lifeboat and cheer people up when they were sorrowed. There are many legends and tales of the passengers’ bravery and triumph. The families waiting at the docks when the Carpathia came were stricken with grief when their loved one did not come off the ship. This event affected the world who felt sympathy for the families and friends of the victims that were lost and hundreds of memorial services were held for the tragic incident.

Work Cited


"Sinking of the Titanic." About.com 20th Century History. Web. 23 May 2012. <http://history1900s.about.com/od/1910s/p/titanic.htm>. I learned about how many people on the ship survived. It helped me find out how many people died too.

Titanic Classes." Titanic. Web. 23 May 2012. <http://www.the-titanic.com/Passengers/Classes.aspx>. This told me about how people on the ship were divided into social classes. It helped me describe the rooms and how the first class passengers acted.

"TITANIC-TITANIC.com | Titanic's Lifeboats." Titanic Lifeboats. Web. 23 May 2012. <http://www.titanic-titanic.com/lifeboats.shtml>. This helped me describe the lifeboats. It taught me about how the men could not board a lifeboat.

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